November 27, 2015

Cold Winter Play

The other day a friend asked what I do with the kids on cold days.  One easy response was, bring the snow inside.
We have posted about this before and love doing this.  I thought I would repost here at the beginning of winter to help remind other winter living families about what a fun thing this can be.
A ton of time playing in the snow and all I have to do is change gloves when they get wet.  But only when the kids want to wear them.  Another win for something fun on those cold / dark days of winter.

November 26, 2015

An Attitude of Gratitude

Happy Thanksgiving Today.

Our family has been working on having a stronger attitude of gratitude this year.  Each morning during our devotion we write down what we are thankful for.  I try so hard not to dictate what the kids say and only ask for something different if it has been the same thing over and over again.  And after the kids say what they are thankful for it is my turn.  I have never ever been one to find it hard to give thanks but each day I try to grab something meaningful to that day.  I have been surprised to find how hard that can sometimes be.  Not being the once a year list of things I usually mention, but each and every day.  And for that I am thankful!  That need to see life as the gift from God that it is each day of the year not just today.  

But even as I say that I am in a warm and dry home, surrounded by family, eating good food, laughing, enjoying, resting and being able to work.  For all these things I am extremely grateful indeed.

November 25, 2015

A Gift

When the kids and I were in Texas Josh gave me a huge gift.  He stood for hours scrubbing and then chopping al of our garden carrots.  
When I got home all I had to do was blanche the batch and pack them into the freezer for future use.  How thankful I was!  2015 garden season, harvest work and preservation DONE.  

November 24, 2015

Thanks Again To The Library

We love our library.  Correction, we love all libraries, but ours is super special of course.  Well, last week another amazing gem came out of a visit.  As we were heading out of the children's room Abigail spotted a disney princess cookbook.
Well, let me tell you the fun is still going strong.  Not only do we read the cookbook all the time and dream of all the things we can make but we are also busy in the kitchen.  This picture is from when we made Rapunzel's braided cheese and ham biscuits.  Ethan we learned needs a little help on the braiding since smashing the three pieces together was his thing.  But they still cooked fine and nothing tastes better to a child then food they cooked themselves.   Next on the list I think is Aurora's strawberry jam.  Who knew these princesses were such good cooks, or their friends (we did enjoy Cinderella's mouse friend Gus' mac n' cheese the other night too).  Another score for the library!  But I am hoping they are ok if the pages get a little bit of flour on them, now that is a dilemma for sure.  

November 23, 2015

Our Ballerina

This fall Abigail took her first ballet class.
 After dancing around the house, reading every ballerina book the library has and talking about it since she was two...
 she has thrived in her class.
 Fridays have become her favorite day of the week.
 There isn't as much spinning in ballet right now as she hoped for but she is learning each of the little moves.
 I love this picture because it shows you just what watching a class of 20 3-5 year old is like.  So cute.  I love her little face.
Last friday was parent's day.  We got to sit in the studio, take pictures, see her show off a little and she was so proud.
And Ethan and Naomi can successfully say that they have also succeeded in being the supportive brother and sister all semester too.  All in all it was a great semester, Abigail is already talking about the next class in 2016 and I am thankful for a break.  Watching our kids have so much fun at things they love are great indeed.

November 20, 2015

They Tickle My Toes And Make Me Happy

Can the days be more fun?  This is my last post on our trip to Texas.  A lot of things happened, a lot of time with family was spent.  It was full of fun times and simple days.   When the kids were antsy at home we would head out with the stroller, bikes and by foot to explore.
  One of the favorite spots was an area of big ponds filled with fish.  The kids would feed the fish, and themselves, whatever we could grab as we headed out the door.  Cheerios, crackers and such.  The kids weren't too picky and the fish loved it all.  But more then the snacks, the kids loved daring themselves to have the courage to put their toes in the water to see if the little fish would come nibble on their toes.
 And where my parents are there is a lot of economic growth right now.  So with that has come a big building boom.  Watching heavy machinery is fun for all ages.
 And lucky for us we visited over two different Tuesdays.  Thus we had the chance to go visit my mother's book mobile two separate times.  The kids and I love books and a library so one on wheels that comes to where you can walk to it was perfect.  And yes, we are able to read all the books we can fit in a stroller in just one afternoon.  Book mobiles are great but I do think the kids would have been happy if it came even more often.  
And playgrounds.  My oh my what a wonderful time we had at so many different ones.  The Texan kids were in school and so for the most part we had all of the sites to ourselves.  Yesterday it was so cold here at home.  We didn't go out all day, I hung up my insulated curtains as the woodstove struggled to keep the house warm.  We spent most of our day in the basement where the stove is and so we could be warmer but by the end of the day you feel like you have been in a dugout.  MORE SUNLIGHT NEEDED.  That is winter.  We are used to it.  But looking back at these pictures this week has been so good for me too.  How is it just over a week ago we were in such a different world?  Travel is so fast, so abrupt, but so wonderful too.  For now winter is before us.  Another day in the Texan sun will come again in the future.  That promise makes today just that much better for now.

