Monday, November 30, 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 only have time for one confession, but I did not keep one of the kids' Christmas presents hidden in my sewing room. If I did, I would not have removed it from the hiding spot while sewing, and set in in the den, with intentions of putting it away before the kids got up. If I did, I would not have left it out until morning, put it away, but too late because David came up to me saying "I got a new car toy!" and I didn't say "show me."

If that happened, and he couldn't find the toy (that I finally put away) and started to panic, I would not have made up some heathen story about a little elf that I had seen wondering into our house and came and took the toy back until Christmas. I did not go into detail as to the size of elf, his hair color, and the clothes that he was wearing to David, which left him angry towards all elves since. He gives dirty looks to even a picture of one. He is not convinced now that all elves are out to get his toys.

Nope. That would not happen at our house!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Chopsticks

As I was trying to figure out what was for lunch on Saturday, I was looking over Ramen noodles. (Why do I have it anyway...I don't know.) I've never served it to the kids, but I remember that growing up, we always ate Ramen with chopsticks. To this day, I can't eat them without chopsticks.

I then realized, I haven't taught my kids how to eat with chopsticks.

You see, since my mom was born and raised as a missionary kid in Japan, we were exposed to chopsticks growing up. She didn't teach us Japanese, though. Knut's dad speaks fairly fluently Norwegian, and didn't teach Knut either. I guess we both have a bilingual parent who did not pass down their bilingual-ness.


I can't remember if it was last year or the year before, but when my parents were in town, we went to a "Japanese party" at one of my mom's childhood friend's house. It was a flash back to some family get-togethers of my childhood with a full buffet of Japanese food, not a fork in sight, and people telling the punchline to jokes in Japanese. Although Knut knew some people at the party, I didn't realize that he had never eaten with chopsticks before. When he asked for a fork, the host (who is a professor in missions at a seminary near us) denied him. Knut wasn't sure what to do. All that yummy food, and having no idea how to eat it.

He put up a good effort, with some chuckles suppressed around the table. When the dessert was served, and it was some sort of custard, Knut looked at his host and said, "Now can we get silverware?" Our host denied him again, and Knut's response was "Come on!" Never had I seen him take so much time eating.

Back to our Ramen noodles, though. To get the kids excited about them, I brought out the chopsticks, and told them it's time they learned how to use them.

I don't think I was that great of a teacher, though.


In fact, the kids were pretty proud that they invented a new way to use chopsticks. I was trying to explain to them that Japanese custom of lifting the bowl to your mouth, instead of leaning over to eat. They couldn't do that with a chopstick in each hand. So we'll leave that to the next lesson, I guess. Or maybe I'll just let my mom teach them the right way when we go down for a visit this winter.

Maybe she could give Knut some more pointers too.

Stash Game Craziness

I love playing stash games. It's where my online friends and I having a sewing/knitting/crocheting/spinning contest to see who can get the most "stash" used up in a month. You usually get minus points for buying fabric/yarn/roving, and you get points for yardage, skeins, etc. You also get points for hours spent knitting/crocheting/handwork. Extra points are given to diaper related items. (Since it is a diaper sewing board, after all.)

It has long been my goal to make it to the top 3 of one of these contests, and I may make it this month. (I'm always 5th, no matter how I try!). There is not prize except for first place this time, but I don't think I can catch the person in 1st place.

But I have been busy.

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I mean, I'm making diapers for twins here. I have one color left, the periwinkle with burnt orange snaps. There are a few days left of the month. O, and I want to make the "prize" for my blog giveaway next week, and maybe work on the kids' Christmas p.j.s . There's 2 days left in the month, right? PLENTY of time. (insert eye roll here.)

