January 31, 2014

Learning To Share

Josh's favorite meal that I make for him is calzones.  Honestly I don't completely understand it but I do know every time I ask his opinion about what should be on the meal calendar that is his first request, EVERY TIME.  So calzones I make.  I make a batch of normal pizza dough (which makes two pizzas) and make four calzones out of it (one for dinner and plenty for lunches).  

Well, as our family has grown to a mama that can eat gluten for these pregnant months and two little kids that likes calzones, Josh has had to share.  His calzones have gotten less in number and slightly smaller.  To this I saw no problem, Josh on the other had was extremely troubled by these events.  So now when I make calzones for my family I...
 make a double batch of dough (which really is the max my bowl can make)
 And with the need for fillings for 8 plus calzones I enlist the help of my girl in the kitchen.  (no she doesn't do all the chopping but she does love to help.  Soft mushrooms are the prefect teacher for learning to use sharp knives)
 And if there ever is a meal Abigail likes to help with it is calzones since she loves to eat all of the raw ingredients (dough, canadian bacon, mushrooms and cheese) before they even go together.
And she is sure to always sure to share some of the fruits of all her cutting labors with her little brother. Hope maybe there daddy can learn a little bit of that sharing grace soon too, maybe it will just have to come in a different form than his beloved calzones.

January 30, 2014

Down (And other Sayings)

The following are some quotes and stories of how when the kids talk we laugh...

Josh to Ethan: Hey Dude
Abigail: What is Dude?
Josh to Abigail: It is a nickname. Sort of like when Mommy and Daddy call you pumpkin. That isn't your name just a nickname.
Abigail: Ok
Later Abigail to Josh: Hey Dude
Josh: What does dude mean?
Abigail: A Pumpkin

Abigail and I had a lengthy conversation the other day about how she really doesn't have to answer EVERYTHING I say with why.  Just a few minutes the following conversation took place as I walked by her playing:
Abigail:  Mama, I didn't say why!
Me:  That is great Abigail because it really drives me crazy.
Abigail:  Why?
Ethan loves to call everyone in our family Mama.  To whoever he needs something from (Josh, me or Abigail) Mama works but at the same times he is completely capable of saying Dada.  Josh was outside playing with him the other day and was encouraging him to crawl through the snow path.  He kept fussing but Josh was just waiting at the edge of the path for him.  At one particular point he got stuck, was very frustrated and looks up and pitifully says, "dada."  Josh says that at that point he went right away and got him.  He says he just can't help it when Ethan does that.
Abigail gets herself dressed every morning in her "home" clothes.  Recently she has taken to putting on dark socks first thing in the morning to match the dark outside.  After nap time when the sun is up she switches to bright colored socks (yellow to match the sun or blue to match the sky) and then back to dark around dinner time.  She is very diligent about doing this everyday.  It cracks me up.

Whenever there is a mess, accident, or other little problem Abigail likes to just reply, "it happens."
Most little kids I know have the word NO as one of their first words.  This is probably due to the fact that it is what they hear so often.  I laughed the other day as Ethan spent the day walking around saying, "down, down, down."  I realized that yes, our adventure and climber hears all day, "Ethan get down, we don't stand on tables sit down, climb down, down, down, down."  Oh boy, we are in for some adventures for sure.  Our boy loves to go UP.
Abigail loves sweets, LOVES them I say.  The other morning she walks into my room at 5:30 am, comes up to the bed right by my face and says, "Mama, lets have one of the lollipops that are in the front pocket of the diaper bag."  
Ahh, Abigail sweets aren't for 5:30am snacks.  

Last year Josh taugh Abigail to say, "whoo baby" whenever we passed a big truck when we're driving.  The other day we are heading in to town and we see a big truck coming.  I ask Abigail what she thinks and she says, "whoo baby in mama's belly."  Well, I guess that works.

