The other day I was working on the meal calendar. I feel like coming up with what meals to cook are always the hardest part of cooking for a family. So as I was trying to think of something new I asked the kids, "What would you like to eat for dinner." This is the list of items I heard from Abigail:
Yes, I do believe I will keep the meal planning as my job for a little while longer.
With the return of the sun dreams of the summer have arrived. With that the garden plans.
I remember hearing educators talk once about how a lot of kids in America don't really know where their food comes from besides the store. At the time this shocked me but after some thought I realized how true this fact is.
It is so exciting for me to think that these little seeds will grow into a garden full of fun, tasty food for us.
And that these kiddos get to be part of each and every step of the way. Might make the whole process a little more messy but nothing is better then digging our hands into the dirt when there is still snow on the ground outside! I also am teaching them to whisper words of encouragement to our plants. So, each day we check our starts and cheer them on with, Grow Babies Grow.
The other night at dinner time Abigail arrived at the table and said, "Mama when I grow up I am going to live right next door to you. I am going to live right there and always be with you. I am also going to have 4 boys and 5 girls and LOTS of toys."
To which I replied, "Abigail, you just made my day and I will be here and help you take care of your babies. But Abigail no matter where you live I will come and help you and be with you."
All of the kids love each other. Abigail and Ethan love to play, and argue, like siblings do. But there is something about Ethan and Naomi that is just sweet to see. He loves her so and wants to pounce her sometimes as well! But to watch Ethan go from the follower with Abigail to the leader with Naomi is fun indeed.
To Abigail Naomi is a baby doll to play with.
To Ethan, Naomi is a friend. I love watching these two and their simple play. Can't wait to see what it leads to someday.
Over the winter I found out that shutterfly was offering a code for a free photo book. At the time I didn't have a need for any particular book but who can pass up making a free one. I needed to think of something. The kids love pictures. I take a lot of them and they love to look at them. We have our screen saver on the computer programed to our pictures so they get to see pictures scrolling by the computer screen all day long but there is nothing like looking at a picture in a book. So I decided to make a photo book of their pictures. Something they could touch, talk about, remember and enjoy. Something that was ok for sticky hands, crinkled pages and lots of love. Thus I created the Klynstra Kids photo book.
And they love it. So fun for them and so fun for me to see them enjoy it. Life is memories in the making, so fun to remember them all.
We have a lot of tutus, ballerina dresses and ball gowns around here. Ethan is slowly getting boy clothes but awhile back I decided I would help him out by making him a super power cape. Honestly, he didn't love it. Wouldn't wear it at all actually. I shrugged it off and decided the day would come. Abigail on the other hand has been asking me ever since for a cape.
So the other day I set to it and made our girl a cape of her own. SHE LOVES IT. Kids, you can just never predict how they are going to react. She didn't take it off for four days except to sleep. And because she was wearing her's Ethan decided his wasn't too bad either.
Their favorite thing to do is ride their scooters while wearing the cape because it makes them think the cape is flying out behind them making their super powers very strong.
Once in awhile on a weekend when Josh or I take a turn sleeping in the other will bring breakfast in bed. Oh what a treat it is to wake up slowly knowing the kids have been cared for and to see a plate full of good food waiting to eat (and be shared with three eager children who have missed their mama or daddy that morning.) Whenever that has happened Abigail has begged to get the treat of getting breakfast in bed herself. We always laugh and tell her that the only way you get breakfast in bed is if you actually sleep in and stay in bed.
Well, the other day she did sleep in. It was a quiet morning with just Ethan and Naomi. At 8:15 I hear this loud yelling from upstairs, "mama, mama I slept in. Can I have breakfast in bed." Laughing to myself I put together a small tray of a simple meal and brought it up to her. That with a pile of books made her happy. Yes, breakfast in bed is fun but since it took her then a hour to eat the meal I am not sure we will do it again anytime soon. But it is a first and it is a fun memory for all of us.
The boys came home from their snowmachine trip last week to a project at hand.
Something that will help keep these active children of ours moving, excited, growing and entertained during the long days of winter.
A climbing wall.
