Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fireplace Christening

My lumberjack husband took a chainsaw to some wood today, and got us a little stocked up. I think we might be seeing more of the plywood than we intended, so we'll have to think about that one.

Today was the maiden voyage for the fireplace. It's been getting chilly, and I'm anxious to use it more. There's not a terrible bite in the air yet...just a little nibble.

I guess you're supposed to "cure" the fireplace for 30 minutes or so for the first 5 fires that we light. So, the first one started tonight. We were so excited and curled up on the floor with the dog in our lap, and enjoyed the flame, until the baby woke up upstairs and I had to go get him back to sleep.

Knut was pleased that everything was doing what it was supposed to do. The flame was positioned right, the smoke wasn't coming in the house, etc. I think we were both pretty giddy. Since it will probably rain on Thursday, he'll probably work on getting the hearthstone put into place. There's still a lot of inside work to do, but our fireplace works, and that was the goal for this winter.

And it's a beautiful thing.

Ahhh, I think Knut will be sleeping extra good tonight. Job well done.

60 seconds of my morning

I thought I would fill you in on 60 seconds of what morning is like in our household. Elias just loves watching his brother!

David just runs until he's done. Or he waits a few minutes. He's running Lena outside right now, poor girl. It's really not fair to ask a puppy to keep up with an almost 4 year old boy.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Not Me Monday!

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

I do not listen to my kids' VBS cd from this summer just because I like the music. It's kids' music and I shouldn't be dancing to it shamelessly in front of my dog and baby. (I don't think they'll tell anybody.)

I do not eat just the marshmallows out of my children's generic Lucky Charms.

I have not said the following things this last week:

"Why is there butter on the camera?"

"Get off of your sister's face."

"You're done playing with each other. Don't look at each other. Don't talk to each other. Don't even think about each other. Leave each other alone."

"Do you want goldfish crackers for supper?"

What kind of crazy lady says those things, anyway.

Go ahead and join the "Not Me Monday" carnival by clicking on the button, or if you want, you may do your healthy confession in my comments section. I won't tell anyone ;)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Few Pictures


(This was the irresistible face he gave me when I said "say cheese!" He said "eeeee!")

Now that he can reach it, the tool bench is a new favorite.

And he likes remote controls a lot too.

I'd like to caption this "Knut trying to watch football on Saturday." Poor guy can't sit down for a moment without the kids bringing him a book. His leg is doing much better, and he's getting around pretty easily. I think the worst is over, and he'll be back to 100%, or at least pretending to be at 100% this week.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Airing out some dirty laundry

I was at the story time at the library tomorrow, and one of the mom said that she reads my blog, and doesn't know how I do it all. I get that a lot. I feel really silly getting that, because you know, I only show you the good stuff. I usually only show you the stuff I'm proud of. The confessions of not-me-Monday are true, but mostly just for fun.

So today, I decided to do the unthinkable, and air out what I'm really bad at. This is a visual tour. I'll explain as I go.

This is my front flower garden. At one point I was ambitious enough to plant some flowers around the tulips this spring. I was planning on filling in the spots where the tulips were with some annuals, but never got to it. Now grass and weeds are there. Yes, the picture at the top of my blog now is of this flower garden, but I only showed a pretty part of it in the photo, of course.

And horror of horrors, this is my jungle of a vegetable garden. Want to see it close up?

Here's my strawberry patch in the garden. The deer ate most of the strawberry leaves and blooms, and I just let it grow over.

And here is just a patch of weeds so tall you think it would be put there on purpose. But no...just weeds.

And here are my tomato plants that are producing so much now. They got so big that all 6 of them tipped over, and many of the tomatoes are sitting in the dirt on top of each other, and therefore many have to get thrown in the field because they're too bruised to use. I should have reinforced their stakes, and picked them up at some point, I guess.

The middle mass of plants are the green beans. They still have beans on them, and I haven't picked them in a long time. I'm kinda afraid to go over there to see how much has gone to waste because I haven't had time to get there. Blogging is more important to me than green beans, I guess. Then there's a mass of weeds and a short row of beets and in the corner are the asparagus plants. Those actually are supposed to be that way--looking like mini trees. To the left are another row of weeds and the peas.

The peas are long gone, and really should be pulled and the fences be put away. But instead, a row of weeds between them has risen up, determined to surpass the actual pea plants.

So there you have it. I'm terrible at gardening. I want to be good at gardening. I spend a lot of time planning them out. I always seem to give up mid summer sometime, and just harvest what survives. This summer I was determined to see it through, but we were on what seemed like a constant month of vacation with Montana, family visiting, and lake time. I could never quite recover the garden from weeds after that, and gave up not too long after that.