November 19, 2015

Happy At Home In The Backyard Fun

 Texas is a big place to explore  but when we visit we often find that Grandma's backyard is the best place to be.
Running in and out of the house to the swing and to feed the deer that wander through,
playing forever in the small fountain off the patio (my parents probably had to add gallons of water after we left due to the great joy it was for my kids to empty as much water as they could),
Saying hello to the birds, deer, squirrels, and butterflies that filled the yard, 
and of course taking time to lounge and relax as the days went by.
And if the occasion ever did occur when the backyard lost a little bit of its luster, there was always the front yard to explore.  A sidewalk curb is perfect for driving cars 
and a paved driveway is perfect for sidewalk chalk and all the possible creations that can be made.  We were lucky that it rained a few times during our visit so that the kids were granted a clean slate to color some more.  I have heard many times since we have been back about how wonderful that driveway was.  Why oh why do we have to have snow and gravel in our driveway?  We never get to color at home like we do at grandma and popeye's house.  Oh the trials of childhood.

November 18, 2015

Two Wheels

One of our favorite things about visiting the south during the winter is the sun.  That and the lack of snow.  Makes being outside so very fun.  And with being out in warm air, on safe roads, sidewalks, and lots of space comes outdoor activities.  
 Usually I pack Abigail's scooter but this year she chose for me to just bring her training wheels and she would borrow my mother's neighbor's granddaughter's bike (is that too confusing?).  Well, come to find out our training wheels were too short as the bike was big.  But try and try and try we did and before we knew it Abigail was biking without those training wheels.  She isn't super confident but she can do it and what fun it was to be there right beside her as she reached this big milestone. 
And this little guy, who likes to call himself the zooming boy, loves that his bike is small enough to be packed up in a suitcase and taken everywhere.  There was not a single day of our trip that this boy didn't hop on this bike and we would take off.  No he doesn't have pedals, this is a balance bike, but boy is he fast.  Learning confidence in going fast is such a hard skill to teach when there aren't too many opportunities to be out practicing.  How thankful I am for those days of warmth, pavement ahead of us, and two wheels below.  

November 17, 2015

The Reason

When asked why we travel to Texas the answer is quite simple.  Family.
 While we live in the far north quite a lot of my family lives in central Texas.  We have my parents
 But also my grandma, my brother and his family.  
And to add icing to the top, my aunt flew down from New York to visit with us as well.
Yes, we certainly did a lot on our vacation but spending time with family we love was the #1 reason to be there each an every day. 

November 16, 2015

Christmas Fever

This past weekend hasn't had me so much feeling the Christmas spirit as much as the Christmas fever.  That overwhelming wash of panic that sends heat all over and chills up my spine.  Those motivating emotions that should make me get things done but really makes me just want to crawl into bed.

Lucky for me Josh stepped in with spending time with the kids and I moved myself into making, crafting, organizing, creating and slowly checking things off the list mode.  I love Christmas but leaving for Texas the 30th of October really messed with my being prepared to mail Christmas packages mode that I usually have under control.  Coming back mid November and then getting ready to travel once again for Thanksgiving has left me a small window.  

And then seeing mom run around doing "christmas" things has the kids all confused because if I am getting ready for this or that where are their gifts?  Oh children, your's don't need to be carried by USPS.  I have plenty of time for your gifts.  At least that is what I tell myself now.  

But on this side of a very busy weekend I am feeling better and more put into order.  And where there might be a lot of projects still to be worked on I can say that the suitcases have all been unpacked.  That counts for something right?  

November 13, 2015

Fun In The Sun

And just like that our big vacation to the land of the sun, family and fun has come to an end.
 What a wonderful trip we had.  I was asked several times yesterday how it felt to be back home.   The answer was always the same...
It is surreal.  Air travel to Alaska is longer then some route but it is still fast.  And then add in the children and well, I don't often get time to sit on a flight and reflect on the days we have had.   
 So here I am now, back at home.  Time for thinking back has begun.  As I unpack, and once again pack away all summer dresses, shoes, hats, and toys, I remember our days.
Full of family, laughs, activities, warmth, and sun - lots of beautiful sun.
Yes, we had a good trip.  We are once again back and settling in to our routines again.  How thankful I am for the memories we all hold.

November 12, 2015

The Struggle Of Packing

Suitcases have been out in our house recently.  The kids and I are gearing up for a big trip south to visit family.  But packing for a group of four has had its challenges.

My older kids are now old enough to have strong opinions on what to bring and there has been quite the tears over this shirt, those shoes, and why oh why can I not bring my entire train set to Grandma's house.

Along with putting out those flames as I fold and sort clothes I find myself packing and repacking and repacking and repacking the suitcases.  Not because I am unsure of what to bring.  Nope it is just because each time I turn my back my little quiet one year old has found great joy in unpacking each item I have crossed off my list.
People often ask how I am feeling about the long flights ahead with the kids by myself.  All I can say is, it is going to be a miracle if we get to the airport on time at this rate.  Traveling with little people, not matter how many you have, is always an adventure for sure.  The kind that makes you want to go on vacation after your vacation!