Miracles of miracles, I am in 2nd place in the game, as of last night. I passed the person who was in second. (Who ironically used to work as a t.a. for one of my uncle's who is an entomology professor.) I have 475 points and she has 424. The person who is in first has 630 points. I get about 12 points a diaper, so yeah. That most likely will not happen. I am almost done with one of my nieces/nephews' baby blankets, and that will be big points (like 20-30) but I still have maybe 5 hours of knitting left. Just something else to squeeze in!

Please. Please. Don't come to my house right now. You have no idea how messy it is. There is laundry to be folded, and the kitchen floor needs to be mopped so badly! I've managed to stay on top of the dishes most of the time...but the dust is starting to stack up.

Just 2 more days, and the big cleanse can start. Until then, only visitors holding supper in their hands, offering to take my children and leave a maid are welcome. ;)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Did You Know?


that a front loader washing machine is great entertainment for a 4 year old? This kept David busy for awhile this morning as I was working on the twin diapers some more. I should tell you, though, that he was quite distraught that his underwear was wet. When you're 4, it's very important to you that your underwear stays dry. The fact that I put it in there for the purpose of getting wet was beyond him.

Giveaway Preview


This morning we got a dusting of snow. Knut was a little discouraged that it will make harvesting difficult this morning. We're both a little bummed that he won't have Thanksgiving off tomorrow. They are planning on stopping for turkey, but that's about it. They were hoping to have a good day today, so that the grain dryer would be overloaded tomorrow, buying them some time to stop and share Thanksgiving dinner with the family. With the dusting of snow, it will make "backing up" the dryer a bit more difficult. Thus, they will feel more guilty stopping tomorrow.

For those of you wondering, Knut said they are almost at the halfway point of corn harvest.


Although, the snow is beautiful! It means Christmas is around the corner. Everything feels out of whack with Christmas approaching and harvest continuing on. I don't know if I have confessed this before, but I have an addiction to Christmas music. I listen to it year round. Since my family doesn't share this passion, I restrict my Chistmas music to my sewing room, and about 90% of the time I'm in there sewing, there's Christmas music playing...year round. Last night I brought out my extended c.d. collection of Christmas music, and not just the normal stuff that I listen to year round. I'm so excited!

I don't know if any of you know a special event coming up next week. I've had it on my calender, because it's my "blogiversary." It will be 2 years since I've started the blog. I thought I'd celebrate this year by doing a giveaway. Then I found out yesterday, that my blogiversary falls on the same week as sewmamasew's giveaway day! Since I loved their giveaway day last year, I decided to sign my giveaway up as one of the hosts of their event. Basically, they'll post several blogs and sites who will be giving away things by drawing, and you can go to all of the sights and sign up for the drawings. Many of the sites are like mine...just simple blogs. Most of the giveaways are handmade, or craft supplies. Mine will be a handmade giveaway. I thought I'd give you a peek into what I will be making:

Can you guess?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sorry...

I remember growing up my sister and I had a terrible problem with saying "I'm sorry." (Not that we don't still have that problem!) We'd say "I'm sorry" over any little thing, even if we weren't near what happened at all. It used to drive our step-mom crazy. She would say "Quit sayin' you're sorry!" To which we would quickly say "Sorry! Er...oh...shoot! Sorry! I mean...*sigh*"

I was thinking of this when I was coming on her to say I was sorry for barely posting lately. There is a variety of reasons why I haven't blogged. I've had to work some writing kinks out. I've actually been writing a lot, but haven't have the nerve to post any of it. It's like when there's an elephant in the room, but the elephant is in my head. I need to write about the elephant before I write about anything else. And the elephant doesn't belong on this blog.

Fortunately, I have no blog commitments besides my own personal goals. It's not a job, and I don't get paid. I do enjoy seeing who comes on my blog, and feel like the blog is appreciated by some people. So I'll try back to climb back on the bandwagon, and share some of what I've been doing lately.

