There is a lot of pressure as a mom to make sure I am parenting right, teaching academics right, instructing manners correctly, providing enough social interaction, and oh yeah - making sure everyone is happy. I have to admit it is a lot of balance each day. I look to other moms and all they do, other kids and what they know, and then feel overwhelmed. Really I am learning the best days are the days when we draw in, see what works for us and let the comparison game fall away. Oh, how I wish I could do it every day.
When I do draw in I realize that we are doing just fine. Great actually. We play, cook, interact, and learn together and that works for us now. In my mind I try to work in a preschool time each day. Some days it is alphabet work.
Last monday it was talks over a tea party about Holidays, the civil rights movement and Martin Luther King, Jr. Then other times it is puzzle time.
Or it is a mix of things all lead by imagination. Like the other day when Abigail decided a big snow monster was coming to the house so we had to cut out (talk about shapes), color (talk of colors), and write STOP (working on writing) to make a stop sign for our window. After all the work we were very happy to hear we did it in time and the big snow monster outside turned away and headed into the woods.
Yes, the comparison/academic days of parenting are here and will only get more intense as the years go on. How I do wish the clocks could stop and a paper stop sign could remain our accomplishment for our days. For now I think we will crack out some red, yellow and blue and mix up some new colors for preschool time. Someday languages, mathematics, physics, geometry and more will fill our times. I am thankful for this time today.
Our good friend, Ms. Mason, gave the kids a drum she made with her music class. The kids love that drum, Ethan especially. He plays it and sings with it all the time.
But the drum is good for a many more things then just music. Add in two little kids with big imaginations and you get, lunch. The kids LOVE to use their drum to "make soup." The drum stick is also great for stirring in all of the ingredients.
Then when the "soup" is just perfect we all get a plate and join together in the meal. This day the soup was made up of magnets and match box cars but you just never know what it might be full of. True to a lot of areas of imagination. When the fun starts there are so many ways it can turn out, just like most soups!
This time of year there are a lot of reasons not to live in Fairbanks, Alaska. It is dark and cold. We have had a relatively mild winter so far but this weekend should see -30 to -40, the normal stuff. I am so thankful the kids have been able to be outside as much as they have this year but there are facts about where we live. Anything above zero is a treat, not the norm. Days like today remind us of that.
But even on those cold and dark days there are things to be thankful for. Times when the sun does rise and the view of Mt. McKinley sticking up above the clouds as we drive into town. Even after living here for 10 1/2 years the sight of that big, beautiful mountain never gets old to me!
Ethan has been know to dress in a tutu, Sunday hat, or ballerina dress. But as our little man grows that has started to change. The dress up clothes in this house has started to see things of the more manly side of late. Fireman, train engineer, dragon and counting.
To add to his daily wear Ethan's uncle recently sent this our way. Ethan's very own chewbacca coat. Life is certainly fun when you have such a great coat that your girly sister is even jealous.
This has been a long overdue blog post but still, a funny enough story that I want to share.
Durning the Christmas season Abigail found pictures of all sorts of treats in the many magazines we would find in places around town. She wanted to make them ALL. Not really willing to put in the time to make personalized santa or snowman cake pops I agreed to an easier one of her desires, wreath cookies. That night we set to work with the recipe from the magazine. As I mixed it up I got to thinking, boy this recipe seems pretty basic and might not have any flavor. I should add some extract of some kind to spice it up. Well, my problem was I grabbed the last little bit of some lemon extract that I had that I have to admit was so old I don't remember how long I have had it around. The last time I had used it it was fine but once again, not really sure when that was again.
And what resulted was a batch of cookies that looked so pretty, Christmasy and tasty and in all reality they were the most disgusting things you have ever tasted. That last bit of lemon extract had gone bad and my simple addition to the recipe destroyed the whole thing. Made me realize a few things: don't mess with a recipe, especially one that has been cleared to be in Better Homes And Gardens, and don't really trust ingredients that have been around longer then your marriage (maybe, I can't remember). Lucky for the kids I didn't give up. Nope a few days later we made the whole batch over, with a few less cinnamon bits, and vanilla extract and they were a big hit.
Cooking, always an experiment and an adventure. I for one am learning that it is 100% ok to throw something entirely into the trash and start again if needed. Yes it is true, looks can be deceiving.
This weekend was one filled with paint. Paint is one of those hard things as a parent. Kids love it, I love it but oh it is so messy. I am so thankful that for the past few days Josh took it on.
It all started with a project that Abigail needed to do for Awana but that didn't take too long. Soon the kids progressed to painting 2x4's and loving it. Josh got in on the action and there they were painting on their "projects" off an on all day Saturday.
And Sunday. Josh is still working on finishing his up and I will show you the results soon. The kids love the color options, Ethan loved washing off his paint brush (boy still loves water), and we all enjoy a winter weekend full of crafts.
If you know Josh, you know he loves Legos. For his birthday and for Christmas this grown man, who forgets to act grown up around legos, got several new lego sets. But this year there wasn't time to just sit and put them all together.
Nope, this year things went a little slower as Ethan and Abigail each got to pick one of daddy's new sets to put together with him.
Parenthood: Sharing the things you love with your kids.
Dinner time is a horrible time to make dinner at our house. Everyone is tired, hungry, wanting to be held, just coming in the door from town and just ready to eat. So when I can, I make dinner in the morning and have it ready to just pop in the oven come that chaotic dinner time. This doesn't always work but I am happy to report that today marks the third day in a row that dinner has been ready for the oven or in the crockpot cooking by 9am. Yes, that does feel good!