It is a wide wall but for right now most of the holds run right up the middle, over the crash pad. The kids helped grandpa figure out just where the best places were to put each hold.
Abigail is really a pro at it. She goes up, down and side to side already. Ethan, he is learning. Oh those cute little 2 1/2 year old legs want to catch up with Abigail so bad. He will soon enough. How thankful we are for something new and exciting here at home.
Recently the weather has been around -20 degrees. The snow is deep and winter hangs on. But it is time. Time for big dreams, the feel of dirt, the sight of baby green shoots and visions of a full garden.
Last year was a pretty pitiful garden for me. We have enjoyed what I could get out of it this winter but it was less then in the past. Between the pregnancy, the baby's arrival and then the cold, rainy weather it wasn't a garden to be very proud of. But this year I am back baby and things will be better. The seed order arrived last night. Boy am I excited.
Naomi is on the move people. She is a crawling little girl and the baby gates are officially up all over.
But in addition to her crawling this little girl loves to walk. Slow and steady every day with her walkers. Her favorite is her little music table. She gets mad if it is turned off. Oh yes, she likes to walk and press the buttons for music to play at the same time. If for some reason this isn't available a little chair or bucket works. Yes, give this girl a walker and she will head off on her own. She is on the move and proud of it.
We love to play games around here. Now that Ethan plays games with us we have a lot of family time in the evenings ending our day with a game. Up to this point we have mainly played board games. Recently we ventured into card games as well.
As we played Go, Go Fish (as the kids like to call it) the other night it once again struck me at all we have to learn in life. Josh was teaching Abigail how to shuffle and deal. It was confusing, easily messed up and hard to stay focused at times making sure everyone had a pile of five cards before we could play. Each day kids have to learn so much. How easy it is to start to take things for granted. Recently I have found myself talking to the kids and then stopping myself and asking them if they even know what the words are that I am saying.
But luckily they forgive me for expecting a lot from them and I am reminded to take it easy, they are still learning. Plus, games help to keep things fun and the sound of Ethan's little voice saying Go, ISH always makes me smile.
The legendary Iditarod dog race starts in Anchorage, AK each year. But this year they just didn't have enough snow. So the start of this big 1,000 mile dog race was sent our way.
Even thought our temperatures have dropped below zero degrees again we couldn't miss out on this opportunity.
So the kids were all bundled up and we headed to the river. This dog race is run each year as a remembrance of the great serum run. In 1924 there was an outbreak of diphtheria in Nome, Alaska.
The serum needed to save the kids of Nome missed the last boat up the coast but the serum still needed to get there or the children of Nome wouldn't make it through the winter.
So the serum was put on a train from Anchorage to Nenana and then from there was taken by dog sled the rest of the way (674 miles) across the huge state of Alaska to the coast.
I do believe I was a lot more excited about this day then the kids but it was still fun to share it with them.
Many thanks goes to my father in law who was there to help me bundle, cart and encourage the kids with me since Josh had to work. The start of the Iditarod 2015, we did that!
This post is dedicated to my best friend Heather Riley. For even though she now lives across the country she knows more about each and ever musher then anyone I know. If it could have been possible for her to be here with me today I know she would have.
Yesterday we celebrated this little boy's 1/2 birthday. We like to celebrate 1/2 birthdays. It is a day nobody really remembers but us and it is fun to celebrate each child part way through the year. Abigail, our little event planner, got so excited when I told her Ethan's 1/2 birthday was this weekend. She started running around the house looking for "presents" to wrap for his big party. I calmed her down and told her that on 1/2 birthdays all we give is love. We were going to make cupcakes but other than that it was just going to be a day of extra love for Ethan.
Well, Abigail was not too pleased with that. Not at all. She continued on her quest to find presents. I had to reminder her off and on for the course of 2 hrs to give up the quest for the perfect present. Finally she comes running up to me and says, "so, I know you said this thing about love...BUT." Oh how it made me laugh.
This thing about Love. How Ethan is loved. Abigail decided finally on giving him her dog ears that she had made recently. He put them upside down and pouted because that is what you can do when you are 2 1/2. It is my half birthday and I can cry if I want too. Lordy, Lordy only 1/2 a year left to be 2. I have to admit I won't be sad when 3 arrives. These days of trying 2's are well, trying.
