February 27, 2015

Looking Good and Knowing It

Ethan's grandpa and grammie sent him a new hat yesterday.  He loves it and has yet to take it off.  Now he looks just like grandpa and tells everyone he meets.

February 26, 2015

Pulling To Stand

There has been a lot of growth, learning and advancing in this house this week.  It is amazing how Naomi's flopping, pulling and frustrations over moving from the past month can click in just a day or so and suddenly things are changing.
 This week our girl has mastered the pull myself up on everything because I WANT TO STAND stage.  For a few days just about everything else in her life has become boring unless it is something that can hold her weight to let her pull up.  She has suddenly figured out how to get herself from the laying position to the sitting position as well on her own.  And then there is the movement.  She is putting all these steps together to figure out how to get off her belly and on to her knees for crawling.  She is still doing a lot of arm crawls for the actual moving part but it is getting the hang of it.  (Drum was borrowed from thread for two weeks.  I don't think Josh minds that it was just returned, ha ha)
Add to all these new skill the bottom teeth that are just starting to push through and well, there is so little sleep going on here.  This girl's mind is thinking movement day and night.   The past few nights she has spent most of the nights sleeping just 5-10 minutes and then finding herself sitting up in bed crying because she doesn't know what she is doing sitting up.  We have to comfort her back to sleep just to have her find herself sitting up again a few minutes later.  So hard to figure out that her body is just practicing what she is learning, even when she is sleeping.  

But the climbing/standing/crawling will become normal and those teeth will poke through.  Growing is hard but so very exciting too.

February 25, 2015

Tell Me A Story

I know I don't talk about Thread all the time but we are enjoying the benefits of this program ALL THE TIME.  Thread is a preschool resource here in our town where I can go and check out a variety of materials (similar to a library) and keep them for two weeks.  We love going and the kids love having a hand in picking out what we are going to get on each visit.  (This visit included two puppets and a drum).
 One of the items we have been enjoying these past two weeks have been flannel board stories.  They are so fun.  I sit and "tell" the kids the story with the pictures and then it is time for them to each pick a story and tell it to me.
The librarian who is leading Ethan's story hr this winter has been teaching me about the importance of kids learning the flow of a story.  It is so fun with these flannel boards to sit back and learn from the kids what they have on their minds instead of always being the one laying out where a story should go.  Fun times for these winter days.  

February 24, 2015

Natural Light

After taking pictures inside all winter
 Under a variety of light bulbs
 Where it takes about 100 pictures to get one good one
 It is such a joy to go outside and have the natural light
 that lets me take great pictures, one right after the other.
It also helps to have such cute people to take pictures of.

February 23, 2015

New Addition To The Family

When I wrote out my goals for 2015 I mentioned we were saving up for a new vehicle for Josh.  His had been faithful but was dying a quick and steady death of exhaustion from just too many miles driven.
 Well, the need to get that new vehicle came sooner then we thought.  The last week of January this old car just gave up.  We limped it into the dealership for a trade in and the last we know it has yet to go another mile.
But added to the family is the truck.  We have known this need for a new set of wheels was coming so Josh and I have been looking at, test driving and evaluating vehicles for quite some time now.  The ability to move this family, bikes, camping gear, strollers, trash, furniture, wood and more has arrived.  Josh has a smile on his face each time he heads into town, me I have driven it just once.  I am very happy in my jeep, very happy Josh is happy, very happy for what this truck will provide us with and very happy NOT to be responsible for something so big every day.  So, to our new truck - welcome to the family Mr. Silverado.

February 20, 2015

On The Ice

When you live in a cold place it is important to get involved in winter sports.  But with little kids it is sometimes hard.  There is a balance of when you take the plunge, buy the gear and get your kids involved into something completely new when really they might only want to be outside for a few minutes at a time.

Josh loves to play hockey and we knew getting our kids on the ice would be something we would do.  Last year we were ready to introduce Abigail but due to her small size we weren't able to find ice skates small enough to get her started.  Thankfully she has grown enough that she became the owner of her very own skates last month exactly two days before our extreme cold snap.  But this past week the weather has warmed and she and Josh have been heading to the ice.