January 29, 2014

Indoor Jungle Gym

Most of these past winter days have been above zero and thus good outdoor play days.  But sometimes the days cool, sometimes the outdoor play isn't enough, sometimes the dark winter days have a feeling of boredom approaching or sometimes something new is needed.  Last week we had a day just like that.  
 But when faced with this predicament Josh gained control by making an indoor maze in the basement out of action packers, coolers, and rubber totes.  Some were empty, some were full of random storage items but all were used to make mazes, tunnels and hiding places.  With the maze in place a game of chase/tag began with the leader waving the much wanted balloon.  
 Our budding climber, but pretty slow runner, soon grew bored of chase and decided to instead make a jungle gym out of the bins.
 Abigail also got in on the activity and we gathered just the full bin (they shift a lot less) and created an up and down maze for the kids to climb around on.
And as the kids slowed down (a sign of success for all activities) a much loved game of hide and seek began, in addition to rearranging the totes to make the perfect hiding places.  The thing we have learned about little kids is that no activity works well for long, there needs to be change, variation, guidance and encouragement to try out new things.  This basement gym met these requirements perfectly.  How thankful I am for Josh's ideas and the family fun time that developed because of it.  

January 28, 2014

For Me?

When I was due with Ethan, Abigail was so small that she was really oblivious to most of what was going on around with the gathering of supplies and preparations.  This time around she is not only aware of everything we are doing but also wants to be extremely involved.  
Once we found out we were having another little girl I pulled out my girl things.  Honestly there isn't much.  You see we thought we were done, at least for a long time, after Ethan, so in my "I am done" phase I gave most everything away.  The items I did keep were things hand sewn for Abigail and special gifts.  When going through things the other day Abigail came across this 12 month dress that her grammie Klynstra had made her two years ago.  Before I could blink she had stripped off her clothes and put it on, bloomers and all.  
And with a "it still fits" declaration, she went on to wear this little baby dress all day, and I didn't really have the heart to make her take it off.  I did call my mother and laughed because she reminded me of the famous shirley temple movies where shirley was 6+ years old and wearing short dresses like this because at the time that was the fashion.  But where this was the fashion 50 years ago it isn't so much now.  So I have since tucked that dress back away and next year our newest little lady will get to try it on for size.  No, not all the baby things are for Abigail these days but soon she will have the baby itself and what better gift could she get!

January 27, 2014


Oh how thankful I am to all of my guest bloggers.  Thank you, thank you.  

The funny thing about loosing power to your computer that you can't get back for a week and a half.  There is no warning.  Just like that the battery died, I went to plug it in and found out, humm, it wasn't working.  Thus we were put into a week of no pictures, music, blog, internet, banking and more.  The first few days were hard, too quiet almost.  I borrowed a cd player from a friend and pulled out my old cds from college on day three and started laughing at the memories they bring me.

But you know what, after day 10 when the power cord came I was ok.  Oh it was good to be able to do this or that but I found myself keeping the computer closed and set aside more and more.  The attention my family received and the freedom of an extra distraction ended up being a blessing.  So where I love having my computer back for many reasons I am holding on to that cd player a little longer.  Even with the computer open for just music it leads to this or that.  As I work to limit how much the kids see me on the computer, using it only at nap time/bed time, maybe my little Ethan will be less inclined to be near it too and thus suck on the power cord anymore.  

Lots has happened, and not happened, while I have been away.  After blogging all the time for years it was really fun to watch other people step in, see their ideas, read their thoughts, and share their feelings.  But now I am back and that feels good too.  Amazing what a little break can do for everyone.
With those thoughts I leave you with this image.  This mama isn't as good at forts as daddy is, but I do try.  The other day I attempted to make a fort for the kids out of their little table and a couch blanket.  That worked fora  few minutes until Abigail decided that instead of a fort it looked like instead I had made the perfect place for a picnic.  Yes, a picnic I can do.  So at 7:30 am my kids settled down for a picnic.  Super fun and no problems with bugs at all!

January 24, 2014

Calls with Kathleen

Hi!  My name is Hillary, I am Kathleen’s one and only sister and I am your guest blogger today.  I am a professional blog reader, but have never written a blog post.

I am currently working in a job where I actually get a lunch break… a whole hour.  So, since May I have started a routine where I eat my lunch for the first ½ hour and then go for a 15-25 minute walk in the second ½ hour.  The first thing I do when I step out onto the sidewalk is speed dial “Kathleen Home”. 

Sometimes it takes a few extra seconds for her to answer and I get so sad so quick that it surprises me.  The good thing is that my 12pm is her 8am morning routine.  This advantage almost guarantees that she will be home.  So these chats each day sometimes are very profound and then sometimes are of no other significance than to communicate that we love each other enough to just talk about nothing so we hear each other’s voice.