This last weekend, I not only got to see my high school roommate, (an event I sadly don't have pictures for) I got to meet a real live diaper diva. As I was dealing with my elephant, she picked up her family, and came out to visit me. They took the kids and me out to Applebee's too! She brought her husband to hang out with Knut, and her little boy to play with my kids.
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Driving from 2 hours away just for me really touched me. Some of you may remember this package sent to me from one of the divas. That was Libby, who came to visit. In this picture, we were playing with muffin tins and buttons, a fun activity I learned from Knut's great-grandma. It's one of the kids' favorite things to do. All these visits with friends have been so refreshing!

I was also fortunate enough to get in on being a pattern tester for one of the diaper diva's new up and coming patterns. This pattern is meant to not only be put on and off like a regular diaper, but pulled up and down like underwear. I thought that would be just the thing for David, as night times are difficult as he wakes up to go to the bathroom, takes his diaper off, and goes to bed sans diaper. Then he wakes up wet. This is the pattern in progress by Sam, of Little Comet Tails, which was my very first diaper pattern purchase. I've bought, all and all, 3 of her patterns, and was given this one as a part of being a tester.
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It's a really good fit, and we're going to try it out tonight!
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Later today, I was chosen to be a part of a different diaper pattern testing from a different diva that is for a "cloth Pull-up" for lack of a better title. That testing won't start until the new year, though.

I don't have pictures of the baby blanket in progress, but that's almost done. I'll have to post a picture when it's done. Other than that, we've just been busy during this harvest time, and sorely miss having Knut around. We're grateful he has work, but we miss him too! Hopefully one of these days I can send the kids somewhere, and go riding on the tractor with him for a few hours.

Friday, November 20, 2009

How To Cook A Turkey

I love stuff like this. This is not my own writing, but I am merely sharing what Silje brought home from kindergarten today. Her teacher asked "How do you cook a turkey" and printed the responses from all of the kids in the class. Since it's only first names, I suppose it would be okay to share. Thank you Mrs. B for doing this, as it had me giggling for awhile!

So, how do you cook a turkey?

Anders: Get a turkey from the grocery store. Put it in the oven. Then after that, we get it all greased up. Then we cut it up. Then we eat it!

Joey: Put it in the oven in a pan. Put sandwich stuff with it. Cook it for ten minutes.

Kelsi: Add feathers to a turkey. Cover up the turkey with feathers to cook it. Put it in the oven for four minutes. It's done when it "beeps". Then we eat it.

Ellie: Go in the woods to get it. Take it out in a barrel. Take off the feathers. Wash it and cook it in the oven for thirty. Put it on a plate and cut it and eat it.

Lacie: I would put it in the oven. I would cut it up when it is done. It cooks for a long time. Check on it to see if it's done.

Anna: Roast it, in a pan, cook on stove. Cook for two seconds. You know it's done when it "beeps". Take it out. Put these things in it and some juice on it. Then bring it outside on picnic table. Invite all the family members and eat it.

Madison: Get turkey from the store. Cook it in the oven for ten minutes. Eat it.

Kellen: Big food. Make the body. Put it in a pan and put it in the oven. It cooks for fifteen minutes. Then eat it.

Sophie: Cook it. You would have gloves to put it in. It might burn your bare hands. Then put it in the oven. Let it cook for maybe ten minutes. Take it out and eat it.

Owen: Shoot some turkey. Bring it home. Chop it up. Cook it. Then eat it. Put it in a pan. Then mush it up like a big big hamburger. Then put it in the microwave for ten minutes.

Ben: You need a stove and a turkey. And you put it in the stove and you cook it for fifty minutes. Then you eat it.

Katie: Cut it. Get the skin and throw it away. We put it in a pan and cook it in the over for eighteen. Then we eat it!

Julian: Maybe put some pepper and some salt. Then cook it in the oven. The put some oil on it. That's all I would do, cook it for maybe twenty minutes. Then I would just eat it.

Alexander: Maybe some salt or pepper put some applesauce on it, or maybe putting milk and potatoes on it. Put it in the oven without a pan. Take it out in one half hour and then eat it!