So I hope you all feel better about yourselves now, and not put me on such a pedestal for getting so much done. There are things that never get done at my house too. This is so embarrassing, because farmer's are supposed to have nice gardens, and my poor husband does not. (Well, he actually takes care of the rose garden, and that is beautiful.) When I look at my garden, I often feel like a city girl who has no clue what she is doing. It's the thorn in my side, that I hope one day to conquer. Silje and David actually were a decent help this year in the garden at the beginning of the summer. I'm hoping next year it will be even more so. Because as you can see, I need all the help I can get!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Always Lots to Do

I had a huge picking of tomatoes again yesterday. I'm out of oregano, so after a trip to the store this morning, I'll start making another batch of spaghetti sauce. This number might help me make another double batch, in fact! I left so many beautiful orange tomatoes on the vine, so I'm sure tomorrow I'll get at least this many as well. No rest this week, I guess! I'm up to 12 jars of spaghetti sauce put away. I get 3 jars out of a batch. (or 6 out of a double batch). I've never seen so many tomatoes!

Last year we got 4 pumpkins out of our pumpkin patch. This year, I have counted 18! Wow! I'll have enough for decoration, jack-o-lanterns, and pumpkin butter--a new recipe to try out this year. They look like they're getting ready! They're so huge this year! My squash died last year, and this year it was looking good. But the last time I was out there, it almost looked like a heard of dear had been laying all over it. Seriously, it looked trampled. So hopefully all will be well there.

And let's not forget, I haven't even dented the baking apples yet. I've made a ton of apple sauce, apple butter, and 1 each of apple pie and apple crisp. I'm sure my family wouldn't mind another pie! I'm thinking that my next project here will be to make up a bunch of apple pie fillings to freeze. That way when I want any apple pie this winter, I just have to make up a crust and dump it in. We hardly had any baking apples last year. Seriously, I'm not sure if we even got 12. This year, one tree is going nuts, and the other is so-so. I've heard they're the best after the first frost, and that may not be that far away.

We have 2 eating apple trees, which went nuts last year, and they're not so hot this year. They look like they're dying. I hope not! They started flowering this spring very brightly, and then a late frost came and froze off all the beautiful blooms. It tried to start up again, but just didn't have the strength.

This one has a few eating apples on one branch. They're not quite ready yet. I'm hoping that this next spring we'll see these ones take off again, and that they are not, in fact dying.

But this guy is ready to take off now!

We spike his hair, because we can...and it's funny.

I saw him take 4 steps cruising around the coffee table yesterday. O Wow! I'm not ready! I'm not ready!

And as for this guy, he's still being a good guy and listening to the doctor. He has to keep his leg raised with a warm compress all the time. It has been looking mildly better, which hasn't been encouraging. But this morning, over half of it drained out, so Knut was excited. He's been so stiff sitting all day long, and he can't sleep very easily at night. Probably because he has been taking at least 2 naps a day in this chair. I have to admit, though, it's been nice having him home.

But for the rest of the week, it's not fireplace or farm for him. It's this:

Poor guy indeed! Really, though, he's been such a help, I can't remember the last time my house looked so good. He reads to the kids so much, and feeds Elias his morning bottle. (The rest of the feedings he nurses, and well, Knut can't help much there.) The kids love playing on the floor next to him and they talk to him so much. I can get so much done with that diversion. For that, I am thankful. But for Knut, I know he's dying to get up and move! That man was not designed to sit!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Thoughts on Contentment

I feel like sharing what God's been doing in my lately. It may be personal, but I think it's good to share what God is doing.

For those who have been to our house before, there are somethings that you notice. The thing we get comments on sometimes are the lack of things. Toys? yes. Stuff? yes. Furniture? no. We have the basics, but there are rooms in our house that are just open with toys spread everywhere.

Knut and I didn't expect to have a full house of furniture when we moved into this beautiful house. We're big Dave Ramsey fans. We've been focusing on the baby steps for a few years now. It's gotten to the point where we want to pay cash only for things, and try to do things the right way. We promised each other not to focus on furniture until all our debt is paid off. With the car and credit cards done, we've just got our student loans left. Well, we finished mine. Now Knut's is left.

You would think it would get easier, as we're getting closer to paying off debt, and closer to saving for things like a dining room set. But it doesn't. Being so close to having money, kinda feels like you already have it. Why not just borrow the money, if we're going to be able to pay it back in not too long? No, it gets much harder.