Here are some things we talk about:

  1. Abigail’s outfits and clothes
  2. Gift ideas for people (Kathleen is always thinking about great gift ideas well in advance of any holiday)
  3. The Fairbanks children’s museum that didn’t have walls but now has walls
  4. What Kathleen is making for dinner and how many other people she is making dinner for that day.
  5. Trip ideas and places we would like to go or how Kathleen will help me plan a trip somewhere I want to go because she is so much better than me with that
  6. Ethan’s insistence on screaming/ screeching in the absence of talking
  7. How we are going to live in Maine together when we both get old
  8. How to raise up her kids to want to take care of me too when I get old
  9. How much money we saved on a purchase deal at the grocery store or online
  10. How I should plant an herb garden in my apartment

Each conversation is seasoned with:

  1. “Ethan don’t climb on that”
  2. “Abigail share that snack with your brother or I will take it away”
  3. “Abigail turn around you cannot talk to your brother when you are in timeout”
  4. “Ethan let go of Abigail’s hair”
  5. “Stop fighting”
  6. “Not right now I need 5 minutes to talk to your Aunt Hillary, no not aunt Heather, this is Aunt Hillary.  Do you want to talk to Aunt Hillary?  No?  Ok then go play but don’t keep taking that away from Ethan he had it first”
  7. “Get out of that we just put that away”
  8. “Oh wait I think Ethan has to go to the bathroom.”
  9. “Eat what is on your plate, stop playing with it and use your fork”
  10. “That is it! I am going in the guest room to talk to you I can’t even hear myself think”  This is then followed by repetitive pounding on the guest room door from both children dying to come in an tantalize their mother some more.  
These short calls have become mandatory parts of our weeks, sanity and birth control.  Love you, Kathleen!  Keep up the good work!

January 23, 2014

Same Differences

What fun it has been to be a guest blogger for Kathleen. This is Heather again for my last post.  I must say, it's fun, but takes time and attention to be a good blogger.  I've always been very impressed on how consistent and THOUGHTFUL Kathleen was with hers.  Way to go!  Thank you Kathleen for always allowing us to peek into the window of your daily Alaskan lives....

I laugh as I think about all the ideas I had for this week.  One that stuck out to me was how DIFFERENT my life has become from Kathleens. 

I thought I would highlight the most obvious difference through a few pictures and then have a laughable moment with that...

Fairbanks, AK (Kathleens winter wonderland)  Photo taken Weds

Elizabeth City, NC (our yard) Photo taken on Tues

Obvious differences right....a difference that Kathleen and I often laugh about.  Not only is it the temperature differences that on some days can vary 100 degrees from our two doorsteps, but the trees are different, our birds are different, and so on.  Our most talked about difference is the amount of clothing our kids have to wear to just go, well, anywhere in Fairbanks versus here....Oh Kathleen, you ARE amazing.  

Well, as I highlight this difference, I find more humor in the fact that THIS happened here on Weds:

SNOW is a huge deal here..and we have LOVED it.  So in good Kathleen and Josh style, I needed to get that one picture of us outside enjoying this snow :) 

Allow me to change gears now.....
Last night in the warmth of my home I hosted a party.  A 'Sewing Party for Moldova'.  I'll quickly explain what that is after I let you know that sewing is one of the many things that my friend Kathleen does SO well.  I've always been impressed and envious of her many creations. Actually, the very first day she invited me over to her little cabin, she impressed me with her curtains...hand sewn.  Our family has been blessed by many of those creations as well (and you, as readers have seen some on this blog).  Kathleen has helped me and motivated me over the phone and skype to become a better sewer.  I'm so thankful to her for that.

Here is a picture of the amazing work done last night by 10 ladies, gathered in our little home, while the snow and cold continued outside.  So much FUN!

These bags are being sent over with a missions team from my church in WA.  They will be filled with personal hygeine goods, hats, and gloves and handed out to kids from orphanages and schools.  Such a blessing to bring ladies together for a wonderful purpose...

