March 31, 2014

A Bathrobe For Ethan

The other day when I presented Abigail with her fixed coat she responded with, "Oh, thanks so much mama.  Now - Ethan needs a bathrobe, dada needs an apron, I need a dr. coat and could you sew me a dress too?"  I laughed and said, "Sure, Abigail.  Over time I will get all of that done."
So with her list before me I set to work.  A few years ago my mother-in-law brought me several bags of fleece fabric.  In it was this great duck fabric.  At the time I had no idea what I would use it for but as things go, I found the perfect project.  
I decided to sew the bathrobe a little big since who doesn't love a large bathrobe right?  Plus, it gives us more time for Ethan to enjoy it.  And enjoy it he does.  This picture is him with his robe before it was finished.  He begged to try it on and so I did a quick fit test and well, he just didn't want to take it off.  
But finally I did get it back from him and finish it I did.  It came out great.  He loves it, Abigail loves that Ethan now has a robe like she does and our only issue with it is getting the robe off of him to put on his pj's after his bath.  And why did I take a picture of his new robe outside?  Well, when you have lived through yet another dark winter anything in the sunlight looks better!

March 28, 2014

Those Quick Moments

Spring seems to be arriving to Alaska.  Spring here is different here than most other places in the world.   But we do love to hear dripping water and we see the sun has finally returned in full force.  
 And how do we celebrate these sunny days, taking in as much of them as possible.  Whenever we are in the basement and the stove gets a little hot we just open the door and take a quick breath.
A quick run out into the open and take a deep breath of fresh air.  Later in the day we will put on all of our snow gear and really go sledding, crawling and digging.    
Soon the snow will really melt and the mud might once again limit us but for now quick runs work.  

March 27, 2014

A Little Help To Keep Going Strong

When Abigail was little she was a big baby.  Then she started to walk, eat solids and her growth slowed - a lot.  Nothing to worry about but enough to let us know she was going to be a little kid.  Well just shy of her being one year old I didn't know this yet.  I remember the day, it was early, early in the morning on black friday and I was at a local sporting goods store.  They had great sales.  So even though it was November I bought Abigail a fleece coat for the summer.
   Come those summer months it was a little big but fit well enough that she wore it all through those iffy weather months of ours the year she was one.
 Then she turned 2, the spring/summer/fall months came and low and behold her fleece coat still fit great.

Well, the other day we had a warmish day.  Too warm for full winter gear but definitely a need for a coat.  I pulled out the pink fleece just to see if it still fit.  Surprise, surprise - it fit great for year three.  Only problem was that the zipper had worn out.  
 So that day in town, with her half zipped coat, she and I stopped by the fabric store and picked up a new zipper.   A little time with the seam ripper and my machine and a new zipper was in place.  What lucky parents we are to get three years out of one fleece coat.  With a little zipper help this one is set for the year.  Lets just hope she out grows it before the new baby needs it next.

March 26, 2014

So much to learn.

The other day while the kids and I were outside sledding and goofing around (to give Kathleen a bit of a break), Abigail wanted to take a walk through the woods.  We happened upon an interesting cluster of trees and she wanted to know what they were.  I am happy to say that I actually knew what they were.  Diamond Willow.  There is probably some weird latin name for it but I don't know that much.  What I do know is that this is the largest one I have ever seen.  Once the bark is peeled and the wood carved some of the diamonds could be cleaned up to look very nice.  If I was feeling adventurous I might harvest it for a nice table or bed frame. Instead it will get the opportunity to grow even bigger.  Then who knows what we could create out of it. 

March 25, 2014

Klynstra Mario Cart

Our kids love to play dress up.  There's rarely a day that goes by that doesn't involve several costume changes.
 But the other day Ethan found his halloween costume at the bottom of the drawer and he was super excited to see his dragon outfit - something other than a tutu has to be exciting right?
 But with him all decked out in green and spikes and Abigail pretty in pink with her tiara we realized we had our very own version of mario cart in the basement.
 And with that the race began...
Princess pulls ahead.  Fun times for all.

March 24, 2014

So Uninspired

I work well with my meal calendar.  Each week/week and a half I sit down with the calendar, cookbooks and grocery list.  I pick out meals for our family based on what time I will have each day to cook, what ingredients we have around, and what we all enjoy eating.  

