This week has been fun for me to post little bits on the kids individually. Little snap shots to remind me of just who they are at these stages that they are in.
My Naomi is certainly my little independent girl. She talks up a storm and communicates better then either of her siblings did at this age. She adores all things Abigail since she has started to realize Abigail does "big girl things." At the same time she loves Ethan but hates that he can be a big brother and out run her, out talk her, and out build things now. If she can sneak up and snag something of his and drive him crazy it makes her day.
But really at the end of any and all play, where she uses all her force to show that she isn't just a baby but a big girl herself, she is my little person who loves to be picked up. She has this strong independent spirit with a need to be cuddled, hugged just one more time, and rocked to sleep. Rock a by baby is her favorite nursery rhyme and when she is done settling all her baby dolls down to naps she loves to take their place in the chair with me rocking her too and fro as well! But ask her to do something she doesn't want to and this week has found her shouting, "I don't want to!" all the while stomping her little foot. Oh boy, we are in for a ride with this girl for sure.
Abigail is learning to read these days but just like when any of us have to learn anything new, she isn't a huge fan. Oh I try and tell her about all she will do in life once she knows how. Travel, learn anything, cook anything and more comes with the ability to read. Those all sound wonderful but when it comes time to sit down and start sounding out words she looks at me and sighs. Often I hear, "Oh this is just no fun and I just wish I was at the last word of the last page I have to read today." Oh the drama of those five to ten minutes a day.
But the other day I came up with an idea. For my date loving girl I have given her the challenge of you read me ten books and you get to go on a date reward. The books can be her 8 page starter books or a 25 page first reader book. As long as it is cover to cover, and a mix of both of these, she gets to add a ring to her reward chain. The idea sounded good, we broke her first reader up into three days of reading and at the end of the last page she got her first chain. As of last night my girl is up to three links in her chain and getting more confident with each one. Oh yeah, learning new things is hard and until you become good at it, it is never fun. But a reward chart does make the accomplishment for a job well done seem just a little better!
Last week we were so excited about the demolition going on in the guest room and the start of something new. And then reality sunk in and the reminder that we do live in Alaska. Whenever you want anything specifically for a job it usually has to be ordered and oh, that takes a week to ten days - from three days from now.
So the guest rom door has been closed and locked so no visitors go mess with the tools but that has been it for over a week now. But last night the door was opened, tools were laid out, drop clothes were arranged and the stage was set. The earliest the wood could be delivered will be tomorrow and we don't have our hopes up too high but at the end of the day we are ready to start.
Finger painting with three little people is hard. But when Josh is around to lend a hand for mess control the fun can go on.
I think back and when Abigail was Naomi's age she got to experience finger painting all the time. Three is just a little harder to juggle and so when Naomi does get to dive in she really loves it. One on one date time for Naomi - perfect.
But surprisingly after Abigail and Ethan come home from their date to town they are surprisingly jealous of those fresh finger paints. No, 5 and 3 are definitely not too old to beg for a painting session for themselves. There is no end to the joy paint between the fingers can bring.
When we were potty training Naomi we all spent a lot of quality time in the kitchen. After day one I started going slightly batty but still had to be there. Watching Naomi, encouraging her to drink and encouraging her to learn how to grow up into big girl panties. I am so very pleased to say we are well past this stage, amazing what a few weeks can do, and have moved on to being all over the house and back to our days in town. But the effects of those days of confinement still remain.
Because while we were in the kitchen the cabinets were scrubbed (inside/outside/top and bottom), things were reorganized, items were cleared out and all things were freshened up. So here we are, clean kitchen and no more diapers. Worth the work on both jobs for sure!
One thing Josh and I do our best to achieve is to have our house work for us, not the other way around. Thus we have rearranged, changed, shifted, and more over the years we have lived here and added children to our growing family. Right now the house works for us but things could be a little better.
I absolutely love the fact that I can come to Josh with an idea and he says, "Yeah, I can build that for you." So with that Josh is back at the drawing board. Cut lists are being created, plans are being solidified, parts are being ordered and wood is being cut.
But even as all the planning and ordering is happening so is the demolition of what used to be our guest room. The bed frame and the box spring have been taken apart and the materials have been salvaged. Something new is coming.
A few weeks ago Abigail asked for a new dress. We had a date night where we went to JoAnns and picked it out together. Then came the fabric. Then came the waiting.
