August 16, 2017

Waving Good-Bye

Yesterday we sold our Jeep Compass.  Bitter sweet.  The first car Josh and I bought together a decade ago but, also a car that has given us so very many problems.
This car carried us for over 96,000 miles but now we have moved on.  Yeah for bigger cars that fit our family of 6.  

August 15, 2017

These Days

These are the days where I try not to notice the dirt on the floors, frantically clean a bathroom when Zachary is content, rock a baby while teaching math, clear the kitchen counter for science time, feel thankful daily for all of the "before baby" freezer cooking I did and am now using, enjoy that Zachary likes watching me fold laundry due to all the colors of the clothes, and spend most evenings processing garden goodness with lesson plans being worked on as I wait on the pressure tank to finish canning the beans.
These are tiring days, good days, sad days and happy days.  

August 14, 2017

Colors of Summer

Ahh the fun and colors of summer.  This picture was taken midweek last week when I was in the middle of preserving.  Last night once again saw two more gallon bags of cauliflower and an additional 7 quarts of green beans preserved.
Ahh the sights, smells and tastes of a successful gardening season.

August 11, 2017

Memorable Moments

Walking home from the mailbox and Abigail says to her siblings, 
"We might be dirty, messy kids but at least we have each other."

August 10, 2017

Practical Art

When we started school last week the kids noticed right away that they were in need of bookmarks to go in their phonics, math and reading books.
 When it comes to school fun projects, I am all about using what we have to make things happen.  So out came the craft basket full of odds and ends that have been leftover from other projects and items gathered overtime.
The end results were great.  The kids had a lot of fun, the books now have markers to help us know where we are at and bits and pieces of art supplies have been used.  Yeah for a win.  Mama's kind of art class - spontaneous, practical and allows for a lot of "self expression" without being too messy.  

August 9, 2017

2 Months

Just like that our newborn is 2 months old.  
How we love this little man to bits!
Taking a deep breath and hugging him close.  These days go fast!

August 8, 2017

A Little Summer Fun

Josh has worked a lot this summer.  We manage ok at home but one thing I am not up for doing solo is summer adventures.  This past weekend we were blessed by getting to have him home when we didn't expect it.  We spent the morning doing chores but by the early afternoon I was ready to take on an adventure.
 We packed up and were out the door in about 20 minutes.  Nothing like the present to enjoy a beautiful day.  We headed out to the campground/river area that we had gone to with my mother on mother's day. The kids were in the river enjoying the summer sun within minutes.  Why I didn't see that coming I don't know.  Nice that is is a pretty secluded area.
 And as the time went by I felt the responsibility and pressure from the last four weeks fall off my shoulders.
 To be a complete family.  To have another set of hands to hold the baby.  To have someone come along side me and agree life is fun.  It was so good.
And it wasn't just me.  We all needed this little break.  
Home days and simple town days are what this mama can manage.  But I do keep a few packs of hot dogs in the freezer for the times we can be spontaneous and enjoy the summer months we have.
Since we are heading into mid-August I am feeling the pressure of fall coming.  How I love that we got the chance to soak up a little bit of summer with this new baby boy while it is still here.

August 7, 2017

Why We Have Play Clothes

After a few rainy days I was super excited to send the kids out on a dry morning.  Less mud!  Well, these kids certainly know who to find what they love.  With the help of the garden hose they were making their own mud within minutes.  I love how the kids play in the summer, how they get dirty and create wonderful things.
And on the other hand how very tired I am of mud.  Mud everywhere.  What ragamuffins these three can be.  Certainly glad that they clean up well.  Today I am also thankful that the sun is out to dry another load of laundry on the line.

August 4, 2017

What Brings Joy

It has to be documented that one of the best parts of entering 1st grade is that you are now old enough to have your own pair of scissors in your pencil box.
These are the big joys in life when you are six and I never want to forget that.

August 3, 2017

Summer Business

Green bean canning and broccoli blanching were big activities this past weekend.
 Our kitchen is very well used but it is times like this that I am so very thankful it is a big kitchen.  I use every single bit of surface on big production days!
And this is how the work gets done.  A baby that doesn't want to be put down and stays up late, well he is along for the journey with me.  We do what we have to do!  A lot of work but a good feeling to see the vegetables make their way into the freezer and pantry.

