Wednesday, April 29, 2009
I know, like I need something else to do, right? May I introduce you to Lena Blackberry. (Lena as in Ole and Lena. Silje came up with the Blackberry part.) She's 16 weeks old, and half black lab, half German Shepherd. She was part of her mother's first and only litter. Her mother's owners kept 2 of their favorite of the litter of 8, intending to make them their pets as well. But as life has it, they decided they weren't a 3 dog home after about 2 months, and the 2 puppies had to go. The add in Craigslist was posted yesterday, and when we arrived last night, Lena's sister had already been taken.
She was excited to meet us, but she cried (whined) the whole way home. I think she was really nervous. So far, we noticed she's excited to meet people, but overall she's an extremely calm dog. She loves being with us. She "cries" when she's alone. I can already tell that she learns extremely quickly. Although I'm a little jealous, because I think she's a little in love with Knut. Although he already complains about her, he loves the fact that the kids have to keep their toys picked up now. That, and you can see his eyes melt when he looks at her.
Well, if you live in chaos, what's a little more, eh?
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
But now to the important stuff...
I just realized I haven't posted pictures of my kids in almost 2 weeks! So first thing this morning, I pulled out the canon and started shooting.
I guess the older kids just weren't that into it.
Monday, April 27, 2009
I did not have lengthy phone conversations with my mom, my sister, and my friend Sara this morning while I let my kids watch as much t.v. as they want. That would be selfish and irresponsible.
I did not give my kids jellybeans and chocolate chips for snack today, and when David spilled his "snack" all over the floor, I did not just tell him to eat them right off the floor. That would be gross.
I did not jump up to do some chores as I saw my husband's truck pull in the garage for lunch. I wasn't at all sick of the fact that he never seems to come home as I just sit down and therefore wonders what I do with all my time. Nope, not me!
I have not left my baby in his pajamas all day so I'll have less clothes to wash later, and we're not going to see anyone anyway. I would never do that! Of course I tried to distinguish Silje and David's clean socks and did not just give up, and shove whatever socks in each of their dressers.
David did not go most of the morning before I realized he still had his nighttime diaper on, and when I realized that, of course I had him change right away.
It is not almost supper time and of course I know what we are having and I am not wasting my time on the blog. That would not be me.
Happy "Not Me!" Monday!
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Well, I won't update you on every single closet in my house, because that's just silly. But I have continued the spring cleaning and have finished David's closet as well, and today I cleaned out my sewing room (that happens to have a washer and dryer in it. I just think having a sewing room is much cooler than having a laundry room.) It wasn't on the spring cleaning list, but mostly because it needs to get cleaned out much more often than the spring. It's been a good 3 months since the last time I reorganized, and in my sewing world, that's a long time. Don't mind the pile of things to the left of the sewing machine. I'm making some roman shades for my aunt, and the fabric has no where to go. I think that means it's time to get them done and move them out.
I've also stored some of my leftover Mary Kay inventory in the cupboards, but as I have sold of or used so much in the last year, I got to clear out more cupboard space for more efficient storage for FABRIC! So, I'm opening up to the world, something that I've never really shown anyone before...my fabric stash.
I organized the stash to fit different categories. To the right is the flannel and some odds and ends fabric, like suede for the headboard Knut is planning on making me, and some canvas for a bag I intend to make. Flannel is useful for diaper making, or p.j.s for the kids, or baby blankets, and a bunch of other baby things. To the left is my growing stash of quilting fabric. I'm really getting drawn in to it, in a scary way. It started when I wanted to do a "grandmother's flower garden" quilt for Silje, which has been progressing nicely. When it gets closer to done, I'll post a pic. Now I have scraps from that and other projects, and have started scrap quilting. I am currently (when I feel like it) organizing my scraps for an "irish chain" quilt and a "hidden spools" quilt. An the top is my hodgepodge of things like pattern tracing fabric, netting, interfacing, courderoy, leftover dress fabrics that do not fit the "quilting" category.