She is doing great.  On just her second visit she wanted to let go of Josh's hands and try it herself.  The great part of owning her own skates is that she and Josh can go to the free outdoor rinks.  So if Abigail wants to skate 5 minutes or 30 it is ok.

On Wednesday Josh came up with this bucket idea.  It is great and gives Abigail the confidence she needs as she moves.  Plus it gives Josh a free hand to take a video to bring home to me.  So here she is on her fourth visit to the ice, she really does love it.
video

February 19, 2015

So Soon

It seems like whenever I am around other people these days there are 11 month old, one year old, 15 month olds running, walking, talking, bossing, clearly thinking and more.
 And recently it has really blown me away that in just a couple months my Naomi will be doing all that.  Where oh where have these baby days gone.
Last night we had a rare moment when she and I had arrived home before the rest of our crew.  When I took her out of the car she was so tired that she fell asleep on my as we cuddle on the couch.  I sat there knowing Josh and the other kids would arrive soon and they would need dinner, need help with this or that, need me.  But for that moment is was just me and my baby girl all curled up against me.  I thought of putting her down to sleep to get things done but quickly threw out that idea.  Oh the way she feels, her face, her steady breath as she slept.  So soon she will grow and be on the go and I will wonder just where the days have gone.  So for today I look at her.  As I chase the other kids around and take care of Josh and the household life, I look at my baby.  May I soak up her today and be able to hold these memories close.  Too soon they will be gone.  These kids are growing for sure and they just never stop.

February 18, 2015

Outside

We have had extremely cold weather for several weeks.  But then the past few days have warmed up a bit.  Those great chinook winds have flooded through our region of the north and with it a mid-winter break from the cold and the snow.  Oh, we know the cold, cold days will return and ice/snow and more are around the corner, but for a few days there is great joy in the outside world.
So today I really don't have much to blog about except that we have been too busy playing, jumping, swinging, attempting to bike, sledding, walking, making snow cakes for the squirrels and more to really have a good blog post for you.  Even last night when I might have been working on a more in depth blog post Josh and I were instead standing outside watching one of the most beautiful north lights displays either of us have ever seen.  And it was warm enough that with a winter coat on we were comfortable enough to stay out there a long time watching the sky dance.  That is the one thing about northern lights, they usually don't come with comfortable viewing temperatures.  This certainly was a treat.
So with that I leave you a few cute pictures I have been wanting to share for some time.  I am going to now go toss out the meal calendar for the week and clear our schedule because really, nothing is more important to me right now as getting this crew of mine outside into the fresh air.  After being cooped up inside seeing temperatures between 20-35 ABOVE ZERO are heavenly and we and to enjoy each minute.


February 17, 2015

A Little Here A Little There

So I am sharing this story only because my sister did this same thing last year and I learn from her.  So don't think me weird on my own.  

After Christmas I came upon the mixed bags of hershey's chocolate chip bags on clearance.  The ones that are red, green and brown mixes.  Well, last week (as we were getting ready for Valentine's day), I had the kids do a little sorting for me.  Two bags of chips, three containers each and preschool was about to start for the day.
 You know whenever I read those mom blogs that talk about teaching preschool to their kids I want to cry.  I know I talk about this a lot but honestly, it is on my mind a lot.  There are mom's out there with rooms full of preschool/teaching supplies.  With trays full of muffin tins that are then full of colored cotton balls where their kids sit and sort things.  

I am not one to go out and get supplies like that, I just don't work that way.  But when I find myself at the counter having the kids sort the chocolate chips I laugh at myself.  Because hey, we are doing it.  Red for our Valentine's day cookies, green for Saint Patrick's day next month, and a little brown to mix in (thanks so much Hillary for doing this last year, what a great idea).
The kids spent almost a half hour sorting, we then talked about which color had the most/lease/the middle amounts.  The best part of the story, this was the best part of the kids day.  They loved it.  Sorting first thing in the morning and then first thing to tell daddy when he came home at the end of the day.  Why?  Well, because it involved getting to eat two chocolate chips each at the end of a job well done.  When preschool is at home with this mama, just about anything can happen.

