May 30, 2014

Emotions

The past few weeks have found me setting work aside as much as possible and using my attention and hands to hold Abigail and Ethan.  Is there a way prepare little kids really for the changes a new baby will bring?  I don't know but I long to fill their emotional banks as much as possible these last few days.  We read, cuddle, play dr., with stickers, color, sing and more.  Things are busy around the house but oh how I am trying to do one on one, or one on two, simple play that lets me touch, focus and have face to face time with both of the kids.  Soon my hands will be full of a little new one that needs me in a different way than these two "big" kids of mine do but oh how they will need me as well.  
We talk of the baby, they feel the baby move within my big belly, grandma has arrived to help us out and new surprises have been arriving for both the baby as well as big sister and big brother.  Changes are evident but as I change as a mother of two to a mother of three I just pray that I can be all they each need me to be.  

May 29, 2014

2014 Garden

We are so happy to report that the 2014 garden is in.  It is not as big and glorious as years past but it is what we can handle right now.  
 A few fun points, we planted potatoes from seed potatoes we let sprout from our harvest last year.  I do believe these potatoes were as happy to get in the ground as happy as I was to get them out of the closet.  
 I wasn't willing to handle all of the plant starts this year like I have in the past.  Bending in half is hard enough without needing to transplant and then baby hundreds of little plants and their roots.  But we did plant a lot of seeds right in the ground.
 The few starts we did get were from our local greenhouse.  A few tomatoes and cucumbers in our greenhouse and broccoli, cauliflower and zucchini in the main garden.
 Ethan loved playing in dirt and water that came with gardening but this year Abigail was super excited to be a helper.  Anything that needed done she was there wanting to help us out.  She had so much fun planting pea seeds with daddy.  
 One fun addition we have this year are rock creatures that the kids made for us.  As we wait each day for our seeds to germinate it is fun to see a little color and sparkle amongst the beds.
Yes, the garden is in and just in time too.  Soon we will have a new little baby to care for and the garden won't have too much of our time.  But with everything in the ground we can sit back and watch things grow.  

May 28, 2014

Sensory Play

Last winter I made a rice sensory box for the kids to play with.  They love it, a lot more than I do.  You see it is quite messy.  Those pieces of rice get everywhere.  I know sensory play is super important and I always feel bad about how I limit it due to the mess.    
So you must realize how happy I was when I thought of it the other day when the kids were playing on the deck.  With spoons, cups, and other toys buried in their bucket of rice the kids played for almost an hour (and seemed to eat their fill of raw rice as well).  When they were done I just took a broom to the deck and clean up was done.  Ahh, sweet success - kids had fun and mama didn't have a mess through the house.   Good summer activity to remember.

**I am also learning as a mama the number one way to keep the kids happy outside each day is to put a bucket of water in the driveway.  The kids do something different with that bucket of water each time and there is always lots of fun.  Oh how I love outdoor play.**  

May 27, 2014

Date Night

With two little people at home and being on the verge of welcoming number three, Josh and I do not get out on dates too often.
But that doesn't mean that date night cannot come to us after the kids are in bed.  We don't do this often enough but when we do it is always fun.  An evening banana split is fun for all.

May 26, 2014

Sunny Days of Summer

The weather here has been up and down recently.  Sunny some days, cool and cloudy others.  A typical spring/summer routine in Fairbanks.  But for the first time as a mother those sunny days are starting to cause a little concern.  
You see, being the mother of a little red head (one that refuses to keep his hat on) is bringing out some sunscreen.  I am a believer in letting us get natural light and not always being covered but a little blonde girl reacts very different to a little red head boy.  Learning the balance is always important.  How thankful we are for the sunshine, even if it is making us be more attentive.  