Abigail, my lover of all holidays - Valentines being in the top three right after Birthdays and Christmas - was very excited about a new dress to wear to church for Valentine's Day. So I set to work and managed to finish the last stitch last Wednesday. She was so excited and wore it the rest of the day, Thursday and part of Friday. Then it was set aside for Sunday and all of the festivities.
But then Grandma set to work and sewed Abigail, Naomi and both of their favorite dollies matching ballerina skirts for Valentine's Day. Come breakfast Sunday morning and these new gifts and needless to say, that new, very pink, dress was quickly forgotten. You know what. It is ok. Watching these kids get so very, very excited and proud of their new skirts was a happy day for me. There will be other days for mama dresses for sure.
Ahh, the Friday before Valentine's Day. In our house I have a certain five year old who has been so excited about this day for weeks. Making hearts, coloring love notes, picking out the perfect pink outfit, and helping plan an all red and heart meal to make. Yes, gone are the days of Valentine's meaning a quiet meal with candles and just Josh for company. This is a full blown holiday of love and the things Abigail loves - giving gifts and eating sweets.
So where ever this Valentine's Day takes you this year may it be super sweet and memorable as well.
For two years now we have been enjoying the benefits of Home Depot's free craft days for kids. We don't go every month but we try to go often and always enjoy ourselves when we do.
But this past Saturday was a little monumental for all of us. Because instead of getting two kits at the sign up desk we asked for three.
Naomi has finally gotten old enough to get her own orange apron and her own crafts to build.
Each child likes something different about these crafts. Abigail loves the painting, Ethan the hammering, and Naomi - I do believe she just loved being the mess of it all. Another success for all the ages!
Saturday was the start of the annual Fairbanks to Whitehorse 1,000 mile dog race, the Yukon Quest.
When it comes to do races we love to go. It is so fun to see the mushers all loaded down with the gear they needed, smiling ready for the days and miles ahead.
But really we go to see the dogs. The true heros of these races. They are so excited, jumping, booties in place, pulling on their harnesses and ready, so ready for the miles ahead.
Going out to cheer on the teams is a family event and we all love it.
Granted I do think Ethan, Abigail and a friend we met up with enjoyed the sledding down the river bank onto the ice the most. We, the parents, enjoyed the teams but also spent a good potion of our time making sure the boys were pulled out of the dog trail so that joy could continue and no chaos would occur.
But for a Yukon Quest race to start and it to be a sunny day and a balmy 8 degrees we were in for a treat. Rare for us to enjoy this race and not be shivering at -20 or so on the river's ice. But after a few hours we packed up and headed home. The mushers and their teams are in route right now. It is a hard race but fun to see how each team does.
Naomi's chilly little post bath body has caused Josh to put Abigail's bathrobe onto Naomi more and more. After witnessing this Abigail declared, Mama I just need a new robe. In this case making a bigger one for Abigail seemed more practical then making a smaller one for Naomi that would be grown out of sooner. So a new robe was put on my to do list. Lucky for us some fleece fabric in my stash from Grammie fit the bill for what she wanted. A new robe was made and my girl is pleased, and warm too.
Two years ago I made Josh and the kids winter hats. Last winter Abigail out grew hers and was made a purple one. Her flowered one has since been passed to Naomi who wears it well. But this winter we found Ethan's head had grown and he was in need of a new hat as well. With no "boy" fleece in my stash I have put this project off for long enough.
Lucky for me I found a piece of vintage star wars fleece just the size I needed in the remnant bin at Joanns. Ethan has no idea what star wars is and so when I tried to show him how cool his new hat was he wasn't too impressed. But it does fit better and someday he will know about Luke, chewbacca, and the millennium falcon. Someday he will realize just how cool he was by what his mom made for him. Someday I will be cool, right?
This whole potty training process has been hard on the big kids. Staying home, mama and daddy having to watch Naomi closely, staying in just the kitchen - for days, and watching Naomi get a reward for each success (luckily she didn't need these past day seven but those seven days of watching hersey kisses be given out were hard indeed).
But it is fun to watch the kids embrace Naomi and her success as well. It is quite a family event when the little potty is filled. Big cheers, hugs, kisses (the real kind) and the exclamation - our little sister is growing up. But when Naomi can be bothersome to Abigail she can be heard saying, "Little sisters will be little sisters." as she puts her crayons higher, as she tries to get her barbie back or as her tower of blocks is knocked over.