Lindsey: Put it in the oven for ninety minutes. When it's all done let it cool off and eat it. It's going to be a good turkey!

Kacee: Get a turkey from a barn. Put it in a big pot. Then cook it on the stove for twenty hours. It's done when the stove goes "beep". Then take it out and cut it up and then eat.

Katelyn: Put it in the oven in a pan. When it's done we would eat it. It's done when the timer beeps.

Carter: Get a turkey from the store. Put it in a pan and cook it in the oven. Cooks for twenty-five minutes. Our mom will let us know when it's done. Cut it up and eat.

Annelise: We would make it with feathers. Putting it on a pan, and then put salt on it and cut it up. Put it in the oven for, like, one hour.

Ethan: Put it in hte pan and put it on the stove. Cook for four minutes. It is done when it "beeps".

Jenaya: Go hunting. Cook it on the stove in a pan. Cook it for one minute.

Silje: I would, like, boil it for ten minutes. Put in carrots. It's done when it "beeps". That's how our oven works. I think that would be all.

Zayne: Cut it up and put it in the oven. Then you can eat it. Cook it like, an hour. It is done when it "beeps".

Abeni: Help my mom. Salt and pepper, put it in the oven. Set the timer for five to ten minutes. Wait for it till it "beeps" and give hot pads to mom. Then bring it outside.

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So do you think Silje has seen me make turkey broth with a turkey carcass before? Also, I'm wondering how many kids in her class have dads who hunt. I have to say, besides my lovely Silje, "Owen's" answer was my favorite.

Elias' One Year Stats

Elias had his doctor appointment today, and weighed in at 25 lbs, and 30 inches long. His weight is continuing to follow a curve, but his height jumped from the steady 25th percentile to the 50th percentile. No other big changes other than that! He continues to be such a healthy little boy, and very active!

Again, sorry about the blogging absence this week. If I were to get into detail about it, it would probably go on and on for pages. Maybe sometime I'll have time to talk all of what's been happening, but for now I'm just experiencing it. I'll have to process it out to you all later. And I know I NEED to put some kid pictures up soon! You must all be starved by the absence of my adorable children's pictures...I know.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Whew!

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Color #2 of my nieces' diapers is complete. It is apricot with hot pink snaps. I loved working with this color because it reminded me of my old peaches 'n cream Barbie doll whose dress was this exact color. (disclaimer: it was actually my sister's peaches 'n cream doll that was somewhere along the line passed down to me. I think she was both of our favorites!)

Sorry I've been a bit too busy to blog lately! If I have a moment, I'll finish editing one of the 3-4 "reflection" posts that are almost ready to post. I'm just having too much fun enjoying birthday parties and sewing, and knitting, and after all--we are in the throws of harvest now! With Knut being gone all day and most of the evening, I'm having to take over some of the things he normally gets done, or at the very least, have less help with my chores!

But harvest will be over eventually, and we praise God that we ARE harvesting! Finally! If I was a bit more disciplined, I bet I could keep up with it better, but as I'm not, posting might be touch and go for the next few weeks. Hang in there, because I am!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Happy Birthday Elias!

They say you mellow out with the more children you have. To an extent, I think that's true! We had a very small birthday party for Elias, with 4 great-grandparents, 2 grandparents, 1 aunt, 1 uncle, 2 cousins (and one in-utero) and of course, Elias' siblings and parents. Way smaller than any other 1st birthday party I've ever thrown, but I don't think Elias minded much. In fact, I think he wasn't used to that much attention!


Here's Silje with one of her great-grandpas...sporting the party hats!


Elias with Grandpa, and the plain chocolate cake. Again, I'm in was in the mood for simple.

One of my favorite part of a first birthday party is always the first piece of cake.

Hmmm, this looks interesting...


Seriously, you're not stopping me yet?


The pictures just get better and better as time goes on!