This past week has seen this crazy band of kids and I on our own. Daddy has been off on his annual snowmachine trip with his dad. I run solo with this crew every day but we all look forward to Josh's return from work each evenings. So going into this vacation of Josh's I was a little nervous of just how things might turn out. I am happy to say that, even though we still have almost two more days before daddy comes home, things are going well.
Toys aren't always being picked up, the meal calendar has been tossed aside, no baking is happening (I actually was gathering dishes to run the dishwasher yesterday since it has been three days since it was run. Usually it is run close to twice a day), bedtimes aren't exactly on schedule, and no real cleaning has been accomplished. I can't really say anything at all big has been accomplished actually. No real preschool work with Abigail. No sewing projects. No plans have been made. Nope, this mama is getting through this week well by making things super simple. And with that simplicity I have been able to be a calmer, more patient mama when there aren't any back ups for parenting gig. It is a fun way to be for a few day but I do know for sure we will all be pleased when daddy returns.
I have come up with some different ways to get us out for walks without our stroller that are still fun. Some days Josh will call when he is leaving the office. I will get the kids bundled and out the door and we make it a game to see how far we can walk before daddy stops to pick the kids up for the ride home (the baby and I get the pleasure of a quiet walk home).
The day this picture was taken Josh was walking with us. We all walked to the mailbox, which is mostly uphill, and Josh carried a sled. This meant that if the kids could make it to the mailbox Josh would then in turn let them sled with him almost all the way home. It was a good motivator indeed. One thing in this article I really love is that we are encouraged to push our kids outdoors but never in a way that makes them give up and takes away the fun. Josh and I have a lot of hiking/camping outings planned for this summer and each time the kids head out with me I tell them it is helping to get us all ready for the days when the snow is gone and the sun is high. Being a parent means you get to share your love of things with your kids. Well, with Josh and I put together these kids are in for a childhood of a lot of hiking, get ready kids - you just might love it too.
The firsts in life are important. I have to admit that I love seeing Naomi reach her firsts and then look back on when the others did too. The main milestones are fun (sitting, teeth, standing) but it is even more fun to see the firsts in our family (in the snow, daddy tossing in the air, push in the swings Josh built) AND the first tea party.
Here was Abigail at her firsts. As the oldest her first came later at the ripe old age of two.
Ethan was invited to his first tea party at the age of 7 months
And Naomi participated in her first party last month at 8 months old. My how the tea party table is beginning to fill.
But the great thing is, there is always more tea and if you wish, you are always invited to join us. We will even take a picture to mark your first time in attendance. In this house, tea time is a serious time for sure.
When Josh got the truck in January he asked for one thing, bags to hang on the back of the front seats. The way the truck is, when you open the back doors the floor is flush with the opening and anything on the floor can easily fall out. So with that request I set to work. Amazing how with three little kids one project can take weeks. But it does. 5 minutes here, one seam there, a thought of one design here or there and they were finally done.
We used mesh for some of the pockets but I also made flat bottom pockets and pleated pockets to fit all sorts of different things.
Two pockets were especially designed for the first aid kit and the disinfectant wipes. Custom pockets - advantage of making something yourself vs. buying it. The whole things are secured to the seats via carabiners and fit perfectly. When I gave them to Josh he went out and filled a pocket with trash bags, another with ratchet straps, and so on. I don't get to be creative much these days. When I get a request it is fun to get the chance sit at my sewing machine again.
I feel the kids do ok with keeping themselves entertained throughout the days. But there are always those times when I find emotions are rising and the kids are bickering. When I step back from it all I realize, we need something new. The other day was like that. Josh was home and we looked at each other over our bored/tired/getting near the end of the day kids and I said, "ok, a new project is needed - any ideas?"
And thankfully Josh had just the thing. Some old 2x4's that the kids had painted on the week before were pulled out, clamped down and operation hit it started. Nails, hammers, screws and screwdrivers were the name of the game.
And just like that the tension left the house and for a little bit there was peace, as well as a lot of loud banging. A change of pace and a change of direction always end up being good things for all of us.