Friday, July 31, 2009

Ramblings...and a disclaimer

Well, no one pointed it out, but my last post about the chores I've been doing said that it was Friday, and so I was working on Friday's chores. However it was Thursday, as I learned this morning, when I found out today was not Saturday. Let's hope I get better when Silje starts going to school.

You would think that I would have so much done today, since I did all of today's chores yesterday. Funny, house is still not clean. The kids and I cleaned up all the toys in the basement, and I made bread. I picked peas and green beans some more. The kids were actually a help in the garden today, and I'm pretty sure they shaved at least 15 minutes off my work out there this morning. I could really get used to that. I see just sending them out to get the vegis in maybe a year or two. Wouldn't that be great! Silje helped me shell peas for a few minutes, but then got bored and left me.

I love that the kids are getting old enough to help out. They love far. It reminds me of a comic strip I saw once of a mom and her two kids folding laundry together, with a huge mountain of clothes behind them. A talking bubble came out of one of the kids' mouths that said: "Gee, Mom, imagine how much work you would have if it weren't for us!" Yes...imagine.

Despite how much work it is to run our household, "work" is not what comes to mind when I think of my kids. When I think of Silje, I think smart, beautiful, thoughtful and surprising. When I think of David I think energy, BOY, loud, and tender. When I think of Elias, well, only one word so far: joy. That boy constantly has joy written all over his face. Constantly. You think he'd be sick of it by now. But no...more joy.

As Elias will head to the doctor in a couple weeks for his 9 month check-up, I've been thinking as I read my friends' blogs about their babies. I try really really hard to give my kids a pretty equal share in blog space. When I think of it, I actually count to make sure they have the same number of pictures. But I think most people would agree that the first year of you life brings so many changes so fast. The only constant is change. I feel bad not posting more about his growth and development because the older two don't change as fast because they're older. I could give an equal opportunity daily update. It'd probably be something like this:
Day 1:
Silje: read 500 books
David: played with cars all day
Elias: grew a new tooth

Day 2:
Silje: read 500 books
David: played with cars all day
Elias: changed up his nap schedule

Day 3:
Silje: read 500 books
David: played with cars all day
Elias: learned to crawl

Do you see my problem? It's just that Elias is in a time of his life of constant big things to post. So I've decided that I'm going to allow myself more Elias updates. At least until he's 1, you know? I mean, after all, we took 500 digital pictures during the first month of Silje's life. He's the third kid. I've written just his name in his baby book. He deserves a few extra blog posts. So the whole purpose of this post was to be a disclaimer for future posts. Watch out for more baby news. I mean not "baby news" about a new baby, but new news about an old baby. (is "old baby" an oxymoron?) Did I just jinx myself?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Putting Away

Well, after such a long trip there is the unpacking that seems to take ages. And then trying to do a weeks worth of laundry in just a few days. And then David didn't quite make it through the night, and there are his bed linens to wash on top of that. I have found that after busy times, it's easy to focus on the clean-up, and then you loose a few more days because you've cleaned up from the trip, and your house is messy, because you've been so busy cleaning up.

So through our last few busy times, including moves, I've found that I like to stick to my household list of daily chores like crazy during a "recovery time." Because if I stick to my list, every part of my house gets clean over the course of a week. (Just not clean all at once. This is not a magic list.) For those curious followers, here's my chore list:

-clean sheets
-clean all bedrooms
-clean upstairs hallway and stairs
-"baking" day

-dust as much of the house as I can
-mop and vacuum house
-water plants

-clean bathrooms
-meal plan for following week
-clean out fridge
-declutter piles around the house

-grocery shopping
-clean out purse/diaper bag
-update receipts into budget
-clean microwave

-mass cooking day
-water plants
-wipe down all of kitchen including appliances

-prepare Sunday food
-declutter piles
-clean t.v. screen
-mop and vacuum house

So rarely does everything get done every day, but it's good to have goals, right? (I had to laugh when typing out 'exercise' because that hasn't gotten done in a few months!) If my whole house doesn't get vacuumed on a vacuum day, at least one room does, and I can do another room on the next vacuum day. I usually have to dust in shifts too, but I wish I could get the whole thing done in a day. Silje's starting to help me with it, but I find myself going back over what she does. We need to work on that.

But as you can see, today is Friday, and that means mass cooking day. I really only do major cooking on Fridays, and the rest of the days we do easy meals like pasta, or something involving a simple gravy over bread, or pull some yummy meal from the freezer. After grocery shopping yesterday, I bought enough to do 2 different types of meals to add to my freezer stash. I've made 3 meatloafs (all they need to do is thaw and bake when I need them) and I still need to make a few batches of chicken pot pie filling. In my opinion, it saves me so much time to cook in bulk, as I only have to do the dishes for them once, and I get to buy in bulk which also saves time, and money.