He was very proud of himself, and enjoyed his cake immensely!


I love this picture of Elias and his cousin, Kaeden, both so hard at work!


Opening his gifts was interesting, as he had lots of, well we'll call them "helpers." Although, I sometimes wonder if "vultures" would be a better word. As Elias gets so few things that aren't just the cast offs of his older siblings, I felt very protective of this event for him. I wanted him to feel the wrapping paper, and play with the boxes. I wanted him to examine each gift, before they were snatched out of his hands. He wouldn't have minded. That's pretty normal for him. But on his birthday, I wanted him to be able to enjoy every part.

So here's an expert of what you would have heard from my lips if you had walked into the gift opening:

No. There you go Elias, tear this part here. David! David, don't open that present either.
Elias is opening this one now. Yes I know you want to help but don't touch the presents. Knut, can you help me here? Look, it's a shirt Elias! Yes, that puppy is soft on there. Does it taste good? Now look at what Aunt Rondi and Uncle Chris got you! David back up. No, back up more. Silje, no, you cannot help. When he needs your help, I'll tell you. OOOOooo, is this a fun toy? Yes, we'll have to open that. David, it's not yours. Silje, back up too. This is Elias' toy. He gets one toy that he gets to play for a little while by himself. No, back up. Knut, do you want to get that out of the packaging for me? Here, Elias, look at this card. That's fun, isn't it? This tissue paper makes a funny sound, huh? David, no. Don't touch the tissue paper. This is Elias' tissue paper. Silje, you're sitting nice, do you want to help him a little? No, honey, help him, don't grab it from him.

In hindsight, I ought to have tied the other children up and gagged them before this part of the party. Well, live and learn.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Soy Beans Are Done!

I am thrilled to let you know that 11:30 last night, Knut came home. He had been working, stopping home only to eat about 2 times a day for 38 hours straight. (He did eat more than 2 times a day of course, but he only came home that often!) I think he was still buzzed a bit from his coffee, because if I came home after a 38 hour shift, I'd be sleeping on the first soft piece of furniture that my path crossed. Knut, however, took a shower, talked with me as I was cleaning up the kitchen, brought wood pellets in for the furnace downstairs, and then headed to bed.

Now that the soy beans are done, focus can be turned to the corn--covering the other half of our land. From what I've gathered, corn harvest is when they really push hard because they can. Morning dew, light rains, and even a bit of snow does not stop them. Wet corn does not cause the same problems that wet soy beans do. So why didn't they just do the corn first this year during all the rain? Because we had such a cool summer that the corn simply wasn't mature enough to harvest. With the extra late harvest, it's now ready.

Normally they come home at night during soy bean harvest because there's nothing else to be done. (Them working through the night on the soybeans this week was the first of my short memory that I remember that happening. However there was a decent wind going on at the time, enabling them to continue on.)

During corn harvest, though, the night does not stop them. However, they can't work round the clock for days on end, so what they have done in the past is take 4 hour "sleep shifts" every day--Monday through Saturday. That way the harvesting doesn't stop at night...but I'm sure it does slow down a bit as everyone isn't on the field at the same time.I'm so grateful that they are one of the few farms left who don't work on Sundays. It truly becomes a day of rest this time of year.

And speaking of Sundays, this Sunday will be a special day in our house, because my little baby is turning 1. It's hard to believe that a whole year has passed by! It still feels like we just left the NICU. The next coming weeks I'm bringing Elias back up to the city he was helicoptered to after he was born, so that the same specialists that saw him there can do a "check up"of sorts. He still has his 1 year check up with our doctor here, too, as the specialists will be looking for more specific things. And of course, when we're up there I'm going to try to get Elias' one year portraits done. Life hasn't slowed down yet!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Book Review: Three Cups of Tea

Here's a post I've been working on for those who like to read.

