August 31, 2015

Why Do We Do This?

This summer Josh and I have had the goal of hiking more with the kids.  We live in a great place to hike but with little kids the real trial seems to be the drive to get to those trails.  One thing we decided upon was to utilize our local borough ski trails.  It is 10 minutes from the house and has miles of up and down trails through the woods to explore.
 In the spring when we started we snagged a map of the trails and have been slowly marking them off as we have hiked them as a family.
 We set out to explore a new trail this weekend.  With the cool weather, rain, and mud we might have heard the questions, "why are we doing this?" about a hundred times.
And our response, this is fresh air, nature, exploring, and family.  It might not seem like you are having fun but this, why this is memories in the making.  Time will only tell if they ever agree with us.  But for now Josh and I are enjoying these adventures.

August 28, 2015

Friday - Homestead Update

Well, last night the internet was down and the garden was soaked from the rain.  The result of both is that this picture of a cucumber grown in my greenhouse from earlier this week is all I have to share with you today.  The cooler shift in weather has meant that the growth is slowed but when I am up to braving the rain I am still pulling in baskets of produce and I love that feel.
This week I served my favorite meal to make, one that was entirely grown and raised here at home.  From the chicken, to the vegetables and the pesto it was all homegrown and really that is what having a garden, chickens and bees is all about.  Often in August we do get cold and rainy days but come September the fall days become crisp and sunny before the snow arrives.  I am really hoping that is the case this year too.  I am certainly ready for the sun once again as I also keep a close eye on the forecast so that I can fight for my plants if frost shows up anytime soon.

August 27, 2015

Those Last Bit

Last week we went to visit the gardens.
And how thankful I am that we did.  
 Because I need to look at these pictures, flowers in bloom, t-shirts/shorts, and sunshine, to remind myself that it was just last week.
 What a difference a week makes.  Now it is cool, rainy, cloudy, with the yellow hue of birch leaves in the trees and red cranberry leaves on the ground filling our world with those autumn colors.
How thankful I am that we went to the gardens last week.  As we all ate ice cream in the sun we had no idea what a few days would do to our world.  
Here in Fairbanks one week means what once was summer is now fall.

August 26, 2015

Where You Are, I Shall Be Also

The other day I ran out of toothpaste in the upstairs bathroom.  I knew I had some downstairs so I went to look.  What is it about mama opening bathroom cabinets that makes all of the kids run.  These cabinets that all have baby locks on them are like hidden treasures to the kids.  
So while I found my toothpaste they found nail polish.  A simple job of finding something turned into painted toes and fingers for all three happy kids.  Yup, that pretty much sums up my views on mothering today.  I might not have any business calls coming in or big deals to make and break but I don't often live off of a planned schedule either.  How those simple times of saying ok to a spontaneous request make the day much more fun for all.  That and one's house feels a whole lot bigger and nicer after spending a hour in a small bathroom with three kids!

August 25, 2015

Working Together With Different Goals In Mind

It is always so fun to work in the kitchen with a little helper.
 Someone who can ohh and ahh with you over the wonder of garden produce.
But when you turn your back to get a bag for preserving that great produce your little helper asks just why must we put all of this blanched cauliflower into the freezer.  It tastes great just the way it is today.  And I have no argument for that at all...enjoy what you want my dear while it is fresh.  It will never taste this good again.

August 24, 2015

A Child's Play yard = A Mother's Labors

Last week I mentioned that Josh did dirt work in our yard.  It is amazing how dirt work in one portion of the yard and the use of heavy machinery means that once the rains come 
the ENTIRE yard soon becomes a muddy mess.  Oh how much the kids wanted to go out and play the other day.  Within 3 minutes all had fallen down, were crying, wet, muddy, in need of fresh new clothes because mud was being tracked everywhere and maybe the baby had her foot stuck in the mud and when I turned around she was walking around the muddy mess in socks.  
Oh boy, might as well add cleaning shoes to my list of nightly chores.  Yes we have mud boots but even running to the car to head to town seems to be reason for detours into mud piles.  I really do not want winter to arrive but at this point the thought of all that mud freezing up does sound pretty nice to me.