This entire process has gotten faster and faster since I started several years ago.  Please don't envision me sitting for a hour to do this.  More it is like the stuff gets spread on the counter and I come and go with that calendar throughout a morning until the week is full.  I really enjoy opening the office door in the morning and just looking to see what needs defrosted or prepared each day rather than coming up with something new at 4pm daily.  

I also don't hold myself to the calendar.  If something comes up some day then the meal can move to a different day and something new will be created.  It is a good system and works for me...most of the time.  But you see this pregnancy is starting to get in the way.  Right now I could live on Snow (Josh's post Friday was great but I don't think you realize how strong this craving is these days.  I almost pulled the car over the other day to grab a chunk of snow off the side of the road.) or cottage cheese and fruit.  

On the to do list right now is "meal calendar" which means it is once again time to plan out next week's meals.  But the thought of sitting down to an enchilada, meatball, bowl of rice or piece of cooked meat doesn't sound good at all.  Nope, all I can see in my head is cottage cheese and fruit.  This might work well for me and the baby but the other three in my family, I think they want/need more.  So here I sit writing about my woes instead of planning the meals.  Something will change, responsibility to my family instead of giving in to my food cravings will win out but for now...maybe cold cereal will feed everyone tonight and I can just have a bowl of cottage cheese and fruit.  

March 21, 2014

Another one of life's little treats.

We at the Klynstra house have a unique dessert of preference.  The nice thing about this dessert is that it is vastly abundant and easily served. It does not make a mess nor does it cost much, or anything.  
Both Abigail and Ethan stand at the door daily and ask, each in their own way, to go outside to eat some snow.  And, whenever we are outside playing in the yard, they both spend several minutes walking around looking for chunks of snow to munch on.  Kathleen has taken to eating it by the bowl full.  Though she did comment that her craving is better than most pregnancy cravings in that I do not have to drive into the store to pick up snow. I just walk outside and get as much as Kathleen wants.  
At least for the time being we have snow available for consuming.  And as far as deserts go, this is a healthy alternative to pretty much everything.

March 20, 2014

When Mama Naps

The other day I took a mid-day nap.  Abigail was super sweet and "tucked me in" and as she left me to rest she grabbed a magazine off of my nightstand to "read."  (It was a Better Homes and Garden with a pink cover for Valentine's day.  This girl cracks me up.)  Well, by the time I was rested and had made my way back downstairs she had gone through every page of that magazine with daddy.  They had come across the recipes in the back and decided the picture of the red velvet cake looked especially appealing.  They both looked and me with those eyes and what could I do...
That day we set out as a family in the making of a red velvet cake, one to look just like the picture in the magazine.  When my family asks just how can I refuse?  

Extra thanks go to my Aunt Debby who sent me the package full of magazines.  You have brought joy to the entire family.

March 19, 2014


Sometimes there are sorrows in life.  Sorrows that we were not expecting.  Sorrows that fill us, cause us to cry and cause us to scream why.  Recently there seems to be so much sorrow in my life.  Sorrow that fills me, makes me hurt, makes me weak, and just when I don't think I can take any more another sorrow is added to the list.
With the arrival of day light savings time the kids and I are plunged back into our morning darkness.  But as we once again eat breakfast with a candle flickering to bring cheer we often talk about how the sun will be coming up soon.  And as that sun rises so do the colors of the sky. 
I love the morning sky.  The hope of the day, hope for a day that will bring healing instead of more pain.  I feel so heavy these day with a soul that has seemed to be shattering a little more each day.  I know all the advice given to those in sadness, I have given them myself.  I guess when there is a time to mourn there is just a time to mourn.  The colors will come and the hope will be renewed, someday.  Today I hope the colors will return because even when the heart is full of sadness there is the need for hope that someday the sadness will lift, even if it isn't today.  

March 18, 2014

Those Random/Simple Times

Long ago, before kids, Josh and I used to garage sale for legos for Josh.  Once we came upon this great find.  It was a rubbermaid tote over half full of legos, and a few other things.  At the time Josh sorted out the legos and was going to throw away the other toys.  But instead I bagged them up and said, "someday we will have a little boy and he will love these."  Well, the other day the kids and I found that bag.  It was full of little match box type cars and action figures.  I really thought the action figures were too advanced for the kids but instead have found that they love them.  Abigail calls them the "kids" and I find Ethan playing with them daily since their discovery.  