I spent a lot of time studying literature in college. That was my major. Ironically, reading is what I spend almost the least amount of my day doing now. In the last few years, I've made a bigger attempt to get some reading done, and I don't mean Dr. Seuss.

My most recent book that I've finished is "Three Cups of Tea" by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. (I know books are supposed be underlined, but I don't know how to underline on here!) It is Greg Mortenson's story, and David Oliver Relin is the writer who really tells it.

I chose this book because I've really had in interest in books pertaining to the middle east, and Muslim culture in general lately. Previously I read "Reading Lolita in Tehran" which was amazing, but alas, not the book that I'm reviewing now.

Also, I've heard so much about this book. It was the #1 New York Times bestseller, and I've been seeing people making comments on facebook and the like. So I picked it up last Christmas...and am just finishing it now. That is my life now.

In summary, it's about a Mr. Mortenson who is a avid climber, and in an attempt to summit K2 (a mountain in the same area as Everest, and although not as tall, much more difficult) he happened upon a tucked away village. The children had no school, and attempted their lessons by scratching things in the dirt. Moved by these people, he returns to America, penniless, but determined to raise enough money to build this village a school. In an uphill struggle, he raises the money, builds the school, and in the process, begins an organization that builds schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The book had a very gripping opening. With the summit in view, he has to turn back to save the life of a friend, and in the process gets lost and has to spend the night on the treacherous mountain without all his equipment. He had to break the ice forming over his nose and mouth, suffocating him while he slept. I was totally hooked.

This was followed by suspenseful adventures of his kidnapping, encounters with the Taliban, encounters with war, and fearing for his life on several occasions. It was fairly well rounded, though, in painting him as human, and not superhuman. For instance, he seemed to have trouble delegating, and when his organization was expanding much faster than he could keep up with, he obviously had a tough transition.

What is so stirring about this book is the view it takes on charity, religion, and politics. First, the basic premise of separating charity from religion. He was only successful in his work because he made no attempt to convert the people there, and even, on many occasions, prayed with them, reciting their creed to Mohammad. He had a respect for their faith, and in turn, they respected him.

While I respect the work that he has done, I can't help but feel an undertone of condemnation and frustration with charities that do preach the gospel. What "Christians" couldn't do, a "pagan" could. It does not allow for the differences in purpose of organizations. It's like when people sued eHarmony for not connecting gay couples. Well, that wasn't eHarmony's purpose, or business. There are other businesses that do that. In the same way, don't slam a charity that has a different purpose than your own. Maybe the reason other charities weren't successful in building schools in that area is because that's not their purpose.

There was a hole, though, that Mortenson's organization filled, and I am glad for it. However, I do not think I could bring myself to practice parts of the Islamic religion, like Mortenson did, in order to accomplish that. I felt sorry for him, as a missionary kid, totally not understanding what Christianity is about. He was open to whatever, and that floating around makes me sad, although, not angry at him.

Politically, though, there are so many things to discuss! First I'll go for his stance on focusing on educating girls. I like this. I am by no means a feminist, but that is terribly lacking in that country, and the fact is, an educated man is an educated man. But an educated woman is an educated family.

As women are the primary caregivers for children in this culture, these women are given access to heath information, and they learn to read, which we could then assume the children would learn to read sooner, etc. It benefits the whole culture there to have women educated, because the women are the primary caregivers in the family! It's a plan that has exponential benefits.

Then there's Mortenson's obvious problem with the Bush administration. As a Bush supporter, I have to admit, this got old quick. Some of his concerns were valid, and I appreciated his insight, and my mind was changed as far as seeing why what the Bush administration made a wrong move here or there. Some of the criticisms were well thought out and explained well.

However, some of his disgust with the administration was laughable. For instance, Mortenson was for the war, until he saw that civilians were getting hurt in the process. Now, I understand, Mortenson saw these people first hand, and there's a deep emotional response to that. But come on...please tell me about a war where there are no civilian casualties. I have never heard of one. That's what makes war so ugly. That's what makes war so awful. You liked the idea of war until you found out innocent people were getting hurt? Do he understand the definition of war?