Then the thoughts sink in that we've been good for so long. We deserve to take a little break from it. Sometimes I look on the craigslist adds from our area, and see if there's anything I could find a good deal on. (A habit Knut has been trying to get me to quit.) The frustration sank in again yesterday, when I found the most perfect dining room set. I have written down everything I wanted in a set, and this one fits every letter of that list. And it's 1/4 of the cost we we're planning on saving for a set. These days are hard.

The more I've been praying about it, the more I've come to realize that it's not a matter of whether or not we can afford it. It's a matter of walking in obedience to God, and doing what he has called us to do. The first Bible passage God brought to mind was the story of Abraham and Hagar. God had made a promise to Abraham, but Abraham and Sarah thought God was taking a very long time. Hagar seemed like a perfect solution. Hey, if God didn't want Hagar to conceive, she wouldn't have, right? But she did. It ended up causing great pain.

Situations like this follow a theme that seems to have been going on in my spiritual life lately of doing things God's way. A few months back, I was put on the nursery commity at church. I had no desire to be on it, but I was. I was at a women's ministry meeting later on, and they said if you'd rather be somewhere else, just to let them know. I was about to go and talk to someone about it. I'd much rather be on the missions commity.

But God started convicting me when I started walking over to the person who I needed to talk to in order to make the change. What had I done for the nursery? Was it beneath me? God plopped a ministry on my lap, and I had done nothing. It reminded me of a story a friend of ours told about the first time he was asked to make coffee for a Bible study, and being a new believer, he wept about thinking he was not worthy to make coffee for God's children.

Another story that comes to mind is the parable of the talents. The master had entrusted different amounts of money to different people. Do I hoard, or do I invest? It's times like this that I need parables like that. When I started praying about this dining room set yesterday, God has spoken so clearly to me, that I need to use what he has given me already. And he has given me so much!

When we first got this house, Knut and I were so overwhelmed. I never imagined we'd ever live in a place so beautiful. We've had several talks about how we want it to be a sancuary not just for us, but for other people. We love having people over, and we do it as often as we can. The 2 summers we have lived here we have hosted literally dozens of people. It's our ministry as a family. We see it more as God's house than ours.

Which is why I want a dining room table. But the timing is wrong. We still need to tear down the plaster and re-insulate the dining room before we furnish it. The fireplace needs to get done before that! It's so easy to say "I could get it done faster if I scrap the plan, and do it my way."

It's made me think that "contentment" is not a passive thing. It's active. It's not believing that you'll never need anymore, but what you need will be there when you need it. It's using the things you have, instead wasting time lusting after things you don't have. It's not the lack of dreaming, but the certainty that God's dreams are bigger. That dining room set may have been what I would have picked out, but I'm sure it doesn't hold a candle to the one God has picked out for me to have, at the right time. That's exciting to think about. Our God is so good.

Of Literature and Dogs

That's the title of the article Silje is reading in the magazine that came in the mail today.

It's the magazine sent to alumni of a college that Aunt Rondi went to that mistakenly came to our house.

This are a little different today. Knut got an infection in his leg last week. It was bothering him so much yesterday and he was feeling a bit warm. So he went into the clinic. He got a shot, and an obscene amount of antibiotics, and was told to keep his leg raised with a warm compress for the rest of the week.

Just in case you were wondering, Knut doesn't sit down very well. Especially when there are things to be done before harvest. But he's being a trooper. I'll be shocked if I can keep him in that chair or in on the couch for the rest of the week, but I'll try! He's set up with books and movies, and I'm determined to keep him employed. He fed Elias his bottle this morning, and I think I might have him peel apples for me this afternoon. He can do that with his leg in the air, right?

He does get up every once an awhile to stretch. But even making himself some eggs for breakfast made his leg really sore and his was anxious to sit down.

And Silje is enthralled to be reading to him out of the newest magazine in the house. She's just reading article after article as he is chuckling that she can actually do it!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Not Me Monday!

If you want to see other "not me" blogs today, go ahead and click on the not me button. It'll take you right there.

I did not show up for church on Sunday morning, and realize that my baby had dried snot spread all over his face from the night before. Of course I looked him in the face sometime that morning, and must have seen it.

I did not keep my 5 year old up late on a school night. We got home late from our small group at church, and she was not so tired this morning. Not only that, I didn't suggest to my husband that we should stop by the store for some milk on the way home from the small group. He then didn't look at me like I had two heads and say "Um, it's a school night? It's already an hour past her bedtime." I'm totally with the new school routine, and would not completely forget that she needs to catch the bus early.

I did not argue with her this morning on several things from outfit decisions to what she was going to bring to show-and-tell. Both things that should have been decided yesterday. (She was supposed to bring something with her favorite color, or something to do with apples. She wanted to bring her bunny with a green ribbon. It did not fit in either category. She then realized that the green in the bunny's ribbon matches the leaves on an apple tree. I thought that was stinkin' creative of her, and let her bring it.)