And with that I close. I started this blog stating 'how different my life has become from Kathleen's'.
 While a country separates us, our lives still remain the same in so many WONDERFUL ways.  We both are busy moms, trying our best to show unconditional love to our little ones while steering them in the right direction in this world.  We  both have amazing husbands that are even more AMAZING daddies to our kiddos and that love and support us daily. Lastly, but most importantly, we both have the LOVE and ACCEPTANCE of our Father in heaven...therefore making us forever SISTERS in Christ.  A blessing that no amount of miles between us can CHANGE ;)

January 22, 2014

This is Heather, Kathleen's friend again.  

This very same week (in the year 1882) a man by the name of A.A. Milne was born.  I'm sure most don't know WHO this is, but most will know WHAT this man created:  
As a child I remember really loving Winnie-the-Pooh books and cartoons.  I grew to love all of the characters for their unique personalities, their sweet voices, and their soft colors that made you want to just snuggle them and dream......


The reason I'm blogging about this is because my friend Kathleen is a lover of good quotes and sayings.  I wanted to share a few of these gems from his books with you.  I am reminded of my sweet friendship with Kathleen when I read these quotes....Each of them remind me in different ways of our bond, our journey, our dreams, our lives, and our sisterhood in Christ.





So very thankful for you Kathleen :)

January 21, 2014

For the love of the game....

Guest blogger #3...
Hello everyone...I'm Kathleen's best friend Heather.  What an honor to be guest blogging on her site.  I should also add I tried to do this years ago and was not allowed ;)  FINALLY!

For the love of the game.....You know, it's that time of year.  
I'm sure you already know what this blog is going to be about....
Everyone has THEIR favorite team.
Relationships can often be strained over such an event.
Social events are planned around this competition.
It's covered all over the news.
Athletes are at the peak of their careers.
Training is intense.
Teamwork is crucial.
It's survival of the fittest...

For those of you reading this post from outside of Alaska (okay, to be fair, and many from Alaska), I'm willing to 'bet' you know EXACTLY what I'm referring to. Furthermore, I'm sure you'll know exactly what these two images represent without further explanation.  Take a look.
Yup, Superbowl XLVIII 
February 2, 2014

Well, I think I may have fooled you.  You see (to use one of Kathleen's trademark phrases), when you live in Alaska, professional sports take on a whole new meaning.  We 'Alaskans' don't have a professional football, baseball, soccer, or even hockey team (yes, only a semi pro hockey team).  Granted, this is my opinion, but from my time living there, professional sports weren't really THAT big of a deal.  Sure you had your hard core sports fanatics just like anywhere else, but maybe I just didn't surround myself with them?  I digress.....Here is what my blog is REALLY about...


 While the Superbowl will take place somewhere in the lower 48 on February 2nd, most Alaskans will have already picked their favorites, placed their 'bets', and high fived the hands of their favorite teams that consist of one human (the musher) and fifteen ATHLETES (the dogs) as they sprint by their fans at the start of the race.  The YUKON QUEST will START in Fairbanks this year on February 1st and end anywhere between 10 to 16 days later with teams having traveled 1,000 miles through the vast Northern Alaska and Yukon wilderness.
Check this quick clip out:

AND THAT'S NOT ALL....roughly one month later, the IDITAROD will kick off.

These two races will continue regardless of weather.   There is no such thing as rain delays, weather delays, and quite frankly, if no one showed up on 'game day' to cheer these teams on, it wouldn't matter to THESE athletes.  I love this sport....I love the passion that surrounds it....athletes that truly LOVE what they do--athletes that were BORN to do this.  All for the love and NOT the money.  These athletes get limited TV screen time, do not have huge stadiums that sell thousands of tickets to see them perform, and really, they have no desire to impress anyone other than their musher.....
They really do work, FOR THE LOVE OF THE GAME.

Having said all this, I must admit, I most likely WILL be at a Superbowl party come February 2nd.  The commercials ARE a lot of fun.  I'm not vested in either football team and could care less about the outcome. BUT, you better believe I will have my cell phone and will be checking the latest race standing of the Yukon Quest race that started the day before ;)  And, you better believe I will know way more about the these canine athletes and their mushers than any player with a helmet on throwing a ball around, while trying to run 100 yards at a time.......

Enjoy your sport of choice...whether it be on turf, or in the pristine wilderness of the great north.....

January 20, 2014

Tiny thing...Big Impact

This is guest blog week... so this is Kathleen's mother (Sharon)  Enjoy!