May 23, 2014

Practice

The to do list of items to do before the baby arrives is almost complete.  As we have rearranged and prepared for our new little one we have tried to balance getting things ready with how much Abigail and Ethan can take in.  We put the cradle in our room a few weeks ago.  Then a changing station was developed and as of last night, the pack n' play was set up for the living room.  Small changes that won't overwhelm the kids but at the same time get them used to the change before a baby is added to the mix as well.  
 With the pack n' play in place we have been practicing how to care for a baby.  It was fun to see how many baby dolls were thrown into this bed within minutes of their morning play.  A place for babies, well that worked for them.  So with a little guidance I helped them choose one, lay out a receiving blanket, wrap her up, give her a toy and gently remind (many times) we don't cover a baby's face.
There is no way to complete prepare an older sibling for the new arrival of a younger one, I know this.  But it is fun to see them get excited.  We practice carrying our baby dolls, feeding them, changing them and all the while talk about how we will soon get to do this with their new little sister.  The next few weeks are going to bring big changes but you know what, I think we are ready.  Now to remind Ethan one more time, big boys don't climb in the pack n' play...we will get this, right?  


May 22, 2014

Preparing

If you have followed our blog at all you know that we like to garden and garden big.  Over the years the garden has grown from buckets as we built our house to a plot and then a few years ago, a greenhouse.  Each year Josh prepares the space for me and I fill it up, to the brim.  

This year is a little different.  I decided that I wouldn't be able to handles 50 plus broccoli/cauliflower/tomato starts in the garden.  All of those starts would have had to be transplanted this week and then tended to carefully for a few weeks as they took root (all a week or so before my due date).  It was just too much.  So this year I have focused more on seeds.  Basil seeds in the greenhouse, bean, pea, carrot, parsley and lettuce seeds in the main garden.  No, the garden wouldn't be full full but it would still have something.
And with that Josh had the first job to complete, preparing the beds.  The hoeing and mixing of compost into the soil is a big job and Josh is always willing to step into that role.  This year he had a little helper, of course.  The work is going on, can't wait to show you our 2014 garden soon.

May 21, 2014

Home Entertainment

When we go to the playgrounds in town the number one attractor for our kids is always the swings.  With the impending arrival of our new little one the trips to our parks might be limited for awhile. 
 So to solve that problem Josh built our own little swing set system right here at home.
 And as always his "helper" was not far away from all of the action.  (except for the time that Josh had to climb about 20 feet up in the air to ratchet strap the trees apart to get just the right spacing for the swing set's main support.  When that happened Ethan was inside with me.)  Good to remember that when you are a lowly assistant pants are optional.
 But the main perk of being an assistant is that you get to be the first one who goes for a ride on the new swing.
With Ethan's seat and Abigail's new "big girl" seat we are set, with plenty of room for future swing number three.  The kids love it.  Absolutely love it and we find our selves out for a swing daily.  How fun to play at home where there is always a swing just for you.

May 20, 2014

Through Her Eyes

When we bought our new camera in the winter we passed my small point and shoot on to Abigail.  For a long time it has been put aside and not thought of very often.  But recently it has come back out into daily circulation and is very loved.
Abigail loves to run around with it taking pictures of everything in sight.  It is fun to see what catches her eye.  We are trying to teach her that she doesn't have to be 2 inches away from every object she wants to photograph but for now that is what she likes to do.  She will learn.  

May 19, 2014

Frozen vs. Canned

The early spring we are in is not the usual time to be canning foods.  But with my mother-in-law on her way to visit a few days I knew this was the time to get on of my "someday" projects done.  You see I have a whole bunch of salmon and chicken in my freezer that is great there but would be a lot better if it was in my pantry. 
 So with my canning helper (she always so confident with the pressure canner while I have small nervous attacks as I put on the sealed lid) we set to work.  She even was smart enough to bring her canner with her as well and with two hissing and steaming on the stove we worked through all of salmon, chicken and broth that we had set out to can. 
No, I don't have a bunch of meals in the freezer for after the baby is born but with this food defrosted and cooked in the pantry meal prep just got that much easier.  Thanks mom for the help and the confidence.  The pantry is a fuller, better place these days because to a canner there really is nothing as beautiful as a row of canned, and sealed, jars of food all processed and ready for use. 