This little video, my boys playing with action figures and Abigail singing in the background, is really one of my favorites.  I love it because these are the times that I love as a family.  Doing nothing amazing except hanging out together and enjoying simple things.
On this special St. Patrick's day remembering times like this makes me feel lucky indeed.

March 17, 2014

Lucky Green

Over the weekend I declared that we need to do something to get us in the mood for St. Patrick's day.  
 After hemming and hawing about this or that we finally decided on cookies, much to the joy of our crowd.  
 And since these cookies were going to be our lucky cookies they had to be green, even to the point of accidentally dumping in almost the entire bottle of green food coloring.  More green is luckier right?
And since we didn't have a shamrock, rainbow or gold pot cookie cutter Josh and I decided on the little boy and sheep cutters.  Leprechauns taking care of their sheep.  That is pretty Irish, isn't it?  

Have a wonderful day and may you have the luck of the Irish with you always!  

March 14, 2014

It Really Wasn't Supposed To Happen That Way

The other day the kids and I were in the bathroom.  
 The time had come to trim Abigail's bangs.  It is a simple thing that doesn't take too much.  As Abigail gets older she is so good at sitting still and being patient as I do my best to achieve a straight line.
 After I was done with Abigail I looked over at Ethan's hair.  It really needed a quick trim over the ears and along the neck line.  Things that were baby cute were started to become a little bit of fly aways.  I originally was going to wait for Josh to help me out with holding our little guy still for his first cut but as I looked at him sitting there I spontaneously decided I could give it a try.  

Before I continue you need to know that cutting a little boy's hair is very different from a little girl's hair and I had no experience.

I reached over and started to cut and looked in shock at the locks of hair that fell off my boy's head.  Oh no, what had I done.  His wispy red hair was a lot longer then it first appears and what I did was irreversible.  I cried and decided that I had to wait for daddy to come to finish the rest of this horrible first hair cut.  I just couldn't bring myself to do anymore damage.  
The only way to really fix my over eager attempt at a haircut was to cut off all of my little man's hair to match the mistake.  What a sad time it was to see those red locks fall into the sink.
I am a little sad each time I look at Ethan's head but Ethan doesn't mind and Josh actually likes it, "he has a good looking head and now you can see it." has been his remark.  Thankfully a good friend of mine told me that the difference between a bad haircut for a little boy and a good haircut is just two weeks.  That is encouraging but since it took Ethan 18 months to grow his hair in the first place I do believe we are going to have to wait a little longer to see that soft red once again.

March 12, 2014

cleaning the lower half

I was playing with the kids the other day when I discovered Kathleen sitting on the floor in the kitchen with a rag and a disinfectant spray bottle. Instead of standing up to move she scooted around cleaning the lower half of the kitchen.  When I asked her what she was doing Kathleen commented that it was "just too hard to stand up."  All of this cleaning started with finding an extra bottle of dishwasher soap under the sink and deciding to see what else was under there.  So, as Kathleen does, she had to organize that cabinet.  And the rest of them.
She worked her way from under the sink around the dishwasher, cabinets, oven then fridge.  The entire time she cleaned she commented, "wow it is dirty down here why did I not realize this."  She even got the kids in on the action by cleaning the bottom and legs of their little table and chair.  With the extra sunlight and the arrival of her third trimester some serious cleaning/nesting has started going on.  We are never sure what she will get into next.  But as I helped her back to her feet after her cleaning scoot she handed me the rag and bottle of cleaner declaring that I could do the upper half.  

Sister, Brother and Tutus

As I look at my kids each day I can't help but smile.
This adventure in parenting is so fun, rewarding, tiring, humorous and hard.
Was today a good day?  Did I make the right decisions?  Did we "learn" enough today?  Did I express my love to the kids enough today?  Are they growing confidently but humbly?  
So hard this journey is but so worth it.  As I put these two to bed last night I was so tired and looking forward to the rest but at the same time so sad that when I see them again tomorrow they will be yet another day older.  Please dear Lord, help me find the balance and enjoy today!