And no, this is not a picture of Silje and Elias after she got home from school last Friday and he's still in his p.j.s.

I have not forbidden Silje and David from speaking to each other because of the yelling and bickering 13, 462 times this last week. I would never yell at my children at the top of my lungs to stop yelling at each other at the top of their lungs. How hypocritical would that be!

Knut and I did not just crack up into hysterical laughter when David was explaining his painting to us. It was of his daddy, and let's just say it was anatomically correct. Some things are just very important to boys.

And this post was not written while I was still in my bathrobe, thinking about what I should have for lunch today.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Spontaneous Tea

On this Saturday evening, I actually have a moment to share some pictures of a spontaneous tea party with Silje. She had come home from school, and after an hour or so said "Mommy, can we have some tea?" Why not?

So I brought out her fancy smancy tea she was given at "The Market" from the lady who is one of the owners and has pity on or family for spending way too much on their coffee on a regular basis. Silje wanted to try it, and so the nice woman tucked in in our bag to let us try it out. (And now, not only is my husband addicted to their amazing coffee and is now a complete coffee snob, my daughter is now addicted to their $14 a canister tea.)

Although, with this little lady, it is not the most lady-like past time.

because you know, after you finish your tea, you need to make sure that not a single bit of this

goes to waste.

Friday, September 18, 2009

David's Best Friend

On days like this when Silje is off at school, I was worried that David would have no one to play with. Elias is somewhat entertaining to him, but can't do as much as he would like. I never would have imagined that David would have found so much entertainment with Lena.

Lena is different for each of us in the family. She obeys Knut and I pretty well. She loves playing outside when Knut is working, and she loves just following me around the house when I do chores. With Silje, she loves to snuggle. Silje loves snuggling, and has taught Lena some "snuggling tricks" that Silje gets a big kick out of.

With Elias, well according to Lena, Elias is the world. Now that he is crawling, he's into everything, including dog food and bones. He was headed toward one of Lena's rawhide bones a few days ago, and Knut kicked it away toward Lena, and away from Elias. Lena promptly picked up the bone, brought it over to Elias, and dropped it in front of him. Lena will not stand for Elias crying, and will bring him whatever he is reaching for.

But Lena and David haven't always gotten along. David was so active, that he would run by her with his arms flailing. She would jump on him, try to roughhouse with him. We told them to stay away from each other. But now that Silje is at school, David plays with Lena for a good portion of the morning. He loves to "take Lena for a run." He gets on one of the kids' bikes that we have around, and rides circles around the driveway "racing" with Lena.

The two of them have quite the system, where he says go, and she runs alongside him. She doesn't jump or roughhouse with him anymore. David used to be scared of Lena, but now he takes control, and tells Lena what to do, and even better--she listens. She jumps when he says "C'mon Lena, time for a run!" If David stops his bike, she waits until he says it's time to go again. They're just doing circles and circles for up to 2 hours at a time.

C'mon Lena!

She's barely got the breath to walk. (Yes, he is riding a pink bike. Anyone have a problem with that?)

"I'll just sit this one out, kid" says Lena. I need a break! It is very common for David to run her to the point where she just sits down and won't run anymore.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Cracking Down

Well, as I continue to not get my things done, I'm starting to crack down on things that have gotten all out of order this summer. David for the last few months has had a terrible time falling asleep. His lack of sleeping has started to effect Elias too, and I simply cannot let that happen. I used to let him just play a bit until he could fall asleep. Now, however, his "play" keeps awake Elias, since they share a room. So I've started to sit in the rocking chair in his room until David falls asleep.

During nap time I've had to bring in a book or knitting, and just sit, and make sure he doesn't do anything. It's hard, because Elias is so screwed up, sleep wise, he's been crying himself to sleep. It takes him longer to fall asleep if he can see me. But David won't be still enough to sleep unless he sees me. So I try to keep out of Elias' sight as best as I can. It's not normal for Elias to cry himself to sleep, but he needs to sleep, and picking him up has been making him more mad. Even if I can get him to sleep in my arms, he can't be laid down without waking up.

This has to be repeated in the evening. However, it's starting to get dark at their bedtime, and I can't just sit in a dark room forever, so I turn the light on in the hallway and sit out there. This doesn't work as well, but I'm hoping it will improve with time. As for today, Elias fell asleep without so much as a whimper, and David fell asleep after flopping like a fish out of water in his bed for 45 minutes while I was knitting. There is hope.