May 16, 2014

Learning The Correct Etiquette

We love tea parties at our house.  The presence of a guest in our house meant we had to bring out our best snacks, cups, tea and treats for grammie.
 We made it really special by actually having real tea for the first time (usually I just provide water).
And with those high standards came the presence of the pinkie in the air.  Yes, we are going for high class.  Just goes to show that even at 19 months you can start to learn the important things in life.
As we sat there enjoying our tea I couldn't help but remember the first tea party Ethan was "invited" to by Abigail, but not allowed to touch.  We have come a long way.


May 15, 2014

A Visitor

 Last week we had a visitor and a big helper come stay with us, Josh's mom.
The kids had a wonderful week with grammie and Josh and I were super blessed with not only her company but her help as well.  So many projects were completed and when the day came for her to go home she saw that I was hurting and changed her life around to stay a few more days.  We are so thankful for everything.  When the time did come for her to go home my blood pressure had dropped back to safe numbers, my swelling had decreased (a little), and the long list of things to get done before the baby is born was mostly done.  Thanks mom for being there when we needed it!

May 14, 2014

Routine

Josh and I have been asking each other recently if we are getting stuck in a routine and reminding ourselves to get out of it.  The kids are young, they have so many years ahead where they will have to be big and grown up.  We want them to stay young.  We don't want to get stuck in the routine of feeding them, caring for them, putting them to bed.  We want to remind ourselves to break out of the routine and remember each day is special.
This conversation was conducted in detail last Friday night after I had rocked Abigail for 20 minutes as she struggled to settle down to bed.  It was a good conversation and a good reminder before the start of the past few days.  To say it simply, things have been hard.  There has been very, very, very little sleep here and that is before the baby is born.  
Abigail is suffering for a serious case of allergies from our recent pollen explosion.  There is sneezing, lots of nasal discharge and the coughing, wheezing, facial swelling and more.  We have started with allergy meds, breathing treatments and more.  Not much seems to be working.  We went to a dr. at a walk in clinic on Saturday but are going to see "our" doctor this afternoon.  
As we reaching day six of very little sleep for all of us the fun in life is getting smaller and harder to find.  We are hoping that the dr today will help us find the right solution to bring relief to our little lady and thus all of us.  Why is it these conversations about family, kids and what we have always seem to come right before the fire?  It has been a good reminder to hold on the past few days and even as we have to dig deep to keep life from just becoming routine.    

May 13, 2014

8 Years

Today is a special day at our house.
 8 years ago Josh and I made the decision in front of family and friends that together we would face life.
 Since then we have built a house
 Explored many parts of Alaska
 And enjoyed travel around the other 49 states, as well as internationally.  
We celebrated as our relationship together lead to Abigail's arrival
 and then just 21 months later...Ethan's.
I am thankful for Josh daily and for the life we have been blessed with.  A lady approached me on Sunday and let me know that she and her husband share an anniversary with Josh and me.  This year as we celebrate 8 years she will be celebrating 53 years.  As we went our separate ways I couldn't help but pray that we would be as lucky.  Marriage is hard work yes, but so worth it.

May 12, 2014

Mother's Day

What a wonderful mother's day it was.  
I am truly blessed by my crew.  

May 9, 2014

This Happened

In the past two weeks something pretty big and exciting has been happening at our house.  I haven't shared any news of it until now because well, I just wasn't sure how it was going to go.  But I do believe I am now free to share the news.
 Ethan has been potty trained.  There is still a lot of work since he needs help pulling those big boy underpants up and down but he is doing great.  He lets us know when he needs to go and is already learning that sitting on the potty is a great way out of being somewhere he doesn't want to be (carseat, dinner table, time out-you get the gist).  I had originally not planned on venturing down this road until the baby was born and partially grown but our boy had other plans.  He was ready.  I think my biggest fear as a mom who has to potty train her kids is that I will miss the "window."  If you are a parent you know exactly what I mean.  Oh there were certainly days when I wanted to give up but our boy knew what was going on and he was ready for it.  I have to say even though week one did provide a lot of laundry I think it is great that I haven't washed a load of diapers in 2 1/2 weeks.
Yeah, our little boy is growing up and I am so proud of him.  There is really nothing cuter to me than seeing him in big boy underpants and he knows it.

