Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Beginnings of a Marathon

Well, not that type of marathon. I hung up my running shoes long ago...and my knees thank me for it. But July is packed full of family and reunions and family reunions. Last weekend we went to see family out near Rochester for a wedding. (For those who want to see pictures, you can click on "chad, emily and baby oliver" link to the right to see pictures that Knut's cousin, Emily posted of some of our time together. But that's not all!

This weekend is the 4th of July, and everybody knows that the 4th is almost as big as Christmas around these parts...almost. I have 3 cousins on a road trip stopping through for the 4th this year: Jordan (21), Jonathan (17 and he might go by 'Jon' or 'Johnny' now...I'm not sure) and Jesse (15). Well, they're not actually just stopping through for the 4th, but staying the next week, until the thursday after the 4th, when we head out to Inspiration Point for a massively huge family reunion on my mom's side.

My other cousin, Joshua(17 ?), is flying in and staying with us on Tuesday. His family will follow later. Since Joshua has spent much of his life in Japan, where his mother is native to, I've barely seen him since he was 3. I'm so excited to get to know him better, and my grandma says he has a better singing voice than his dad, my Uncle Mark. I know of no singer better than my Uncle Mark so I'm interested to hear this Joshua-great-singer.

It's amazing, though, how people freeze at a certain age in your mind. I was talking to my brother, Jeremy, this morning, about Jordan and Johnny and Jesse visiting me, and his reply was "they're old enough to drive?" To which I replied "Um, yeah, Jordan is like, 21, mom says." To which Jeremy replies "Jordan is old enough to buy beer?" Well, I'm sure Jordan isn't spending all of his time buying beer, and will tell us of his recent travels through China during the Olympics, and his continued studies (and girlfriend ;) ) there. But no matter how big these younger cousins of mine get, they will still be little kids in my mind. Maybe this next week will change that.

But in the meantime, here are some interesting facts: Knut grew up close to his Ronnevik cousins, and I grew up close to my Langager cousins. We are both the 4th oldest in our cousin groups, and I haven't counted in awhile, but last I checked, we had the same number of cousins too.

Almost all of my boy cousins have names that start with "J" starting with the oldest, my brother, Jeremy, and then Joey, Jordan, Jason, Jonathan, Joshua, Joshua(yes, there are 2 of them)Jesse, Jonah, Jacob, and James, and then David. No, not my David, the cousin David, who is ironically younger than my David. Don't confuse either of them with my Grandpa David, who both these Davids were named after. Grandpa David, cousin David, and my David will all be at the reunion.

Fortunately, not all 4 of my Uncle Johns will be at the reunion. Now that would just confuse everyone. Or, maybe it would just simplify things. Knut says it's nice just calling any of my uncles "John" and being right most of the time. (Does anyone else have that scene from "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" running through their head when the Dad introduces everyone as "Nick"?)

I do have girl cousins too, but they cannot fit into this blog post. They need their own book.

My parents will arrive just before the reunion, and will stay with us the week after. After they leave, Knut and I and the kids are headed out to an all class reunion at Knut's old Bible school in Montana. It will be our first real vacation with just our family, and not just going to see someone...although I think we'll be visiting with a lot of someones that we know. It's still our family's vacation. Don't ask me where in Montana, because it's near nowhere. That's why it was called a "Wilderness School of the Bible." It's really in a wilderness. I'm so excited!

After vacation there is another family wedding, but one we won't have to travel for, and I think Knut's parents have invited us along with their other kids' families out to the lake for some time. Because really, we won't have had enough family/lake/vacation time yet. We'll need to take a break from all of that family/lake/vacationing and the best way to do that is to relax...at the lake...with some family.


Don't worry, Silje. Kindergarten, and fall, will be here before you know it.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Work, work, work

Well, I'm all for trying things new when it comes to gardening. You see, I really have no clue what I'm doing in this area, so I do a bunch of internet research, and ask people what they do, and why they do it. (If they usually respond, 'I don't know...it's how I've always done it.' my first response is wondering if it could be done better.)

Besides adding spinach to our vegetable list this year, the new thing for our garden is trying grass clippings on top of the soil, once the plants have come up.