We certainly count on our computers.
Even when not in working at an office, they impact our lives.
In Kathleen's kitchen, the computer is usually open
sharing pictures and music.
Cheery songs fill the house and she and the little ones 
dance and sing along throughout the day.
Then come times to ichat with family scattered about.
(That is like Skype for Mac users.)
We distant grandparents talk and laugh with them all.
Not to even mention the blog that Kathleen so faithfully
 posts 5 times every week.

All of this is made possible by a small cord that connects the computer to its power source.

It may be small on its end, but there are tiny and rather delicate little
connectors in this end.
They fit exactly into the power outlet of the computer.
When little men get a hold of such a thing,
it must look yummy.
Or at least Ethan thought so.
But teeth clamping down on these parts rather change the specific configuration of the inside parts.  Thus, the Klynstra house finds itself in a sudden computer blackout zone.
No music, no pictures, no ichat.
So sad.
And quiet.
And, worst of all for the rest of us, no blog pictures and stories.
We find a part of our day is missing.

In the meantime,
until Amazon gets its shipment up to the far north,
some of us are filling in on Kathleen's pages.
"Guest bloggers" she calls us.
I took a picture of this calendar at a store awhile ago.
I simply loved what it said.
It depicts my feelings on being home day-to-day with children.
And Kathleen's life at this moment in time.
The baking, potty training, feeding, scrubbing, teaching, dressing, playing, washing of bodies, clothing, dishes and floors, soothing, scolding, loving and healing...
"ordinary arts we practice every day at home"
ARE important to our souls.
And especially the 4 dear souls that live in that pretty house tucked among the trees and snow of Fairbanks.
Good things happen there.
Every day.  Redundant.  Repetitive.  Tiring to Mama.
But of great value and importance.
That's a fact.

So, until Klynstra Occurrences is back online by its rightful owner,
we can only guess what new posts from this special family will be coming.
And we are thankful that we no longer have to count on stagecoaches and dogsleds to transport packages there.

January 18, 2014

Learning something new... guest blogger

Hello My Name is Drew.  I am your guest blogger today.  I am Kathleen’s brother-in-law. 

Last week my wife called me and told me that she wanted to learn how to skateboard.  It was CRAZY because just 10 minutes before, I had seen someone cruisin down the street on a board and was thinking, “I wanna do that!”  Situations like this are what make being married so fun… you get in each other’s heads!

Anyway, in my research I have found that a better version of skateboarding for people new to the sport.  It is called LONGBOARDING.  So I found the Derringer 28 for my wife (she said she wants pink) and then for myself, I am still shopping around; maybe the Apex 40. 

The longboard is good for efficient commuting because it is easy to carry when you are at your destination and you can carry things in your hands if you need while you ride.  It is faster than walking, not as sweaty as running and less cumbersome than biking. 

Then when you aren’t using it for functional purposes you can learn new tricks and trades.  If you haven’t watched the movie, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” you are missing out of the inspiring longboard ride he takes on the winding roads of Iceland.

You may never find out how we did with this new venture because I am just a guest blogger, but it might spark a desire within your own lifestyle.  

January 16, 2014

Life's little twists...

We have had a few things happen the last few days that have been fun and interesting.  Yesterday we had the 20 week ultrasound for "BKdelux". Kathleen dropped Ethan off at the museum with a babysitter and I took Abigail to do a little shopping before we met with Kathleen at the ultrasound place.  While there we were blessed to find out that we are having another little girl. Too bad for Ethan, he'll be outnumbered pretty soon. 

Another interesting thing that happened, which is surprising it hasn't happened before, is that Ethan got a hold of the charge cord for the laptop from off the counter while it was plugged. He then decided, like he does with all things, to suck on it. Fortunately it doesn't produce enough electrical output to be harmful but toddler saliva makes power cords short out. Thus we are without a power cord for a few days until amazon ships a new one.  Oddly enough, the power cord at the local Mac store cost 4 times what the same thing costs on amazon.  This event will be resulting in a short series of guest bloggers here for the next week or two.  Enjoy.