When we got back from vacation, I was astonished at how bare my freezer was, and how much my garden grew! We have no green beans left in the freezer, and the peas are long gone. I have 2 bags of sweet creamed corn left. We do have beans and peas in the garden now, and let me tell you, that keeps me busy. I was picking for a solid hour this morning, and I'm still not done shelling the peas. I had the kids helping me for awhile, but raw peas from the garden are so delicious, that not much was going to the freezer. My sister actually overheard me over the phone yell at my kids: "No more peas, I mean it!"

It's that time of year when I yearn to sew, and knit or do some sort of craft, but the harvest (in my garden) is ready, and each day is spent picking, shelling, blanching, freezing. My evenings are spent sitting and shelling or snapping, instead of stitching Silje's quilt which I still haven't posted pictures of yet. I have no doubt that pretty soon my freezer will be brimming with food again, and hopefully some meals, as those meatloafs, so far, are the only meals in there. I've definitley ran it down and have had no time to replenish it this summer.

So when the seasonal garden work is done, and my chore list is done, I work more on the "unpacking." I've already pulled out all the dirty laundry from the bags, washed them and put them away. You may notice that laundry isn't on my chore list. That's because, for those who have MSC (Many Small Children) know, laundry is a constant. The only thing remaining from our trip is 2 suitcases in our bedroom with a few unworn clothes, and the blankets and sleeping bags are just sitting in the hallway, waiting to be put back in their spots. That will get done when the daily things get done first...and the blogging of course.

I'm also thinking of canning that I hope to get done this year. Since Knut has been on the south beach diet, we don't go through as much jellies and jams, and I still have over 20 jars in our cold room. I did see this recepie for a pumpkin butter that just looks delicious! Not south beach exactly, but it does look good and I'm sure has less sugar than jelly. Our pumpkins are doing just great this year, so I think I'll try it out when they're ready. I don't think we'll have much for apples this year, and I didn't get any of the surplus of apples put away into sauces last fall because, well I had a baby. Some things just have to be let go.

August is upon us, and that means the beginning of "putting away" both in the freezers, the cans, and the suitcases. I can't wait until this winter when my freezer is full of yummy vegis and meals, and I have no gardening to do and can spend my evenings at home with Knut watching t.v. and quilting. (Well, I'd be the one doing the quilting. Knut's not that into it.)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

We made it home!

We are back from our trip, and the washing machine is running with all of our dirty clothes. I thought I'd take a moment and post our pictures. It may only be my mom who reads all of this, (thanks, Mom!) but for those who would love to see the beauty of Montana, you are welcome as well:

Montana 2009!

Our trip started out slowly, as we stopped through a town that had a reputable heating place that sold fireplaces. Knut spent some time asking questions and getting quotes while I took the kids to a nearby park. Elias really enjoyed the sand.

David found a sandbox too. Unfortunately, the slides were all wet, so we didn't stay for long, and soon went back to annoy Knut and the salesman.

Our next stop was to Fargo/Moorhead. I know we go there all the time, but how often do we go as tourists?

The visitors' center had free maps for our whole trip, and we had a wonderful picnic on the lawn.

And then Elias surprised us with a new tooth on top. It surfaced for the first time that morning.

When we were almost in Dickenson, ND, we stopped at a landmark that looked cool!

We saw the Guinness World Record certificate, for meeting the largest in some sort of class of sculpture.

And we read the article about all of the statues by this one artist. We looked closely at the picture, because behind us...

we saw the actual artist! He came to work on it that day, to remove some rust. He talked with us for awhile, and told us about the next statue he's working on, which he said will be a spider's web. It was very cool. I'm glad Silje got her business done behind the landmark before the artist showed up. Ahem.

We spent the night in Dickenson, ND with Knut's Uncle Tim and Aunt Sharon. We had some great fellowship with them, and I soaked in lots of garden information from Tim's amazing back yard. I've already got some plans in the work inside my head for changes next year to my flower gardens.

The next day we drove through the bad lands. They were beautiful, not bad. Apparently it was named by the Sioux indians.

We stopped for a picnic in a little town just across the boarder of Montana. It was just so charming!

And the kids took their naps in the car.

Before stopping in Billings for the night, we stopped at Pompey's Pillar, and brought out our old hiking backpack for Elias.

We all got to see William Clark's (from Lewis and Clark) signature carved into the rock there.

Knut wished that we would have studied up on Lewis and Clark before we got there so it would be cooler for the kids. I think we'll research landmarks ahead of time for the next trip.

There was so many stairs to the top. The kids loved that part!

But my, what a view!

We stopped in Billings, MT and stayed with Knut's old youth paster, and his wife, Matt and Kristen. They have 2 daughters, Maren and Siriana. We really enjoyed them.

Silje especially enjoyed their daughter's large dress up closet and huge American Girl doll collection. This is a bad picture, but that case next to her is holding the doll shoes. She's wearing one of the many outfits she tried on. Needless to say, Silje saw no reason to move on to the Bible School that was our destination.