February 16, 2015

Love of Hats

I never wear hats.  In high school I could barely wear a swim cap all the years I was on the swim team. I hardly can even wear a winter hat even though I live in one of the coldest places in the country.  Bottom line.  I have a big head!

Ethan gets his head from me.
Problem with this is that my boy LOVES Hats.  Loves them. 
Loves them so very much that wearing one just isn't enough.  Nope, sometimes he just can't decide which hat to wear and has to wear 2 at once.  Yes, if it is a hat for his head he is happy.  Just made sure it is size 5T or bigger.

February 13, 2015

Valentine's Day - It Is A Big Deal

Valentine's Day is a big deal here in our lives.  Not the lovely sort of deal that grownups make it out to be but a kids party heaven.  I have talked to friends in the lower 48 and it doesn't seem to be as big of a deal down there as it is here.
 After a lot of thought all I can think is that after the long dark of winter a sunny holiday full of pink, red, candy and love is just what this dark town needs.  Time to step away from the cold and dark to get together to celebrate.
 And with all that celebrating we want to be sure and let our friends know that we love them.
 We have been spending time off and on for the past two weeks putting our efforts into making valentines for all our friends.  You saw the button valentine the other day but we also came up with the squishy heart idea for our mooseketeer friends.
Abigail so so so excited about Valentines day.  She came up with the menu for tomorrow.  Salmon loaf made in the heart shaped cake pan (the loaf ends up being pink because of the color of the fish), radishes, roasted red potatoes and red Jello salad.  It is sure to be a fun day to love on each other for sure.

February 12, 2015

Parenting

Josh and I could be considered by some strict parents.  We have some house rules and we try and stay consistent with them so the kids know what to expect.  But even with saying that, one of the greatest joys in parenting for me is surprising my kids with the unexpected.
Like treating a little girl who can't sleep to some popcorn and a chance to watch the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang with daddy.  This picture was taken months ago but is still special to me.  Abigail is mostly our night waker.  If this girl gets a nap at all she struggles to sleep at night no matter how much activity is involved.  Most nights she has to rest in bed until she sleeps but there are times when the unexpected is so fun.  A movie, a book, or storytelling time, just us and our girl all snuggly in her pj's.  What a great joy of parenting it is.  
Well, it was really fun the other night when Ethan got to have his first "unexpected evening surprise."  Our little man had had a longer then normal nap and was struggling to sleep.  He was just sad having to stay in bed that after a little bit Josh carried him down and he got to enjoy a banana and a book about big machines with daddy.  

Yes, schedules are good, rules are needed, structure is established but these are the memories I hold dear.  The thing is, the kids always go to sleep better and happier after these encounters then any other method we have found!  Good memories for us and for them.


February 11, 2015

The Sunlight

There have been a lot of our little friends sick recently.  I am so thankful that most of it has passed us by.  But the other day the kids just weren't feeling their best.  I declared it a "rest until we are sure our bodies are strong enough to fight off some much bigger bug we might encounter."

And let me tell you, these days are possible only by the increased amount of day light that is streaming in our windows.  As of today we are officially receiving 8 hours of daily light a day.  On the 3 hour days in December it feels like we will never see the sun again.  But just like that with each day that passes see a little more sun and with that the promise of spring (even though it is still -20 or so outside).
I am reminded year after year, the extreme temperatures of fairbanks are much easier for me to handle then the dark.  Welcome back old sunshine, welcome back!

February 10, 2015

The Amazing World Of Buttons

Back before I had kids I thought buttons were for sewing.  You know, something just used to keep a shirt together, purse closed or connector for a cuff.  Now that I have little craft making kids I am learning very differently.
 Buttons my friends have so many very fun and fascinating possibilites.  Necklaces, baby clothes, cape decorations, crafts, used as pretend money in a purse or on a plate as snacks for a baby doll's tea party.  And then there is the sensory joy of a two year old boy who loves to stand for a hour sorting, moving, looking, feeling and playing with buttons.  I have been collecting buttons off of old shirts, or here or there for almost 10 years and I have a very sad, sad collection.  One that is quickly disappearing as craft days go on.  But I have a plan to find more.  I heard someone say once that if you go to the transfer site you can just pick up the clothes left in the exchange area for their button use only.  I also do believe I have a garage sale mission for this summer as well.  