**this post is dedicated to those who did know what was going on at our house and for all the encouragement given to Ethan and to me**

May 8, 2014

Spring Cleaning

The arts and cracks in these pictures took place about three weeks ago.  So when you look at the pictures don't think we still have this much snow in our yard.  It is sadly all gone.  We love the warmer weather but I now have to trek far and wide to find small piles of snow to consume.  

The other day the kids wanted to do arts and cracks and well, our deck table was super dirty from the long winter.
 So I let the kids help with the cleaning.  Not much cleans a glass table top as well as four little hands and a pile of shaving cream.  
There are many wonderful about things about our deck.  One of which it is a great place for arts and cracks and loads of messes.  Bring on the freedom of more messy fun.

May 7, 2014

Sunny Days

For weeks now Abigail has been asking for sunglasses.  She has specifically asked for bobbity boo (cinderella) or Hello Kitty glasses.  I was doubtful that we would find such glasses in town or that she would even use them if found.  Well, when on a date with daddy last week this girl came home with a brand new pair of sunglasses.  Josh had found the jackpot of displays and I guess they had everything under the sun.  What did our girl pick...not bobbity boo for sure but Minnie mouse instead.
She loves these glasses and even asked to wear them at the lunch table the other day when the sun was streaming in the windows.  Oh, how she makes me laugh.

May 6, 2014

For The Next Generation

Earlier this winter Josh was commenting on how he wondered what ever happened to some of his action figures, cars and toys from growing up.  We have accumulated a lot of his childhood items over the years and I thought we had it all.  I told him his mom had probably cleared it all out years ago but I was wrong.
When we visited his parent's house last month Josh found one more lost box.  This box was a golden box to our kids.  It was full of cars, teenage mutant turtles, play mobile men and horses, GI Joes, other Action figures, beads Josh had made from clay, this car mat, and more.  Slowly we have been putting some of this or that out for the kids and they couldn't be more excited.  How fun to see the next generation love the same items as Josh did when he was a small boy.


May 5, 2014

Warmth

To go along with our warm winter, we have had a fairly short winter and an early spring that has been quite pleasant.  Normally there is a 2 week period where the roads are so muddy and wet that every vehicle on the road looks like a 4x4 truck after a fun weekend.  This year, however, the 2 week time was shortened to only a few days and the kids and I were able to get out and clean  the winter's grime from the fleet.
This is a true sign of summer.  Unfortunately we live on a dirt road and I am not ambitious enough to do this every week like I should. So we will enjoy the color of our cars while we can. Before long they will be dusty once again.

May 2, 2014

Reality Check

This week has been a little harder on this pregnant mama than weeks in the past.  But sometimes it is weeks like this that is a reminder that times are coming to a close, it is time to get things done.  So the other day I started the long list on the white board of "Things to do before BK Deluxe."  I took a picture of the list for the blog but then realized you really don't want to know of everything that really needs done.
Instead I thought you would like to see what we accomplished last night.  It brought a smile to my face as we put this cradle back together that was originally used for my brother 37 years ago.  Before we know it the sixth little baby will be rocked to sleep here.  Yes, there is a lot to do and I am reminded that there really isn't that much time left.  Our girl will be here before we know it.

May 1, 2014

Something To Remind Us To Smile

When we were in Homer Josh and I visited a lot of art galleries.  We were looking for something.  
 Something special.  Something that would fit our home, and maybe make us rearrange the furniture to fit.  Something big enough to fill our walls and cause us to look up, just a little.
 Something that would bring memories of our time together, and of this time in our life as we wait for our little number three to arrive.
 Something that would remind us of Homer.  It was really me who picked this piece and Josh who gave in to my pleas.  I couldn't help it, I fell in love.  It is a combination of paper art and watercolor.  The flowers, bluffs, Kachemak Bay and the mountains - ahh, Homer.  I love that this picture now hangs in our living room.  It brings smiles to my face each and every single day.   
And with our rearranging we had to move our James Adcox northern lights art.  How fun it was to finally hang something on our big, and until now empty, wall.  New goal for 2014 - have this piece reframed into something appropriate.  Love how we are finally able to put up art that draws our eyes up and around our house.  Might as well use these tall walls and steep ceilings, right?