August 21, 2015

Friday - Homestead Update

The leaves on the trees are turning yellow, the fireweed has reached to top of its stalk, and the garden has taken a turn from the summer harvest to the fall harvest.
 This week the biggest update is that I finally got out to the garden for 20 minutes to do a little cleaning up.  I was able to pull all of the romanesco and cauliflower plants that had already had their heads harvested.  This extra space has now been given to the pumpkin plants.
 And even though they aren't huge, the pumpkins are starting to grow.  
 And even though the bright and summer harvest items are mostly over we are still getting the kids favorite, the peas.  Abigail has become my sol pea picker.  As the plants in the garden are large, hardy and most nearing the end of production, she is even being allowed to enter the garden to pick the peas from the back wall.  She loves this extra responsibility and I love that someone 3 feet tall is finding all those peas I miss.
And even though the days have been cooling down outside, whenever the sun shines a little the greenhouse does warm up and thus the place is continuing its life's dream of being a jungle.  Handfuls of tomatoes and cucumbers along with herbs are brought in daily.  Yes, the garden sure has had a shift.  The end is near but we can still hold on to these last days of summer for now.

August 20, 2015

When Dirt Is The Answer

Last week we had one of those unplanned, unexpected homeownership issues.  Simply put, we found a sink hold.  After Josh dug down just over 10 feet we confirmed the house, pipes, septic and all was fine.  Except...we had a sink hole.
 So Josh decided to fix it the right way.  Three dump truck loads later ( one of fill dirt, of topsoil, and then pea gravel)
 and the use of a co-worker's skid steer (Ethan was in 2 year old boy HEAVEN)
 And our sink hole was filled, the yard was torn up but on the mend, and the plan for no further problems are in our future.
And after the close of the day Ethan, and his buddy Mr. Boston, had one huge and soft dirt pile (and yard for that matter) to play in.  Oh those unexpected joys of homeownership.  Just never know where it is going to take us.

August 19, 2015

Come Visit Me

How blessed we have been that this has been a summer of guests.  Last night our dear friends from Kansas headed home.  What a great few days we have had.
The miles apart sure are far but how full the memories of being together are as well.  I am so thankful for this couple.  Such wonderful friends they are to us.

August 18, 2015

Where Has He Gone

Yesterday we spent part of our afternoon at the local botanical gardens.  What a fun place to go on these last days of summer.  I love watching the kids run, explore, smell, feel the silky flower petals and laugh amongst all that is so beautiful.  
 And then Ethan climbed up at the corner of this one overlook and I had to snap a picture.  
Because just yesterday I was in the same spot, same time of year and with the same boy.  But how of how has two years already flown by?  Where has that little bald baby boy gone?

August 17, 2015

Laughter Vs. Blog

We have dear friends visiting us this weekend.  Last night instead of writing a blog post we were playing cards and laughing.  Boy a lot, very unexpected I might add, has happened here the last few days and I have pictures to share.  But for today all I can really post is that laughter is filling my time more then blog posts.  The fun part is that even after it dies down laughter does have a way of lingering.  Now that is fun indeed.
  

August 14, 2015

Friday - Homestead Update

Today I leave you with a picture of my bees because last night was the end of them.  That is right, even though it is August 13th and in the lower 48 hot sticky days of summer remains, fall weather is coming to Fairbanks fast.  So fast in fact that I have had to sweep yellow leaves off of my deck TWICE already.  And so even though we collapsed the hive boxes down last week, took most of the honey inside and they were waiting for the rest of the baby bees to hatch the wait was over.  Man I have learned SO much this summer from my neighbor about the world of bees.  How blessed I have been to have such a mentor.  And as the two of us vacuumed up around 10,000 bees last night I was in for another lesson.  Being a beekeeper is never a boring job folks, never.
And so with the honey set to sit for awhile in his garage and six bee stings in my hands that is the end of this portion of our little homestead.  The garden is still going strong but the cooler/rainy days have slowed things down.  Those silly pumpkin plants of mine that decided they did want to live late in life are producing small pumpkins.  My wish right now, as I go out and cut off flowers every day, is that the plants will work hard enough this fall to make those small baby pumpkins grow big enough to actually enjoy.  We will see.  Next week I will be sure to update more on the garden itself.  But tonight with swollen hands and the taste of sweet honey on my lips I close one more chapter of my 2015 summer.