I was talking to someone recently about Naomi and they mentioned some of her chubby baby traits. I laughed and said they were just like Abigail when she was a baby. They didn't believe me. But really, when you put the pictures side by side you can't deny that these two girls are sisters.
Abigail at 7 months on the left vs. Naomi at 7 months on the right.
Yup, my little skinny 4 year old once was a rolly polly baby too.
And if you cover up Ethan's big bald baby head, there is no denying that these kids are related. Yes, they are all baby Klynstras for sure!
This blog post had to come today because if I wait too long it is going to be old news. Our Naomi is growing in leaps and bounds these days. She is gaining weight, in the past week she grew up so much that suddenly NONE of her 6 month clothes fit any more and most importantly she is growing forward.
I commented last week that our days of sitting pretty are over and they really are. This girl gets set down and within a few seconds she is forward on her hands reaching, reaching and reaching until she is on her belly upset. She wants to move so bad.
And just a few days after the reaching started she has accomplished hands and knees. Then just last night we put her in her crib to play while getting Abigail and Ethan ready for bed and she pulled herself up to standing. Wow, this girl is ready to go and our life is about to change soon. We just might have our earliest crawler about to make her move.
This past week and a half has been a hard one at this house. Our little Naomi was very sick last week with a bacterial infection. Just as that started to clear up it appears that she is struggling with a viral infection that is attacking her skin. Our poor girl is covered head to foot in a rash. Not one that itches it seems but is uncomfortable (thus she, and I, don't sleep much). At the dr's this week I was told that since the rash was viral there was nothing that could be done. With a slight bit of humor Naomi's dr. told me to, "Just relax and enjoy the view, it would be all cleared up in 3-4 days."
Made me think about appearances a lot. About looks. About beauty. Really, it does come down to how we feel about ourselves so much of the time.
Just like my girl Abigail. She does believe the fun outfits she picks out are amazing, that blinking her eyes like Minnie Mouse make her extra glamours, and that hair clips on her ears make beautiful earrings. In this day and age of low self esteem and self image what a challenge I have to help my three kids retain the sense of beauty they see in themselves today.
The other day I dressed Naomi in a little one piece sleeper suit that looks like a little ballerina outfit. As soon as Abigail saw it she ran to get her ballerina outfit too.
They were so excited to match that day. Ethan was excited about all of it too although he was sad and cried just a little that he didn't have a ballerina outfit. Oh to be a single brother with two girly sister.
Little does he know that he is a bit like glue that will hold these two ballerinas together. But dancing, spinning and playing can be for all. Oh how I do love these days, a trying as they can be, these days of tutus and ballerina shoes dancing away to princess music all day long.
For about three weeks now Naomi has move more and more towards the days of toddler hood and away from infancy.
She has become a sitting pretty little lady. What a wonderful time as a mother. To be able to put out toys and set the baby down and she is happy for 5 to 10 minutes. Amazing what a mama with two hands can do in 5-10 minutes!
But we have also learned that our girl is very dramatic and if she is to fall over, at all, there are crocodile tears. So blankets, carpets, pillows and more are there to protect as Naomi would sway from side to side.
And Abigail and Ethan love it. A chance to have Naomi where they could "play" with her. More than a baby laying in a chair or on a bed. This was their sister, sitting, looking, watching and interacting. It is a wonderful thing but this blog post is almost outdated already. What is really happening today will be shared soon. To give a little hint...sitting and watching just isn't enough for my eager little girl.
I mentioned last Friday that we had a big arrival coming to our house.
And it showed up in many pieces Friday night, a set of new bunk beds for the "big" kids.
Saturday morning was full of "helping" daddy build the beds.
And testing them for all sorts of play.
When the kids took a quick break to play downstairs, I took that moment to make up those new beds.
And as soon as the kids discovered that, they were back to playing on their new jungle gym, oh I mean bed, once again.
The nursery is becoming more a big kids room now for sure. Naomi is still in our room, that girl needs to learn to sleep through the night, but when she is ready her bed is now empty and waiting. It is so fun for me to go in at night and see the kids sleeping in their big beds. Saturday night was Ethan's first night out of a crib and it made me realize how big my little man is becoming. Abigail's little toddler bed has fit her well for these past two years, she looks so tiny in her big twin sized bed now. But they are growing...
As in the past, I have written out my goals for the new year on the blog. I then have the chance to look back at them through the year and see just where I was in my year, if my goals were the same, and if I was accomplishing what I had set out to do. I am happy to do this again.
Kathleen’s Goals for 2015
(In no particular order)
Try outdoor/overnight camping with the big kids this summer.
After a sad example of a garden last year (due to baby and weather), I hope to have another large and successful garden this year.
Put Abigail into swim lessons.
Enjoy Naomi being a baby. Don't rush this. And on this topic, enjoy each stage Abigail and Ethan are at too. Days of the future will come too fast.
Hike more as a family. We did well two years ago but with most things the baby interrupted that a bit last year. We want to be intentional about this.
Raise chickens once again.
Josh's car is on its last leg. We need to set aside the funds to purchase a new/used one before it dies. In addition, our goal is to have a small pull behind RV of some sort by the summer of 2016. This year I want to work towards saving the money for these.
Go on a family trip this summer, probably one where we stay in state but still, a family trip.
Bike as a family this summer. Not sure what all this will entail but I would like to make it happen.
Figure out what we are going to do for schooling for Abigail and start a homeschool preschool program.
Keep working towards the big goal of 2014 that we weren't successful at yet. Time will tell but we must keep it in mind.