Here's our tomato plants that Knut covered a couple weeks ago. It's supposed to help tone down the amount of bugs on your plants, as well as really help with weed control, and keeping moisture in. It also keeps the plants cleaner, which is nice when you like to eat it right in the garden like me. I have also been able to enter the garden and work in these areas after a rain without getting so dirty. It's been working so great for the tomato and strawberry patch, that we've been thinking about extending the practice to the rest of the garden.

I once saw in a Martha Stewart Living magazine that she had dried straw/grass in between every row in her vegetable garden. It looked so neat, but I thought it was a bit excessive. Then I realized...

we have excess. I mean seriously, if you're going to go to the trouble of having acreage to mow, you might as well put those grass clippings to work, you know?

So here was the row I got done today. I pulled all the weeds from the area first, and after raking a huge part of the lawn, and bringing the clippings over, I filled the whole space between the row of green beans and the row with beets, lettuce, and spinach. (Those 3 are all in one row.) It's green now, but it will dry in the sun, and turn yellow like the other areas. When I went out to "weed" the tomato and strawberry section, it took me about 30 seconds. Only a few weeds were strong enough to push through the clippings, and I have very few to pull. I'm hoping that if I can get the whole garden done before these plants need to start being harvested, I can spend most of my time harvesting, and not as much weeding.

But as you can see, I have a bit of garden left to go. We've got 2 rows of peas, the asparagus, and then I'm not sure what I should do where the pumpkins and squash vines will grow. Something to think about. But if I can rake enough to fill one row a day, then I think it will be doable. (By the way, this is what my garden looks like after 4 days of no weeding. Ahhh!) Today I weeded and raked and spread grass for 2 hours during nap time (in the heat of the day...of course.) and got one row done. Tomorrow morning we should be home, though, and I hope I'll be able to get a good chunk done when it's not so hot.

Because the front flower bed could use some work too.

I planted around the tulips because I read that you should leave them there until all the green leaves the leaves, because as long as they are green, they are still feeding the bulbs for the next year. Ummm, they haven't been green for over a week, and I think it's time I take them out!

And we planted 2 hydrangea bushes in front of the house this year, and weeds have come around to welcome them. They are either pink or blue depending on the acidity of the soil. I found pink ones that looked very healthy, but I think we're going to try to gradually turn them blue, as we think that will pop against the color of the house better. We had blue hydrageas in our wedding, so it will be fun to have them planted in our garden!

I had taken some pictures of our rose bushes which are just gorgeous this year, but they all turned out sideways for some reason. Trust me, they're gorgeous!

And I called it quits for the day when Silje came down from her nap. We decided that we should have some drumsticks. I took a picture of her, and not me because really, a sweaty dirty mommy with grass clippings all up her arms and frizzy hair pulled back in a pony tail is really not something that should be posted;)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Fun Surprise for Me!

Yesterday Knut was helping a family we know get their house ready to sell. When he came home, he brought me this:

Now I know most of you see a piece of junk sitting in my garage, but I nearly leaped out of my skin! Isn't she beautiful? She definitely needs some cleaning up, and I'm hesitant to say that she may ever work, but even if she can live her retirement out on a clean shelf in my house, I think she'll be beautiful to display. Knut said she came with a table, but he just lifted her up, and the table fell apart underneath her. I can just see my father in law who was with Knut shake his head and say "You're bringing your wife that?"

He knew. He knew I would just love it, and couldn't bare her being sent to the dump. What a guy.

She came with pieces. I'm thinking she wasn't even electric, but just goes by petal. (I'm not sure if I just spelled petal like a flower, or petal like a bike petal. I'm really not sure if they have different spellings either. Either way it's still cool.)

So I'll need to clean her up, and polish her so she can be shown off. And she'll need a name. I'm open to any suggestions, you can leave them in the comments section. I'm thinking an old fashioned name. Maybe Pearl? Or Ethel, since that just sounds old. But the sky is the limit. Let me know what names you come up with.

And since I've been sitting on so many kids stories, I have to leak 2 onto this post, and I'll have a more formal post put together later.

David: "Mommy, did you know that when macaroni an cheese falls into my tummy, crocodiles come swimming up and chomp it up!"

Me: "No David, I never knew that." (This explains a lot!)


Out at the lake of Father's Day, Silje was socializing with several of the Ronnevik cousins. I wasn't there for this conversation, and I hope I'm quoting her correctly.

Liv and Astri: "Do you know the story of Cinderella?"
Silje: "Yes, She was the most sweetest girl in the world. Well, not the sweetest girl in the world, I'm the sweetest girl in the world. But I think she was pretty sweet!"