If you happen upon a jar of buttons in need of a home please let me know.
One of the many uses of buttons in our house.

February 9, 2015

My Artists

I have said it before, and I will say it again, I LOVE having an artist in the house.  And so do other people.  Our good friend is in charge of doing the bulletin boards for the english department of a local high school.  Ever since she saw the amazing job Josh did on Abigail's minnie mouse pinata she has found a great helper in fulfilling her pintrest needs.
Josh spent the other day making February's art work and everyone was very pleased.  It is great for Josh too.  As an artist sometimes it is frustrating not to have a project to channel your inspirations and talents into to.  Our friend has found a lot of ways to keep Josh's artistic abilities flowing.
And at the table right next to Josh are our two artists in training.  These kids are blessed to watch daddy work and see his talent each day.  From a non-artistic person's view point, I certainly feel blessed.

February 6, 2015

Touch

As a mom I am always trying to find new ways to teach thing, introduce things, and entertain.  Recently from the library we picked up a book all about the 5 senses and about our bodies.  
Which lead Abigail and I to the touch game.  I run around the house filling a bag full of random things, cover her face with a scarf and the touch game begins.  She loves it and it is fun.  Ethan on the other hand freaks out to have his face covered.  Maybe in a few years he will join in.
It is always fun to do something new.

February 5, 2015

Their Fashion

When we are home for the day I leave the kids up to dressing themselves in whichever "home" clothes they want.  It is nice for them to make the decision and nice for me to be able to give them that freedom.  As long as it isn't a "nice" shirt that I really don't want stained with our at home activities it is available. 

Well, Ethan pushed that a little bit the other day since his favorite outfit is his blue ball ball shirt and basket ball shorts.  Most days this would be fine but when it is -35 degrees outside I had to draw the line somewhere.  On days that cold you can keep your house warm but there is always a slight chill in the air.  So I asked him to go upstairs and put on pants.  He replied, Ok Mama and a few minutes came back downstairs looking like this.
And oh how it made me laugh.  I think the combination of him loving his shorts and seeing Abigail wear skirts over her pants for years has lead to this new fashion statement for him.
Yes, seeing what the kids choose to wear each day is always a fun experiment for sure.  Someday they might care what the world has to say but for now, this is who they are and what they love.  Little kid fashion = great fun.

February 4, 2015

Snowflake

You will see in the days and weeks to come a lot of art, crafts, and indoor play.  January, February and March, the inside need to stay busy months.
The other day I came up with an idea that involved, glitter, markers, crayons and popsicle sticks.
It was a craft perfect for little hands (except with the glitter paint just wouldn't dry, humm)
So we moved on to crayons and glitter stickers instead.
And we made snowflakes for our windows.  The super cold days required we bring the beauty inside when we couldn't go out.  And our inside snow is just like the outside in the fact that no two are the same!

February 3, 2015

Colors

I mentioned last week that there has been a lot of painting around this house lately.  Well, while the kids have been painting their 2x4's and sheets of plywood Josh has been busy painting the baby doll cradles for the girls.
He had made one for Abigail years ago and it has been plain wood all this time.  He made one for Naomi this past fall and decided to take the time and finish them up.
From a non-artistic point of view I am always amazed by his creativity.  I have said it before but I will say it again, we are really lucky to have an artist in the family!

February 2, 2015

Dry Season

We live about 350 miles inland from the coast of Alaska.  The Alaska mountain range (the one that includes Mt. McKinley) is between us and the coast.  The combination of those two geographic facts means that Fairbanks is a very dry place to live.  Add to it extremely low temperatures of late and well, you could say we have a little fun with static electricity these days.
Welcome to the days of being careful of anyone and anything you touch!