March 11, 2014

This Happened

Over the weekend something very exciting happened to this house.  Something that we really didn't think would ever be done because to tell you the truth, Josh hates it.  
But thankfully Josh is willing to power through and work on TRIM WORK.  You heard me.  The trim in the house isn't done but a lot of it was caulked and received a fresh coat of paint this past weekend.  Oh, there is still a day, or a several, worth of work to really finish this project up but it has been started. Whoo Hoo.

March 10, 2014

With Grandpa Here

Last week I shared pictures of our outdoor adventures but with Grandpa there was a lot of fun inside too.
 Most of grandpa's visit was spent out with Josh camping but when he was home he couldn't have been more adored.  
 The kids loved the chance to show off all their "skills" and have a new playmate for awhile.
 Abigail loved her time with Grandpa, Ethan was 100% attached.  Anywhere grandpa went there Ethan was also.  It didn't take him long to figure out how to say grandpa and you know what, grandpa didn't seem to mind hearing it called all day long.
From cooking in the kitchen downstairs, to painting, puzzles, playing harmonicas together and more.  These three made use of each minute they had together.  Grandpa loved to get down on the floor and play with the kids and carry them here and there when we were in town.  When grandpa left to head home there was a loss for the kids but how thankful we are for the time we had to connect once again.  

March 7, 2014

With The Snowmachines In Town

The day before Josh's big trip and the day after were fun days for the kids.  
 Those were days that both daddy, grandpa and the snowmachines were home.  
 Our kids get very, very excited about just the sound of a snowmachine so you can imagine their joy at riding them as well.
 And since Grandpa brought two snowmachines they didn't have to take turns, they could all go out at the same time and have fun together.  The kids really never got tired of their rides.  Josh and Grandpa took them out twice a day and still they were bugging for more.  Little Ethan loved the rides but more than a 1/2 hour away from home and he will start to fall asleep while snuggled up to his rider.  Those snowmachine motors were just too much for him.  
Lucky for me and BK Deluxe, we got to take a short run out with Josh as well.  Thanks to grandpa for watching the kids for a hour so that Josh and I could enjoy some fresh air together.  I did learn that snowmachining on bumpy trails isn't the best if you are 7 months pregnant but a short ride was still enjoyed by all.  Our new little lady is going to arrive already loving the trail, just like her daddy.  

March 6, 2014

Time For The Boys

Last week was a very special and memorable week for Josh.  His dad drove the long 10 hr. drive up from southern Alaska with a truck full of snowmachines and gear.  Josh took the week off work and the two boys went out into the snowy world together.
 With the machines and sled loaded up they headed into the white mountains, an area of federal land north of Fairbanks.
 There they dug a huge hole in the snow, set up their tent and settled in for some rest from...
 The hours and hours of exploring they did on their snowmachines.  These guys had so much fun, had amazing winter weather, beautiful stars at night, thankfully no mechanical trouble and managed to put 60-70 miles of exploring on each of the machines every day they were out.  
 Their evenings were spent under the stars, tucked into dug out snow holes as wind protection, watching their bonfire.  They ate meat, talk about boy stuff, and stretched their sore muscles (riding a snowmachine is hard work for those that might not know).
 The second to last day of their trip they packed up, drove a little further up the road to the trailhead for Tolovana hotsprings.  There it was another 11 mile ride in but this time instead of a tent they were headed to a cabin.
What a way to end a great trip, time to soak in hot tubs out under the stars.  If I mention this trip to Josh at all he gets a big grin on his face and will tell me something new they saw, talked about, did, or enjoyed.  When I asked Josh to describe the trip for the blog he said, "it was so much fun and went way too fast."  Yes, it was definitely one for the books for both of these guys!

March 5, 2014

The Ant

They say that when an ant is faced with a pile of food it can carry as much as its own body weight.  I would say this is not the truth for a little girl trying to pull her same body weight up a hill, but it doesn't mean she won't try.

March 4, 2014


The other day we were playing around as a family, and with clay.
Josh came up with a little science experiment.
We know both of our kids looks so much like Josh but...
With the help of a few clay molds we were able to visually see
That even if the kids got Daddy's hair, toes, legs, mouth and fingers...
They did get my nose.

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....