This is my newly aquired cupboard and the top right is my diaper specialty fabric. I have some wool, some hemp terry, some microfiber, some PUL (for making those "plastic" covers) and some cotten terry. On the left is my knits (mostly from the $1 fabric bin at walmart...now the $1.50 bin.) And then the bottom is the "fun" knits. Some velour, some minky, etc. Mostly leftover from other projects, like Silje's bathrobe and Elias' polka dot baby blanket. O, and also my Kleenex and paper towel storage. Now isn't this exciting?
So after those roman shades, what's next on the project list? Well, I have a lot of things I should do, but today I've come up with my wish list of things I'd like to make. Maybe after every "have to" job I'll make myself a little treat. Here's my "treat" list:
--A fabric covered bulletin board
--A wrist pin cushion
--Recover my sewing chair
--Make fabric cases for my knitting needles and crochet hooks.
--An apron that will hold clothespins for when I hang laundry on the line this summer.
And since my little baby has spit up all over my lap as I was attempting to write all this and hold him at the same time...I must go.
Friday, April 24, 2009
Let’s talk about sex. Wow, I actually wrote that! I can’t believe you’re still reading this! Buckle your seatbelts, this is going to be a long one. I want to write about something today that has been on my mind for quite some time, and I just want to share. How do you feel about natural family planning (NFP)? I am shocked with the vastness in differences of opinion within the protestant community about this. Most Christian couples I know have no idea what it is, and they really don’t want to know, because they already have an idea about what it is. It’s complicated. It doesn’t work. It’s for people who want large families. Maybe even it’s irresponsible.
First, let me tell you what it is and what it isn’t. (At least in my mind!) It isn’t the rhythm method. It isn’t where you count a certain number of days and not have sex for 2 days, and then continue on. That’s just stupid. MOST women have irregular cycles, and cycles can be effected by things like diet, exercise, stress, and even by being around a different crowd of women. (Did you know that odd fact that when women live together, like in a college dormitory, their cycles soon become in sync with each other?)
NFP comes in 2 basic forms or the combination of the 2. First, by detecting ovulation by taking your temp every morning. Your temperature will spike when you’re ovulating. Second, by keeping tabs on cervical mucus. (I just lost all guys reading this. Wimps.) It changes when you’re ovulating. To be most effective, you keep tabs on both.
Now when someone first described NFP to me, I was envisioning charts and graphs and a lot of work. I knew it would be something I would screw up, miss a beat, or something like that. I was also opposed the idea of restricting sex with married people. Isn’t time of ovulation when the wife wants to have sex, and that’s when you can’t? How unfair. Well, it would be way too much information to share any more on that, but let me just tell you, God changed my mind drastically about those two specific preconceptions. Why do I always forget that when we walk in God’s path, he always blesses us? Why do we always jump to conclusions that God is holding back happiness from us? That we have a right to something and if we follow God’s way, we might miss out. O yes, that lie is given to us in several different forms.
Which brings me to my next point: the philosophy behind NFP. Many people say families who use NFP are HUGE! Therefore it must not work. Well, let’s just say that the frame of mind of people who use NFP is so different, because we live in a culture where we must control everything. You decide how many children you want to have, how far apart you want them to be. You make a plan and stick to it. NFP isn’t the lack of making a plan, it’s surrendering your plan to God. In a class I once took on this, the instructors encouraged each couple to seek out the Lord each month, as to whether He would desire them to try to conceive a child that month. It’s seeking the Lord out on a consistent basis as to what he would like you as a family to be, instead of saying “I want my family to be like this, and since God wants what I want, that’s what we’ll do.” Sometimes we as human are so dumb.
I haven’t counted before, but I should sometime, how many times God tells us in his word that children are a blessing. But, that’s not what our culture says. I had a friend who was approached when she was about 6 months pregnant by 2 women at a mall, who told her she was responsible for overpopulating the earth. There were children who needed homes and she was selfish enough to have more than her share of children. Imagine the carbon footprint her family had. What a menace to society. Needless to say, this friend of mine was very upset.