August 2, 2017

Sweet Harvest

Ups and downs of growing food based on weather is that some things do better on different years.  This is a hot and sunny year.  The broccoli and beets aren't doing great but we can for sure say it is a honey year!
We have already had one spin of some of the frames to keep the hive from swarming.  This weekend the queen will be caught as the hive is into its home stretch before fall.  Thankful for the beautiful jars of sweetness.

August 1, 2017

A New School Year Begins

Yesterday started a new school year at the small Klynstra school.  (my mother recommends we name our school but we have never come up with a name we like.  Any ideas?)
This year Abigail is entering 1st grade (and says, "Now that I am a 1st grader I am going to learn so much more.") and Ethan is signed up for PreK.  Naomi loves to be along for the ride and I am sure will pick up more than I can even imagine from watching her big brother and sister.
Knowing Ethan likes to clown around I actually cleared the table out of the school room.  Sitting around a table might work well when he is older, and calmer, but for now he needs his own space.  It also is fun for them to all have their own books in their desks where only they have access too.  Creating pencil boxes for each of them was a big hit!
Naomi won this little desk from the Fairbanks Children's museum earlier this summer.  It is now put together and perfect for our little girl to join in the learning fun.  

Here is to new ideas, new lessons, new adventures and the new school year ahead.

July 31, 2017

My Littlest Love

The days are long but the years are short.  
These days, with so much going on, are tiring but moments like this make me stop and remember how precious these children are.  I love them so much.

July 28, 2017

Friday - Garden Update

The garden is growing and it is the time of year when it is fun to be a gardener!  
Fresh broccoli, peas, cucumbers, tomatoes and beans have all been picked and enjoyed this week.  Zachary has been reacting to foods and in order to figure out what foods don't work for him I have had to cut my diet back to mainly fruit, vegetables and meat.  Let me just say, if one is to eat this way summer is the time to do it!  Fresh veggies from the garden keep meals interesting.
It also is a time of year when balance and maneuvering skills are important.  The picture here shows how the beans are growing into the cauliflower.  In addition the pumpkins are growing into the zucchini and in the greenhouse the cucumbers are taking over the path as well as the walls and pretty much one has to walk on tip toes everywhere.  
But there is one little patch of ground that is open and this is where my gardening partner hangs out.  He doesn't love it but someday he will realize how lucky he is - no other kids get to be in the garden.  The "not able to walk on the plants" part of being a baby does mean you get to venture into some off limit areas.  For now Zachary just knows that he isn't in my arms, that doesn't make him happy at all. But being a garden baby will grow on him I am sure.  The season still has a good month to go.

July 27, 2017

Golden Days

Last weekend the kids and I ventured out to the big annual Golden Days Parade.  A day where we celebrate Felix Pedro who first found gold in Fairbanks and the great gold miner rush that resulted and made our town.
These outings like this are made possible by good friends that have come along side me this summer and help me along.  So thankful for my friend Annie and her daughter who enjoyed the day with us and helped me wrangle these four.  

July 26, 2017

The End Of A Season

Last night our little baseball player had his last game.
I wonder how effective t-ball for a 4 year old can be but the smile on his face, the joy in his voice and hearing him exclaim, "mama, I had the best time." 
Well, that makes me pretty happy with this first season for sure!

July 25, 2017

Art Time

Summer art time - painting rocks into animals shapes!

July 24, 2017

Summer Days

Never before have I experienced such a nice summer in Alaska.  What wonderful sunny days we have had.  Of course I type this on a rainy one but those are necessary too.  
What a lucky boy to be born on this warm summer.  Never before have any of my babies worn so many "summer" clothes before.  What a joy to not have to be bundled up all the time. 