August 13, 2015

Thoughts On A Thursday

 Some random thoughts on a random Thursday:

- Yesterday I had to start the first fire of the year.  August 12th, how sad.  But the kids and I were walking around the house bundled in several layers of fleece and so I caved.  That and every load of laundry I tried to put on the line was rained on.  So thankful for a warm fire right now to warm our house and dry the excessive amount of laundry that has backed up over the past few days.
- Josh is home.  He got home late last night, earlier then planned but as his work goes - we never know what is going to happen.  So for now we are thankful he is back and will prepare things because we never know when he is going to be gone again.  Once in awhile out of town field work is fun, this not as much.
- Everyday Abigail asks if it is fall yet.  She knows that this fall she will get to take ballet class.  I try to impress upon her that fall also means the end of summer and that isn't anyone should wish for, but oh she is so excited.
- As school gears up again for the year I can not even begin to tell you how excited I am that Abigail is still four.  So thankful for another year of little kids!
-The kids have had a break through in the swimming pool.  Oh confidence and being willing to jump, submerge and swim makes going to the pool so much better.  How excited I am to hear the kids beg to go back so they can play some more.  After working with them for what seems forever they are finally getting there.  What relief.
And with these random thoughts comes a random picture.  I love seeing Naomi sleep all cuddled up with her babies.  Days of growing up go too fast.  

August 12, 2015

How We Grow

This week is the big week of the year for our local Fair.  It is our tradition to go each year, see the animals, wander the booths, gaze at the rides and take a picture of the kids by the cabbages.  This year I did have to go.  Nope, Josh's parents came up last weekend to camp but to also take the kids to the fair.  Josh and I, why we went on a date - one that was not at the fair.  They took Ethan and Abigail early in the afternoon to go on some rides.  Then later Josh and I dropped Naomi off and they went to check out the animals together (the word is Naomi loves snakes, happy I missed that one).  As I dropped Naomi at the gate I said, please be sure to get the cabbage picture for me.  And as they set it up Abigail asked her Grammie, why are we doing this? (ahh we are reaching the self aware years and someone is a little embarrassed to sit by a 300lb cabbage) and Grammie tactfully answered, because it is tradition, your mother wants this, and that is that.  
The angle isn't the best but I didn't take it and so I am thankful to have this picture. 
August 2015:  Abigail 4 1/2 and 33 lbs, Ethan one month shy of 3 and 34 lbs, and Naomi 14 months and 23 lbs.  Since this was taken the second day of the fair instead of the last days the cabbages actually look like cabbages this year.  I will say these fair pictures aren't the best pictures I ever post but tradition is tradition.  Don't mess with it and maybe a bad picture is part of the tradition, maybe we will break that part up a little bit next year.
August 2014:  Abigail 3 1/2 and 30 lbs, Ethan 23 months and 30 lbs, and Naomi 9 weeks and 12 lbs 8 oz.  
August 2013:  Abigail at 32 months and 26 lbs with Ethan at 11 months and 25 lbs
August 2012 - Abigail 20 months old and 21 lbs
August 2011- Abigail 8 months old and 18 lbs



August 11, 2015

Imagination

Because if Mama is in the kitchen cooking that is where everyone wants to be.  And maybe while the food is cooking on the stove the baking containers just might end up becoming the best looking train around.
The imagination of little people, I never know where it will lead us next.

August 10, 2015

Lucky Kids

There seems to have been a lot going on here.
10 days ago my parents left
10 days ago Josh came home from out of town work
9 days ago he decided to take some vacation time, YEAH, and we celebrated last week with an unexpected "stay-cation".
3 days ago Josh's parents arrived.
 They both drove 500 miles on Friday for three reasons, all being 4 years old and under.  
 And with those little people in mind they brought up their tent, set it up in the yard and 
Have been taking Abigail and Ethan "camping" all weekend.  This morning the tent, supplies and Grammie and Grandpa are driving 500 miles south but what fun these kids have had.  What lucky kids.  With their departure also comes Josh's as he heads back out of town for work once again.  This summer is certainly one with a swinging door it seems.  But no worries, we won't be alone for long.  Good and dear friends of ours are arriving next Saturday to spend some time with us as well.  One thing about summers in Alaska, it is a great time to host those we love.