Society tells us that we should have children when we want them, and only if we can provide everything they could ever desire. If it’s not the right time in your life, or not your plan, just have an abortion. (I once had one of my providers suggest I have an abortion because the pregnancy was unplanned. It was when I was pregnant with Silje.) “Take control of your life” is the American theme, but it’s not the Christian life theme. “Give up your life to God” should be our chant.
I’m not saying we should be stupid. No where in the Bible have I found the command to be stupid. There, I believe, are valid reasons to prevent pregnancy. I’m not the judge of good reasons. I think that something that is between a man, his wife and God. Things that come to mind are there’s a special needs child in a family that needs a lot of care, and lots of children would hinder that care. Another one might be that the health of the mother might be at risk in having more children. (Since my Grandma Whalon died because she had too many children, and refused to prevent any pregnancy in spite of several warnings from doctors, I know this one well. She should not have had more than 2 children, but she died when she was pregnant with her 9th or something like that. Still, I can’t completely condemn her decision. My dad was #4.)
There are probably reasons less dramatic than that, though. Maybe as parents, you’re just flat out tired, or even both man and wife are completely at peace with the decision not to have any more children. I’m not the judge as to what makes a good reason to prevent a pregnancy, but I know there are reasons.
OK, this next part is where I’m going to have to edit a bunch, but it’s so important that I have to go with it a little bit. I’m so passionate about it, that I hope I don’t go too much on and on and on. If God wants us to have children, but we know we shouldn’t be stupid and use what technology we have, why NFP and not something else like the pill? My basic answer is because I believe that the Bible teaches that life begins at conception. If you take the pill, you pretty much have to acknowledge that life begins at implantation in order for it to be OK (like most of the medical community). It’s not that hard of a stretch. Embryos don’t implant quite often. That’s why when you have IVF or something they usually implant a few embryos because some of them won’t “take.” There’s no way to know how many “viable” embryos do not take because of the pill apart from the embryos that would naturally not implant. But we do know some things.
From my research, the pill basically has a plan A, plan B and plan C to keep you from getting pregnant. Plan A and B I honestly have no scruples with. I hate taking hormones, but I know that everyone is not me. Basically, plan A is to stop the woman from releasing an egg. Pretty simple. If there are no eggs, there can’t be any embryos. Plan B is to increase the “mucus” inside a woman that would normally lead the sperm (ok boys, stop laughing) to the egg so much so that it “misleads” the sperm so it looses its way to the egg. If both those avenues fail, and the egg is released and the sperm finds its way, plan C comes into effect. The uterine wall is changed to prevent the implantation of an embryo.
So the next question might be, how often does that happen? I would normally say “Shame on you” for thinking it’s okay to risk a chemical abortion as long as it’s not that often, but honestly, that was my first thought too. Well let me refer you to someone who has done much more research than myself, pastor Randy Alcorn. Here’s a link to a condensed version of his book on this topic http://www.epm.org/artman2/publish/prolife_birth_control_pill/A_Short_Condensation_of_Does_The_Birth_Control_Pill_Cause_Abortions.shtml
And for those who have lots of questions, here’s a page with a ton of solid Christian and medical information, including his book in parts:
Some non-Christian doctors believe that plan C comes into effect maybe as high as 10% of the time, but that’s just a guess. That’s 1 in ten months…a little over once a year. But if it only happened once in a marriage…would that make it OK?
The Catholic church has taken a firm stance on this, but after the 60s, the protestant church finds it OK. Part of it was we didn’t know that much about it, but I honestly wonder if we were just trying to “get with the times.” At any rate I think this is something the church needs to open its eyes to.
I don’t mean to condemn anyone who takes the pill…merely expose you to the evidence. I myself took the pill for years. Most of my friends and family take the pill. I had two lovely, beautiful children while religiously taking the pill. Apparently, plan A-C fails quite often with me. It was only after we accepted NFP in our marriage, at our doctor’s recommendation, that we were able to postpone pregnancy for a few years until we were ready for our newest little blessing.