It hasn't been easy though, especially with this project going on on the other side of their wall. Look, we have siding! We opted to do cement board siding on this part of the house, so it's still grey. It will get painted to match the rest of the house, though. It is in the back, and there's just woods behind our house, so I'm sure the deer won't care if there is a slight variance, although I don't anticipate much difference. Knut said if we really wanted, we could light the fireplace now, but we haven't wanted to, and who has time to sit in front of a fire these days anyway.

The chimney is on the right, and the wood box is on the left, with a plywood door. It will end up being an insulated hinged door, so wood can be loaded inside directly here without bringing it through the house. You can't see in this picture, but there is a vent also installed that will go from the chimney, through the top of the wood box, and into the den which is the wall on the left. One more vent is installed from the chimney to the boys' room, which is attached the the second story of the chimney.

And here is the long awaited picture of our granite hearth stone.

I think it will be so gorgeous when it's all done! At least I hope!

It looks as though it will get done before harvest as hoped, especially since we think harvest will be late this year. Normally they like to be in the fields by the end of this month, but Knut says he doubts the soy beans will be ready by then.

As for my harvest, I picked about a weeks worth of tomatoes in just one day in my garden today! I don't mean I haven't picked them in a week, I mean I got about as much as I have been picking in a week, but in just one day of picking! So it looks like another round of tomato sauce will be in the works tonight, or perhaps tomorrow morning.

With the messed up routine that I'm trying to re-establish, my house hasn't been looking much better. I got so fed up with it that when I was thinking of going to bed last night, I just started scrubbing my kitchen, down to the floors. Then I moved into the dining room and put away all the toys and swept the floor. Then I put away all the laundry in the den, and put away all the toys in there. It was almost 1 am when I got to bed, but really, it needed to be done. With that momentum, I cleaned the basement this morning and vacuumed all the stairs and swept the hallway and stairs upstairs. I'm starting to feel like I can breathe again!

With everything put away, I'm able to crack down on putting each toy away after playing with it. It's something they're old enough to know, but have no desire to do. We will return this house to a state of normalcy and order. I am determined! Naptimes, bedtimes, toys put away! It is the sanity of mothers everywhere.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Not getting anything done

I realized I haven't posted pictures lately. So here's a few from yesterday and today.

It's not a school day for Silje, so she got to choose her clothes. That girl's got style!

David spent a lot of time playing outside yesterday while Silje was at school.

This is the only photo I got. He charged for the camera once he saw the flash.


We (all expect Knut) woke up at 8am this morning. I almost wondered if I had died and gone to heaven. It was just beautiful.

Elias has been having some sleep problems. He's been having a runny nose, but I'm thinking that's due to teething. On Sunday, he fell asleep in our arms for about 15 minutes at church. That replaced his normally 1-2 hour morning nap. In the afternoon we were at Knut's parent's house. He wouldn't fall asleep in their crib as much as I tried. He did fall asleep in my arms for about 10 minutes. When I tried to lay him down, he woke up. That 10 minutes replaced his 1-2 hour afternoon nap. We went to a Bible study that night. He almost fell asleep several times, but he didn't give in until the car ride home just before 9pm. He normally goes to sleep at night between 7-8pm.

He slept good that night, but yesterday when he woke up, he was still so over tired. He took a really early morning nap, and only for 45 minutes. Then his afternoon nap started at 11am... 2 hours early. When he woke up at 1:30, I knew he couldn't make it all afternoon. So when he started falling apart 2 hours later, I laid him down. What followed was a 2 hour struggle to get him to sleep. He was so tired, but would not give in. Picking him up did not help at all. He didn't want to eat, play, sleep, or be awake. But, he did eventually! Until David woke him up 30 minutes later.

So needless to say, I got nothing done yesterday. Even the smallest of tasks were so difficult. I'm so glad we all got some extra sleep this morning!

This morning I was telling the kids about the errands we need to do. I reminded them that we need to work on no complaining or arguing. In a voice of excitement, I said "raise your hand if you don't want to complain or argue today!" Silje raised her hand, but David didn't. I said "David, raise your hand!"

"I don't want to."
"Do you want to complain or argue today?"
"No, but I don't want to raise my hand."
"Why can't you raise your hand?"
"Because it's too hard!"
"You just raise your hand like this."
"NO!" (followed by meltdown. There was wailing and tears and beating of the chest.)

Hmmm. So much for no complaining or arguing, especially when you're complaining and arguing about not complaining and arguing. Classic.

And here's a little clip of Elias playing and grunting this morning. A little treat for Grammy to see, maybe. He can pull up to a stand now. He's a bit hoarse after his tough 2 days, so his normal grunting he does while he plays is more pronounced.