January 15, 2014

For Number 3

Two years ago I knitted Abigail and Ethan (who would be born 8 months later) Christmas stockings.
 Before I could pack them away this year I knew I wanted to get one made for Baby #3.  Once there is a little newborn in my arms I really don't have time for knitting needles, now was the time.  
 The stocking went well, can't believe how smooth the toe and heel went after not working this pattern for two year.  It went well that is except for the time I got distracted.  The night I was turning the heel I received a phone call.  The pattern was going smoothly enough so I felt I could keep on kitting while talking.  But after I got off the phone I check the pattern and realized I had decreased much too much on the heel.  But oh how I HATE to rip out stitches.  You see I don't mind the ripping out part as much as the picking them back up when I need to.  So with that I just decided to start the increase and let it be.  It is after all a christmas stocking to hang, not one to be worn.
And just like that our baby number 3 has their own stocking with a pointy heel, that Josh tells me will be the joke of the family for many years to come.  Oh my baby will you love that yours is different or will you hate it?  I do hope this is something we can all laugh about for each stitch was done with love for you and thoughts of you.  Plus I tell myself it won't look that different once it is hanging full of toys on Christmas morning.  

As for the news on baby number 3...Today is the day we get to see our little BK deluxe once again.  Can't wait to come back here on this blog and share with you just who we might be expecting to greet in just a few months.  

January 14, 2014

What the Warm Weather Brought

Last week things were warmer here.  We had fun outside, ran errands into town without the car being plugged in and even used the grill to cook up some of our favorite meals.  But as the time goes so does the weather and the hard cold of winter has returned, for now.  As we were holed up inside yesterday I took a glance outside and loved seeing the remains of those warmer days.
 The snow.  Winter in Fairbanks is cold and with that cold comes the dry and no snow falls.  But, when the weather does warm the skies open and we receive a new blanket of powder.
 Entertainment.  With days of outdoor play possible Josh came up with the idea of freezing colored water inside of balloons.  After they froze the balloons were cut off and the fun could begin with the "balls".  
 And as I keep the kids inside, out of their winter gear, I remember how much fun they had on those days when we could go outside.  I have to say my favorite part of all those warmer days was about day 4 of outdoor play when Josh, Ethan and I were still inside getting ready and Abigail headed out on her own.  When I peeked outside the door to check on her I saw that she had run outside to throw herself in a snowbank already.  It was so fun to see her happy and so comfortable in that setting.  
Yes, right now we aren't going outside much but that doesn't mean we aren't ready for the next time we can.
There is a lot of winter left to be enjoyed, we are ready.

January 13, 2014

For My Future Chef

I have mentioned a time or two there that Ethan loves to cook.  Unfortunately our little guy hasn't been properly outfitted, until now.
The other day I was able to take some time to sort through my fabric stash and make up a little chef's apron for my boy.
With the right outfit we set to work making up a batch of cookies for daddy.  Each time we have cooked since I get a big smile from Ethan as soon as I pull his apron out of the pantry.  Yes, he knows that with his apron in place Mama is about to cook up something good, with his help of course.  

January 10, 2014

Hats To Fit

As the temperatures have dropped drastically in the lower 48 over the past week we have actually been blessed.  Our temperatures actually increased to above zero.  With temperatures around 15 degrees Josh has been able to take the kids out every day for winter/snow play.

One thing we realized, the first day of Abigail being wrapped in a scarf, was that we needed something a little different for the kids' winter wear.  With that I pulled out some of my fleece fabric stash and set to work.
 What I was able to make was three hats that fit each of my snow adventurers.  These hats fit so only the face is showing.  The neck, ears, and foreheads are all covered.  When there are times that the chins get cold the bottom of the hat can just be lifted up to cover the chin/mouth for awhile.
 I love watching the kids go out and play for a hour in the snow fort Josh made for them and with all the piles of snow around the house.  As the light starts to fade they truck back inside with pink rosy cheeks but with warm heads and necks.  
Yes, the right gear makes for tons of fun.  So happy that a little bit of a project for me could be just what they needed.  Success all around.

Another thing I realized this week was that if our winter weather was more like this past week, temperatures between10-20 degrees, I think I would a happier winter dweller.  But alas where I have chosen to live means that these temperatures are a treat instead of the norm.  Today the temperatures are set to drop to about -30 once again.  These hats will not be worn for snow play until we once again are blessed with a winter "heat wave."  But when that day comes we are set and ready for the fun we can have outside once again.

Tree Disaster of 2017

We had quite the tree drama this year.  After years and years of real trees from the woods I was done with the needles.  DONE.  Last year A...