I’m trying to play with some ideas as to how to let other Christian couples know about NFP because it is just so cool. I know of several couples in my circle who use this. If you have any ideas of how we can spread the word (because SO MANY Christian couples do not even consider this), or if you have more questions, let me know and I’ll try to find you the answers.
OK, deep breath, I’m now going to press the “post” button.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Well last night we finally got a chance to go through some of the boxes that were in Silje's closet. When I thought we were going to go through them, Knut came home and offered to take the kids to his parents (Elias too!) and take me to Mable Murphy's for supper. Sometimes it's tough to honor your husband when he just comes home and changes your plans, but that was not one of those times.
Knut had more fun going through the boxes, though, than he thought he would. It was getting past 11pm and I told him we better wrap things up, and he looked disappointed.
It's tough going through your memories, and deciding what stays and what goes. Knut decided to set aside some of his old things for David and Elias in a few years, like his how to draw robots book and 15 ways to make a paper airplane. David also got his old wallet, his old Randy Moss Vikings football jersey and otter football pillow too. Some blank books made it into the kids' craft drawer, which I'm sure they'll be thrilled about when they find out.
But as always, when you go through boxes like this, you always wonder "why did I keep this????" We found so much in his boxes like ribbons...lots and lots of ribbons from 4H, county fairs, state fairs, cross country ski races, field days at school...also metals and trophies. I even saw a ribbon with his picture on it with "Good Listener Award" given to him by whatever teacher he had in 87-88 school year. It was so precious I wanted to take a picture of it for the blog, but Knut said I was being silly.
But I did swipe a picture of one of his books that he wrote in his childhood days. Wow, he wrote a lot of books. The one pictured is called "The Life of Knut Corn" and it's about a nice corn stalk who grows big and strong until the evil farmer comes to cut it down.
He had about 100 "book it" pins along with some other pretty cool ones that his mom gave him from the 60s. There was his first Bible, and lots of pictures. There were ton of senior pictures left over. I told him I wanted to turn them into a deck of cards, which he thought was funny. There were pictures of band trips, choir tours. He kept saying "look at Sam [Hintz] in this one! He looks so funny! There's Chad [Walkup] in Washington D.C. and here's Doug [Rogness] on choir tour. Of course...he's helping the bus driver change a tire." Then there were pictures when he was out in Bible Camp in Montana. He told me in one of them he was dressed up like a farmer. (He had to tell me this, you see, because I couldn't tell.)
Yes, all those boys looked pretty funny. I was surprised to see pictures of Knut when I first met him. Wow...he looked really nerdy. Then I saw pictures of me when he met me. Even nerdier. Nerdy must have been "in." Either that or we were really meant for each other!
So what was thrown you ask? I know you're all dying to know, so I made a list of things Knut decided we could throw:
old calculous homework
acceptance letters to colleges he didn't go to
his first ATM card (with his name spelled wrong of course)
high school graduation cards (I know all of you who gave him one are disappointed)
MN driver's manuel from when he got his license
2001 map of Phoenix (when he stayed down there one summer to meet my whole family)
rubber bands for his old braces
a stack of 200 minute pre-paid phone cards from his first year of college (you know...when he was in the wilderness of Montana and I was in Chicago, and we had to just call and write. Yeah, those 7 cards meant a lot to us!)
The rest of it got organized and stored in the garage, and Knut even said that was kinda fun.
And, to those of you who just read all of that...you'll be rewarded with infomation as to what the kids are doing. Well, Elias is starting to teethe now. He's being kinda fussy (for him. His fussy is like what David was like as a happy baby.) Silje has been "copying" her books lately. She insists on practicing her letters, and will take a pile of computer paper, and a pile of books, and spend hours copying every word from the book onto paper. I tell you, this girl is ready for school! And David? Well, I don't know what to say since the poop story. I am letting his hair grow out a little, to see if I like it without the buzz cut he normally has. I'll have to post pictures later. It's not long like a girl, or anything. Just a bit more trendy I guess. So that's the kids. Hope you enjoyed it.