I'm tempted to say "precious" but I'll leave that for another post too.

I think we need to work on some humilty, or modesty, or something like that. Work on self-esteem can probably be moved down the list now.

Don't forget to leave your suggestions for a name for my new sewing machine!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

5 years ago today...

Silje, you were born. I remember everything about it. Labor started just a few minutes after midnight on your due date. It's almost as if you knew it was your due date, and you wanted to be sure you were there right on time (You're still that way!) Everything about the labor was exactly by the book...also a trait of yours. There were no complications. You didn't come too fast or too slow. It was just perfect.

You looked so tiny in Daddy's arms.

This was right after you were born. That was mommy's nurse. Her name was Mary, and I think she was the best labor nurse on the planet. I remember when we checked into the hospital, the lady who helped us with paperwork said "Oooo, you get Mary. She is the best nurse in the L&D floor. If I were going to have a baby, I'd hope and pray I'd get Mary." I thought she was just trying to make me feel good, but she was right. Mary always had the right thing to say, and put both Daddy and me at ease. She always knew what to do to make me feel better. She would paint different pictures for me with her words of beautiful things to think of while I was having you.

And that was the doctor who delivered you. He was just some random doctor on duty that day, and I still can't remember his name. But I remember what he said to me. He said, "that was the easiest delievery I've seen from a first time mom in ages. Your body was obviously made to have children. I expect you back here next year delivering another one. Maybe a boy, just to mix it up." I laughed at him at the time. David was born 15 months later.

You were born with straight black hair. That's you on Mommy and Daddy's bed having some "tummy time". Can you believe that hair you had?

But it all fell out, and you were bald for awhile. Then you got really, really fat. You had rolls about everywhere on your body.

You've always had the most beautiful skin. Many of my friends said you looked like a china doll.

Here was your first birthday, with your first cake.

You enjoyed the frosting best! I think you still do!

I hope you had fun today with all of your friends. My, we must live in an area with many scandinavians! Look at all of that blonde hair!

We had a polka dot cake with your polka dot party.

And I'm glad you liked your Silje's Sweets set! We love you so much, Silje!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Birthday Present Unveling!

Well I know Silje's birthday isn't until tomorrow, but since this just got done, and after she opens it tomorrow the contents may be spread to the 4 corners of the house. This might be my one shot to post picture of it.

I like toys that can be contained in their own tub!

Here is the tray. It straps around her neck and waist, so it can be carried around like a vendor at a stadium.

But what could this vendor sell?

knitted ice cream cones. Would you like, strawberry, triple berry, chocolate or mint-chocolate chip?

And how about some cupcakes with cherries on top?

Or a dozen donuts with sprinkles? We have pink or chocolate frosting.

And look! They all fit in her tray.
But Silje's Sweets wouldn't be complete without an apron.

I did a trade on my diva board: embroidery design in exchange for some diaper fabric. It was just leftovers, and my friend shipped me the design just in time! She sent me extras, bless her heart! I have so many extra strips of fabric with "Silje's Sweets" written on it, that I'll have to think of something special to do with them.

This apron is the first thing I've done without a pattern. Yup, I just made it up. Pretty proud of that. I knew since it was for Silje, this apron must have ruffles.

But then again, since this is for Silje, maybe I didn't add enough ruffles.
There was going to be a little vendor's hat to go with it, but I just ran out of time, and I need to clean my house at least a little before her little friends come over for a party tomorrow. Don't any of you share these pictures with Silje now! It's a secret!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

books and the hungry little caterpillars

Look at my little scholar. She's at it again...out to write another book. It's called the dog book, and she's copying words from Cinderella, Biscuit, and Strega Nona today. It will be illustrated too. Seriously, I ask you the question: what will they do with her in kindergarten?

After our tornado-like storm the other day that nearly flattened our peony bushes, we had a morning of picking up sticks that came off our trees all over the yard. It's become a ritual every year, as consistent as raking leaves.

The kids were "required" to help this year, as they were not quite as enthusiastic to pick up sticks as last year. Getting bigger and realizing the chores have to be done regardless of if they're "fun" is tough for them. We filled about 4 wheelbarrows full of sticks. (Not counting the kids' wheelbarrow of course.)