To me, it was not surprising that innocent people were getting hurt. I hate that there were refugees, and that people lost limb and life. I am not saying that should be taken lightly. But please do not say "let's bomb the Taliban" and not think for a second that these people who we are bombing have families, and homes, and villages, and schools where children are being indoctrinated. All of those are getting bombed. It's war. I remember well the climate in this country after 9/11 and the call to war supported by both parties. Then people start complaining about people dying. It makes me scratch my head. We weren't going to drop water balloons on them. What did people expect?

Other than taking every opportunity to slam Bush and Rumsfeld even when it was not appropriate, or completely out of context sometimes, it was one of the most intelligent criticisms of the Bush administration that I've read. I don't mind criticisms, I just can't stand stupidity. I learned a lot about the culture and climate in that part of the world, and that education, I believe, is beneficial.

I'm still a conservative, but I am a conservative that loves good intelligent discussion, and this book, for the most part, gave lots of food for thought.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Harvest Update


I had a different post written for today, but when I saw them combining the field that is adjacent to our front yard, I thought I'd post some pics for all those who have been praying for us during harvest. I can't tell you how relieved I am that I won't have to stare at those soy beans all winter long. Knut told me this morning that they have about 500 acres of soy beans left. That's about 1/4 of the soy bean crop. A big improvement! There is rain forecasted for Thrusday, Friday, and Saturday, and 500 acres is about a week of good harvest days left, so they're pushing their limits to get as much in before the rain comes again. With corn, they can harvest 24 hours a day, and often do. But with soy beans, it gets difficult to harvest as the night dew falls down, so they do need to stop at night. However, Knut hasn't been getting home till 11pm or so.

The whole yard is noisy and almost in constant motion. The grain leg is a noisy hub of activity now as grain is being poured into the bins after it is harvested and dried. In other bins, grain is being moved out as the seed company that we work with is coming to pick some up. From what I gather, the germination tests proved the dried soybeans to be "tolerable." (That's the word Knut used.) As we have just a few days left of sunshine, the guys are using every moment possible to harvest, and there simply isn't any time to deliver the seed. So the seed company is picking it up. There are semi's going past our house every few minutes. Both our semis that are bringing the grain in from the fields, and the seed company's semi's that have been waiting patiently for their product.

With all the hub, Knut told David he couldn't ride his bike in the driveway today, which crushed David. So Knut took him with, and David is now riding on the combines until naptime.

What a sight for sore eyes! I love seeing a combine on the horizon! They are trying to dig up the soy bean fields as fast as they can behind the harvest, with priority over harvesting the corn right now. The reason for that being the soy bean fields now are going to be corn fields next year. The corn has such a long maturity time, and every day matters in the spring and summer. A dug up field will warm faster in the spring, allowing them to plant the corn this spring on time--which is vital.

Still, the corn in the fields now is waiting. It is exciting to almost be at the halfway point of harvest...even though normally, harvest would be completely done at this point!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Cars don't have accidents

So a little background for this "kids say the darndest things" moment that brought Knut and I to tears with laughter:

When I was growing up, we drove around in a gold Chevette that we named "Betsy." I know. What's with me and naming machines? I think that I had a coloring book about a ballerina named Betsy, and I thought she was so beautiful, and that's where we got the name for the gold Chevette. When we (Knut and I) had our Sebring, she was certainly not a "Betsy" and Knut never let me name her. :( But when we got our minivan, I started calling her Betsy.

On a side note, the kids wanted to name Knut's work truck too, and I thought of "Clifford" because it's big and red. Knut gave a big thumbs down on that one.

So as we go around town, we look for our "Betsy" in the parking lot, and Betsy sometimes goes fast or slow. The kids like to talk about Betsy.