Friday, April 17, 2009
"Look" he told Knut as he pointed at his straining neck. "When my neck looks like this, that means the poopy is almost out!" Knut was laughing at this comment, and I told him that since I was already upstairs I would finish up with David, so Knut could go back and finish the news.
I watched the second hand move about 5 times around the clock above the toilet and David is still sitting there. Then I got the idea that maybe I could get David's obsession with race cars and all things fast to move him along.
"David, is your poopy fast poopy?" I asked him, using the same tone he uses when describing a race.
"No," David said sadly. "This is a slow poopy." Then with a tired glaze in his eyes, he looked at his finger, as if it were poop coming out. "When it's fast poopy, I call it RACING POOPY!" And then he raced the "poopy" (his finger) all around his head as if were a plane or car as he waited on the toilet.
Yes, I do have a little boy who could be described as "all boy."
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Gretchen's Spring Cleaning List:
Wash all windows inside and out
Vacuum/Mop under furniture
Wash carpets if necessary
Wipe down cupboards and vacuum above
Oil kitchen cupboards
Defrost freezers and inventory
Clean all light fixtures and fans
Empty all closets, wipe down and reorganize
--back entry closet
--front entry closet
--back hall closet
--upstairs hall closet
--upstairs bath closet
--downstairs bath cupboards
--boys' room closet
--Silje's room closet
--master's room closet
Wipe down all crayon/fingerprints from walls
Reorganize and clean back hallway dresser
Clean/dry clean/mend/organize winter outdoor clothes for storage
Wheew! So I have my work cut out for me. Let's just say it won't all get done in a day. I'm hoping that most of it will get done before summer. I list all the different parts like closets and freezers, just so I can cross of things when they get done, as I get way too much joy from it. I know many of you are like "EEEwwww! You only do that once a year!" and others of you are going "Wow, I didn't know you should do that every year. Hmmm." I'm hoping the windows will get washed more than once, and some other things should get done more often. But hey, it doesn't get done in my house if it's not on a list.
So today to kick off cleaning, I cleaned out Silje's closet. I never work in order on my lists. Usually, it starts in a room where the kids are happy and playing, and no one is sleeping in. Silje's room presented more work than normal, I hope, this year, since during that move, things that were left for us were put on shelves in her closet. I should have muzzled Knut, as Lars was going through his room and asking "Hey, Knut, you want this?" and Knut kept saying "Sure, just leave it in Silje's closet." An entire side of her closet was taken up by boxes full of Knut's childhood memoribilia, and alas,I think it needs to be stored somewhere else now.
So here's her closet, all nice and clean:
I took out all her clothes that don't fit anymore, and put away the 1000 plastic hangers that were crowding. (I really should have taken a before shot)
The boxes on top are my old dollhouse that my dad gave to Heidi and I when we were little, but it was never put together. Heidi saved up and bought a box of furniture as well. We collected wallpaper scraps and other decorations, and they are all there as well. Heidi said I could have it (Yeah!) And I hope one of these Christmas' Silje will get an all put together dollhouse from her daddy.
Look, there was an empty shelf! We have room to grow!
And of course, plastic bags with her old clothes organized by size.
And for those who love to compare, if my sister would have done this closet, she would have organized the clothes by the colors of the rainbow, and put a typed inventory of what was inside each container. (I say this because we used to share a room...I know.)
And here is just a bit of the things that Knut and I will go through tonight that don't belong in Silje's closet. There is more than just this. There were some random twin sheets (that Linda left because they left their twin beds for us too) some old curtains that I don't know which window they go to or if I like them. I haven't looked at them all yet. In Knut's boxes, I was just purusing the top, but found a model car that was unfinished, an old otter football shaped pillow, a cassette tape recording of the 1999 Hillcrest vs. Verndale playoff game (historic game really, for those who were there. That was the one played in the mud.) Old confirmation books, football pictures, leftover senior pictures, old high school folders, complete with notes. I actually think it will be fun going through this stuff with Knut and going down memory lane.
Sorry for such a boring post, but it makes spring cleaning more fun for me if I get to post it!