July 21, 2017

Friday Garden Update

I have missed out on some garden updates.  I am so excited to share our progress today.  The weather continues to be just what our garden needs and things are growing, growing, growing.  
 We stay home a lot these day and one advantage of that is I am able to visit the garden, even if for 5 minutes, daily.  May and early June are big planning and preparing soil days and late July and August are harvest time.  Right now we are nearing the end of the maintenance period.  The weeding and fertilizing time where the plants are strong enough to care for themselves, but not big enough to have vegetables to harvest yet.  
 But that grace period is just about over!!  This week we have started slowly into harvesting a few things. 
 One issue that came up this week is that the sprinkler we use to water the garden is being hindered by the big leaves.  The broccoli plants stop the water on one side and the bean poles on the other.  Not only that but the water pressure caused damage to the bean leaves as it try to spray through the plants. 
 Thus the sprinkler was moved 90 degrees and placed down in the pathway between the carrots and beets.  This will now cover the garden but not damage the plants.  Fun to have this new option as in the years past the garden never had this lower area.  I have to say, I LOVE our new garden extension. Makes the garden work so much better.  Thankful for Josh who was willing to put in all the extra work this spring to make this new area work.
But as things grow the time of harvest gets closer and closer.  See those tiny green beans?
And the kitchen is ready for sure!  The freezer got its first of 2017 with our first batch of pesto and a cup and a half of shell peas that were blanched.  These hot days of summer with the sun high in the sky make me bold and confident that these vegetables tucked away will help to keep the winter blues far away.

July 19, 2017

A Summer of Balance

The other day I was outside with the kids and I snapped this picture.  Just looking at it makes me smile.  I love summer.  Especially this summer.  It is honestly the best I think Fairbanks has ever had. So much sun, warmth, outdoor play.  Just what we all need.  But when I think of 2017 I will remember it as the summer of balance.  Especially this week.
Balancing the play and fun with the kids and getting projects done before school starts.
Balancing being both mama and dad with Josh deep into field season.
Balancing four kids and giving each what they need.
Balancing days at home and busy evenings in town with Ethan's baseball season.
Balancing keeping up during the days with active kids and up at night with a baby.
Balancing the desire to do what I want to do with what I need to do.
Days find my scale tipped in the wrong way but I am certainly trying to keep that balance.  

July 18, 2017

A Party Is Ready

Abigail loves to have a party.  I am not really in the position to make her dreams come true and put one together for her this summer, so she took it upon herself.  It took a long time to put together and everything was planned out.  It was a 1/2 birthday party for Anna.
 Even though Anna was having just a 1/2 birthday she was given presents.  Each of the kids found a special rock or flower and wrapped it up in leaves to present them to her.  She was very pleased.
We started our party with soup (made of water, rocks and weeds) and biscuits.  Abigail had thought to make cake pops but sticks kept breaking her balls of mud so biscuits they became.
 Anna was also presented a cake.  This was made of sand, mud and rocks with purple flowers on top to provide the "grape crunch".  We also had a plate of cookies (rocks) and a jar of fudge (mud).
 All of this was eaten with gusto.  I loved watching the kids pretend to take each bite and then throw it off the deck.  After the party Ethan and Naomi kept commenting that their stomachs were super full, ha ha.
 It was the type of party where one could mix their cake with their soup and it was completely appropriate! 
A party where one's hair didn't have to be fixed and baby dolls were encouraged to enjoy in all of the treats provided.

It was the type of party that these summer days of home play are perfect for.  Happy 1/2 birthday Anna.  

July 13, 2017

Jumped The Gun On That One

Due to the nature of this window when we bought it years ago - it didn't have a flang around the edge.  Thus when building this part of the house the window was mounted directly to the boards of the house.  As the years have gone by the house has settled and has taken the window with it.  Thus, the window cracked this past year.  What a bummer.  So recently Josh ripped all of the siding off around the window to get the correct measurement to go purchase a replacement.  Well, what we have here is a custom order sized window.  We are not willing to pay the custom window price for the replacement.  

This fall we have some minor construction projects scheduled for the house.  Josh's dad is going to come up and help Josh get them down when the kids and I are out of town.  So instead of paying for the custom window we are going to purchase a smaller window and Josh will frame in a smaller opening this fall when all the tools are out anyway.    
But because of this change in decision we get to look at a "slightly under construction" look to our house for the next two months.  Yup, we were a little too early and too ambitious without all the information we needed on this project.

July 12, 2017

One Month

Last Saturday this little guy turned one month.  My how this summer is going by.  It feels like we have always had him and he has always been apart of us.  And yet I can't believe it has already been almost 5 weeks since he arrived.  How thankful we are for this little baby.

July 11, 2017

Days Fly By

What a good visit.  She will be missed!

July 6, 2017

My Best Friend

Zachary and his birth toy from daddy - best friends already.