August 7, 2015

Friday - Homestead Update

August 2015 and the garden is growing so well.
 To the eye this might just look like a massive pile of green yet is is sections upon sections of vegetable plants all growing and loving these last few summery days we have been blessed with this week.  At the bottom of the picture are the huge pumpkin plants (remember how they questioned if they originally wanted to grow or not way back when I transplanted them?).  They are slowly growing into the second row as I pull plants after harvesting the romenesco and cauliflower.
 But the big news in the garden right now is the vegetables.  Really, this time of year is amazing.  This small pile came from my running into the greenhouse for all of 5 minutes to water a little last night.  I didn't even take a basket in with me as I didn't go looking.  As a result I came back to the house with my coat pockets bulging.  This is the time of year where every night dinner is a main dish (three out of the last four nights have been fresh Silver salmon thanks to Josh's parents, also a this time of year event) joined by broccoli or cauliflower, steamed zucchini, accompanied by fresh snap peas, cucumbers and tomatoes and the kids are begging for the home canned green beans too. But who ever heard of too many vegetables being served at one meal?
 And can I just say how much it makes me smile that my 2 and 4 year old know what romenesco is and how to say it.  Plus they, as well as the baby, can not get enough of this great vegetable.  Steamed until soft and so flavorful and Naomi will eat almost an entire head of it herself.
Having this garden and growing food for my family is something that responds well to my love language of being able to serve.  Plus it makes me smile to listen to the dinner conversation between the kids as they discuss "What am I going to grow in my garden when I grow up."
And on the slight progress note.  This is my first year growing brussels sprouts and up until this point all I have seen is a lot of green stalks.  I am so excited to report that just this week I am started to see the buds that tell me my silly plants might be starting to think about producing something some time soon.  And if they wish too they need to start soon.  Summer in Alaska is getting ready to close up shop.  The sun is starting to set more and more and by midnight the sky is dark.  The other night I saw the moon for the first time in three months.  Hello moon and cool evenings that beg for the fleece coats to be unpacked.  We Alaskan's do love our summers but how fleeting they certainly are.

August 6, 2015

Such Potential

The other day the kids were all climbing on this little bear statue.  At one time or another one of the kids would look up and smile, Ethan for just a second sat on the bear's arm and looked great, once Naomi even stood at the bottom, rested her hand on the bear's back and grinned up at her siblings.  Oh, what potential this setting had to be a great "unposed but caught in the moment" picture.
And even though we live in a digital age where I can take two hundred pictures and usually get one good one there are days where nothing is possible.  But as I look at this picture I laugh.  Not a great picture to most, an imaged labeled in my mind as "the one with such potential", and a glimpse of life with three busy little bodies.

August 5, 2015

Unexpected

There are unexpected days of joy in our lives but there are unexpected days of deep sorrow.
One we hold close, the other we wish would never come.  Today my dearest friend is facing a day of sorrow.  And as she struggles so do I.  When those we love feel pain that pain is felt so deeply by those that love them too.  A blog is an easy place to hide.  It isn't too difficult to only post about the good days but the bad days come for us all.  So today I mourn with my friend and that is all I have in me.  Joy will come again but for today it is lost to the fringes.  

August 4, 2015

My Day/Your Day

When Josh's mom visited at the beginning of July she took two days to have special dates with the big kids.  One with Ethan and one with Abigail doing special, and different, with each of them.  When my parents came they were excited about doing that as well.  Those days with just one grandchild to learn about them, let them be special, and a time when the ration is two adults to one child letting them grow in that only child feeling.
 Ethan's day involved the library for story hr, lunch out and then time to visit the new Alaskan dinosaur exhibit at the local museum.
 Ethan came home from his date with a smile on his face, a spring in his step and talk of all the dinahores he saw.
 The next day started early for Abigail and her grandparents.  The three of them took the Alaska Railroad from Fairbanks to Denali, spent time in Denali and then took the trail back.  It was a super long day but one all three of them completely enjoyed.
When Abigail walked back in the house late that night she was talking a mile a minute about everything they did, all they talked about, what she saw, the things her grandparents let her eat and of course the gum that she got the chance to chomp on all day long.

One on one dates with grandparents - the things that gives this mama a little break and the memories that make childhood joyful.

August 3, 2015

Time With You, Time With Me

Time with my parents has come to an end.
 But it was a full, fun time.  Lots of play
 laughs at grandparents seeing kids have fun and kids laughing at funny things grandparents will do,
 spending time together enjoying summer,
 And being cared for by grandparents in only the way that grandparents do.
 We did Fairbanks things like the botanical gardens, the parks and of course the golden day parade
 Sharing all those experiences that that make relationships grow
And knowing that no matter the miles, we are family.

Tree Disaster of 2017

We had quite the tree drama this year.  After years and years of real trees from the woods I was done with the needles.  DONE.  Last year A...