On the way we passed Manhattan. It's not like the movies. ;)

Matt recommended we stop at this little bakery on the way up.

We got this huge cinnemon roll and a large cup of coffee for $3! Who knew a place just outside Manhattan was so cheap!

We made it to MWSB that afternoon. Knut graduated from there in 2000, and I know it was one of the best years of his life. There was an all class reunion that we came for, and this was my first time seeing this school that Knut spent so many letters writting to me about while I was in Bible school in downtown Chicago.

Elias enjoyed sitting in the grass. Look at that mohawk that he's growing in!

The kids went straight for the playground.

We didn't know until we got there that they provided a "kids club" for our 2 older kids during a few hours of the day so Knut and I and Elias got to spend some time doing whatever we wanted! We were able to talk with others there, or go off for some devotions in by the creek, or just sit and read a book. It was so wonderful!

Not the best picture of David, but the boys wore matching shirts the first day out at camp just for fun.

Knut and I each had a bunk, but the kids enjoyed sleeping in the cot style bunk beds. They both wanted a top bunk, so we let them. They couldn't climb out so...bonus!

Knut went on a longer hike with his old roommate, Shane, and 2 other alumni. They climbed Twin Buttes, (well they actually only summitted one Butte.) It took them all afternoon, and had some very steep places. But the views from the top were worth it!

He got a great picture of the campus of MWSB.

Althought that was zoomed in. This is how high he actually was when he took the picture!

God's glory was so evident wherever we went there. What a perfect place for a Bible school!

Here's Knut at the summit, with "Steamboat" mountain behind him. He summitted that one when he was a student there.

Here's Shane and Knut. I guess you're supposed to put a rock on top when you get there. Shane and his wife Deb and their 2 little boys are leaving to be missionaries at the end of the year. They'll start out in India, and then hopefully move to an unnamed country where they'll be working. We are so excited for them, and we invite you to pray for them as well.

Knut was so amazed that the beautiful flowers were just growing on the rock, without any soil!

We went on a small hike as a family. Knut figured the kids are always brimming with energy, so the hike would be no problem. However, about 5 seconds into the trip the complaints about tired feet and tired legs began. David dragged his feet most of the way, and on the way back, stopped completely and just sat down in protest. Fortunately, another family with a boy about David's age walked past us, and David's competitive spirit brought him to his feet, and he ran the rest of the way back. I actually had to run to keep up with him, but I was not about to tell him to stop, because I didn't know if we would get him started again after that!

We covered our eyes because the sun was just burning!

It was so bright!

The beauty was just overwhelming.

Knut bought Silje a candy necklace in the little store they had there. She was delighted!

They had an awesome rock wall as a part of their new gym, and Knut was the first in our family to scale it. Unfortuantely I have no pictures of him on the wall, but believe me, he did it!

The staff at MWSB offered for Silje to climb too, but she said no. A few hours later, she surprised us, and said she was ready to go up! So they harnessed her up, and up she went!

Climbing was really tricky, and she let go about every other rock, and after awhile she just touched them for show as the wonderful staff below just pulled her up!

She made it to the top!

David said no at first too, but he was not about to be out done by his sister, so he agreed to go up as well.

I got to climb the wall twice. Like my kids, it was my first time rock climbing and it was so much fun!

David looks like he's climbing, but this picture was staged.

He really just enjoyed hanging there.

Silje entertained Elias while I was on the wall.

One of the staff members out at MWSB was also named Elias. Elias was just crazy about Elias, and vice versa. We had to snap a picture of them together.

Our last stop was in Williston, ND, where we stayed with my mom's cousins, Terry and Karen. Terry had already left for work before we could get a picture with him, but we had so much fun talking with them, and they threw a wonderful BBQ for us. They invited my Uncle Si and Auntie Signe (my grandpa's brother and his wife) and their son Stewart. Almost all of Terry and Karen's children and I believe all their daughter-in-laws were there, and their new little granddaughter. She even invited some family of mine from my grandmother's side, Craig and Martha, who just moved to Williston. I wish I would have taken pictures at the party, but we were so into talking with everyone, we just forgot!
My computer saavy 90 something year old Uncle Si had seen Knut and David's fishing pictures on facebook, and commented to Knut that they caught some really dinky fish, and told him some great fishing stories when he used to go fishing up in Canada. I'm so glad that these precious family members of mine got a chance to meet.

We got to see so many loved ones, and met so many people at MWSB that I hope we always keep in touch with. Thank you to Tim and Sharon, Matt and Kristen, and Terry and Karen for putting us up in the evenings, and to John and Terri, the directors of MWSB for doing all they do. Thanks to Richard and Linda and Lars for looking after our place when we were gone, and Grant and Sharon for looking after Lena while we were gone. We hope that when we pick her up in the morning, she'll actually want to come home with us. Sharon said she's been playing fetch with her about 9 times a day, and I know she has been so spoiled while we were gone.