But really, our past days of being home a lot has lead to more and more play like this. Ethan is the daddy, Abigail the mommy and Naomi is the baby (surprise there). As I encourage Naomi to grow up Abigail and Ethan are embracing her desire to be pampered and babied just about all the time.
Oh these sibling interactions are interesting for sure. But the end of the day they do love each other, play well and for today that helps cover the mother burden of the squabbles I carry from the days together.
The other day we noticed a hole in the toe of Ethan's robeez. What a sad day. Those robeez are worn every single moment we are home. I couldn't believe we needed to buy yet another pair. Josh wondered if I could fix it. That gave me pause. Lucky for me I remembered a piece of deer skin leather I had in my fabric stash.
What a fun morning it was to present Ethan with his freshly replaced sole to his robeez and the new life those little pair of house slippers could live.
At the same time of this robeez repair I had a pair of footed pj's sitting in my sewing area. This pair of hand me down pj's looked brand new and Ethan was so very excited that they were covered in dogs. But sadly when he put them on we realized that the toes had been cut open on what might have been the other owner's first and only wear.
But I was inspired and Ethan was so eager to have those new jammies. I took off the old bottoms and stitched new feet onto those doggy pj's.
And you know what, Ethan loves them. Ethan really doesn't respond well when I make him something. He just doesn't receive gifts well at all be a picture from Abigail or a new shirt. But since he asked for new feet, since he saw his pj's sitting on my shelf, since he begged - the presentation of these fixed pj's was a huge success. He has worn them pretty much every night since. What a fun mending project for sure!
And how do I keep the kids happy when I am sewing you might ask? Well, I have to admit it takes a very large barrel of tricks. I can tell you that my kids look at my sewing area as a wonder of things they really shouldn't get into but just wish they could. Abigail rearranges my pins into rainbow colors for me. Naomi sits on my lap while I sew and begs to press the buttons on my machine. And it does help that I keep jars of buttons, ribbons, beads and more tucked on the shelf. When the project is almost done and the kids are ready for their mama back those jars will often give me the last 20 minutes I need to finish the stitch, the cut, and the fitting of that current project. Days in the sewing area are always good for this mama indeed. Time to create, yes that sounds lovely indeed. New feet for Ethan today and more coming tomorrow.
Last August I registered Abigail up for Awana. At that initial day I stood looking at the blank snack sheet and had no idea what the year was going to be like. But when I picked a random Tuesday in January I really believed it would be a good time. Nothing much happens in January, right? Well, fast forward five months and Ethan and I were packing our bags to go to Anchorage for surgery. Right when Abigail needed a snack for Awana.
Now snack for Awana might mostly be a mom/dad thing but in our house Abigail was deeply invested in the entire process. She wanted, no, NEEDED to make something for snack. No packaged cheese sticks would work. So I looked around at what I had and declared chocolate dipped vanilla wafers rolled in sprinkles just might do the trick.
But this was going to be left up to dad and Abigail. Mama was out of town.
They did great. Josh was amazing, he melted the chocolate but let Abigail do the dipping. They made a ton, bagged them up, presented them in a pretty basket and Abigail was very proud. What a success. No mama help was needed at all.
Josh and I love to play games. The kids love to play games. Finding a game that works for a five year old down to a one year old is hard to do. So much so that I find myself putting off games. I hate the thought that Abigail and Ethan miss out on games because of Naomi but it is a hard place to be in. It will be better in a year, or two. But finding something that works now is the best plan.
Lucky for us we have stumbled upon picture bingo. Naomi loves finding the pictures on her cards and it is a challenging enough game that the big kids love it too. Who would have thought we could find the right game for all three. Family win for sure!
Last week our hot water heater developed a crack. This small break lead to a week of unexpected events. Josh worked wonders but we did go a day without water and then three days with just cold water as we waited for everything to come back together. The kids didn't really mind. No baths and boiling water to wash dishes didn't make their days unpleasant at all.
In fact they were able to enjoy the benefits of a large house purchase, a new box. Ethan, our resident destroyer, was all set on tearing the box apart as his activity once it arrived. Luckily daddy made it into something fun and thus motivated Ethan to play with it, as the girls wanted, instead of just crushing it.
What Josh made was a submarine, what the kids imagined was a pirate ship. Ethan loves when his alternate personality as Captain Jake can come out to play.
And Abigail found a beautiful dress and fancy earring to wear because, to her, looking the part of a rugged female scallywag is the most crucial part of pirate play.