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
At first glance, you may think, why is she showing me a picture of Silje's messy room? Well, this is what I found when I went to go wake Silje up from her nap. She was not in her bed. She was not under her bed. She was not in the closet. After giving up looking, I started calling out her name.
And out popped her head. She was fast asleep, and it actually took her a minute to wake up, so I had a chance to grab my camera.
My hat goes off to my father in law, Richard, who put up that very sturdy shelf with pegs for his daughter when they lived in this house. And also to Sally Swendsrud, who crocheted that beautiful baby blanket for Silje when she is born that she has now turned into a hammock. Thank you for making this moment possible. Isn't Silje so creative? I could go on and on.
Maybe this is where she got the idea. Parden the tired mommy with no make up, and just focus on the adorable baby. Here's the ring sling I made awhile back. Elias just LOVES being in it as often as I let him.
He likes to listen to secrets.
Here's Silje holding Elias. They're both having fun.
David holding Elias. David plays with Elias over a big chunk of time every day. He likes to talk to Elias about race cars, and how they go FAST!
And when Daddy gets home, he loves to play with Elias' cheeks.
Elias' new favorite thing besides sticking his tongue out all the time is stuffed animals, which are available in abundance in our house.
and his new rattle. Such a spoiled little baby.
Friday, April 10, 2009
That's right, we have an outbreak of Restless Farmer Syndrome. It happens every spring, when all the jobs that needed to get done in the winter are all of a sudden put into hyperdrive. And it's a good thing there are jobs to do, because if there weren't they'd make some up. The field is calling, and it's tugging at them. So much work is so close, and their legs are restless.
There is no cure for this, but there are some mild treatments. Although I do expect some of the symptoms to increase daily. Some good outdoor projects always help...any time outside is good. This will continue on until mid summer, when rest is possible by a lake. But it is merely temperary, as the restlessness is never completely gone, and comes back in full force again in the fall. And then the longest period of rest may be obtained after a blanket of snow is on the fields. That sight is, as I once heard Knut's Uncle Rolf put it: "like tucking a rowdy child into bed" or something like that.
Last night Elias started getting on a roll laughing. I tried to get Knut to come and get a video of him laughing so hard, but he had to be pulled away from reading to the kids, and therefore the kids were let loose to make noise in the background, and it took awhile to get him laughing again after all the distraction. He's still laughing pretty good here, but nothing like what it was just 5 minutes earlier. This kid is so stinkin' happy all the time! Why did we get so blessed?
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Finally rolling over! Now whenever I put him on his tummy, he just tips over. He's done it over and over again for the first time this afternoon...I think he likes it!
I also thought this was cute. Before naps, this was what the kids were busy doing...putting their dolls and horses and cars to sleep in their slipper beds.
that's right... cars.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Now I suppose since I'm not going through all of our belongings and cleaning the house from top to bottom in a move, I'll have to start a new tradition of "Spring Cleaning." I think we can do it. We've basically done that every year...we just called it "moving."
Saturday, April 4, 2009
With spring in the air, we have zinnias on our porch...waiting for some good weather.
Although this is what it looked like earlier this week, about a few feet from the seedlings. Here's a view of our screen/glass door and the huge snow drift outside.
And here's my lovely hubby shoveling snow...again.
But wait a minute, don't we have some machinery around here who can do that faster?
You bet! This is a snow blower...farm style.
And here's a picture of Silje making a snow angel on the front porch. Sorry for the screen shot.
David was too busy for the camera, but Silje was more than willing to smile for it.
And here's our REALLY smiley guy. I'm serious when I say he is all out smiling 95% of the time that he's awake. He's also starting to stick out his tongue all the time. He thinks it's funny.
And here's my big boys, helping me out with another project. I'm going to write a verse in calligraphy on the wall by our back entry, and was trying to figure out how pencil in some really straight lines, and Knut comes to the rescue again. And where you look for Knut and his tools, you will find David. They are never far apart. I'll have to remember to post this project when my part is done.