We've had a terrible caterpillar problem this year. I first noticed it when I picked some lily of the valley last week. Caterpillars were practically dripping off of everything. We took a closer look at our apple trees this year, since they're looking worse instead of growing lush. Yup, caterpillars are covering them. I sure hope we'll still have some apples this fall!

Just look how much is covering this one leaf on the peony bush! They haven't touched the roses, since Knut sprays for pests on those. He had some leftover, and sprayed my peony bushes after this picture, so hopefully those bushes can be saved as well. There are many of these hungry little caterpillars this year!

p.s. no update on my friend Carri. I'll post when I know something.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Prayer Request

Well, every once in awhile, there's a story that just touches you. As many of you remember, there's an online community I'm a part of with women who sew cloth diapers. It's called the Diaper Sewing Divas, or as I call it "the diva board." I've gotten to know several of the women on there. Last year one of my friends struggled as her husband went off to war about a month before her baby was due. Recently I tried to help a friend whose husband just left her. But none of these situations is as heartbreaking as Carri's.

Carri is a strong believer on the diva board. She can't stop talking about Jesus, and this is a secular message board. She remains calm through it all. She has 8 children, and as of this morning, was pregnant with twins. All of us on the diva board have been following her on the board, and on her blog. (P.S. don't click on her blog unless you're ready to see what a stomach that's stretched for 8 babies and holding 2 looks like.) She was overdue, and getting anxious for the delivery and I among the other divas, checked the board at least daily to see if Carri had an update.

She always updated with a verse that she was memorizing that day to keep her calm. I've never seen a 9 month pregnant woman so calm. She inspired even the atheists on the board with her devotionals slipped into the daily updates. This morning, we got news that her water broke. We were all anxiously waiting for one of her friends to post pictures of the precious new babies for us.

Then we got a post saying she passed out, and something was going terribly wrong.

Then very bad news. Carri experienced something VERY rare called an amniotic fluid embolism. I have a hard time reading through the medical language but basically the valve separating the amniotic fluid from her bloodstream broke, and amniotic fluid rushed into her circulatory system. I'm not an expert, but that's what I gather from the medical jargon.

Both of Carri's babies died, and now Carri is fighting for her life. The doctors have given her a 60% chance of survival. Even if she survives, it will be a very long recovery. This is a very rare condition, and doctors cannot predict it happening, cannot stop it from happening, and there is no treatment for her, even now. All they're trying to do is keep her alive tonight. If she makes it through, and gets through the months of recovery, she'll then have to deal with the fact that 2 of her children died in the process.

Pray for her husband, Mark, too. Pray for her 8 children at home, whom she homeschools. I know I have never met this sister in Christ face to face, but she is so much one of my friends, and I ask you to pray for her, that God might spare her here on earth a little while longer.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Fresh From the Lake

I know these pictures are coming up so fast! Thanks to Knut, he got some great pictures of the trip. (I didn't even need to remind him!) I thought I'd post them since I have the time, since Knut's home today, since the ground is still wet. That's a lot of sinces.

Here's a 4 generation photo for the fishing trip. It looks like they caught a few!

What a beautiful day to be on the lake! David was a bit disappointed that they didn't go swimming.

David and Grandpa in front of the cabin

Knut, Grandpa, David and Oldefar (great-grandpa) Another 4 generation photo

Apparently David didn't want to "touch" any of the fish...or worms.

but it's fun to look in the water!

What are you lookin' at?

practicing holding it right...

You can see him playing it out in his head how it will go.

Look at what we caught!

The loons came out to watch them.

Uncle Rolf was there too! It looks as though he took the other group photos.

Having very important talks I'm sure.

Dum de dum...


He'll sit next to one...but not too close!

Look at our catch! Knut caught some of these. These were the big ones. The 2 on the left are northern pike, and the one in the middle is a big walleye that Knut caught, and the 2 on the right are bass. Knut brought the walleye and one of the bass home. I guess it will be fish tonight! (Ironically, I've hated fish my whole life until I was pregnant with Elias. Ever since that pregnancy, I love fish. With Silje it was pinapple. Fell in love with it during that pregnancy!)

Knut lost his line when he was fishing for a walleye and caught a pike, and the pike's teeth cut his line. Another time Knut's line got cut by the boat engine, so his very small tackle supply is now gone. Hmmm, now I wonder what we should get him for Father's Day? I bet I could knit him some hooks...(JUST KIDDING of course!)