This evening we were at a small group meeting from people from church, and left at a time that was late for all the kids, so they were a bit tired and foggy. It was, of course, dark out, and they didn't like that the lights inside the car were turned off when we were driving. After David continually whined about this, I said:

"David, you don't want Betsy to have an accident do you?"
"No."
"Well, we can't keep the lights on inside the car when we're driving because it's not safe. Betsy could get in an accident."

He thought about that, and then said "Yeah, we don't want Betsy to go potty all over the road and make a big mess!"

Knut and I shamelessly laughed over this for quite some time. Poor David. Finally, I explained that cars don't go potty. When they get in an accident, it's like a crash.

"But mommy, do they leak a little when they crash?"
"Not usually." (more muffled laughter)
"But, how do cars go potty?"
"They don't David."

Ah...kids are awesome.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Another Sewing Machine!

So, my primary sewing machine is Sassy Pfaffy. She's got a built in walking foot built for "4 wheel drive" sewing as the dealer called it. I just love her. Then, I got Selma. She's a retired machine, who we keep around for her good looks. (We cleaned her up a bit!) Then, at a garage sale, I got this machine, who I'm trying to remember if I named. I'm pretty sure I would have remembered deciding on a name for her. Well, I'm going to have to expedite the naming process for her, because another one is on the way.

I know, I said no more new machines for awhile. Actually, I think I said that I wasn't going to be buying anymore machines. I'm getting this one for free!

That's right...free.

Well, FFS which means Free For Shipping. I have to pay for shipping to me. But that's not paying for the machine, that's paying for shipping. A reputable diaper diva posted last week that she upgraded her serger, and offered to give her starter serger to a fellow diva...FFS. She estimated the shiping to be $20 or so. So she ran a quick drawing, and guess who won. Me!

It's a Brother 1034d which is basically the cheapest Walmart serger.

But it's a serger. And it's only 2 years old. And it's free.

So what do you think for as a name? "Sergio" is the first thing that comes to mind, but I don't know if I want to let a male machine into my sewing space. I'm going to have to think on that one, and I am very open to suggestions.

I'll definitely be posting pictures when it arrives!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Teaching Moments

This evening, Knut called saying he was going to stop in for supper in about 30 minutes, and I had to get something ready. The boys were being loud, and the fire in the fireplace needed some help before I lost the flame all together, and I needed to get the chicken in the oven, and my kitchen was a mess.

Knut and I had talked about moments like this last night. These moments when I can tend to melt down. It's something I'm working on. As we digressed from my stressful moments, I said that Silje and David are getting old enough to be of some real help. Not just the 2 year old "pretend" help that is actually the opposite of helpful, but actual help. Knut is always much better at letting the kids dry the dishes while he washes them. I've just gotten in the habit of doing them myself. I mentioned to Knut, that when Silje is 7 or so, she might be able to wash the dishes herself.

He rolled his eyes and said "she's ready now, Gretchen, you just need to let her."

He was right. I don't let the kids help me much because I struggle with being a perfectionist. Don't laugh. I know I'm messy, but I like things done a certain way, and so when I do something, I want it done right. That sometimes means that other things don't get done. It's something I'm working on because I know my kids need to learn this stuff. I just feel when I'm teaching them how to do chores, I get really snappy, and then give up. I'm not always as encouraging and inspiring as I wish I were.

So in my moment of madness tonight, I called to Silje who was coloring in the other room, and asked if she would come and see me when she was done with what she was working on. It was barely a minute, when she came in the kitchen and asked how she could help. (That alone is awesome.)

I asked if she would work on the dishes while I cook. She looked at me and said "you need some dried?" I said, no, I would like her to wash them, and I would show her how. You would have thought I told her her we're going to Disneyland. She couldn't believe she was finally old enough.

It didn't take long for her to push a chair up to the sink, and was more than ready to work.

I showed her how to work the faucet, and how to pick the right temperature. I showed her how to add the soap, and thought she could start out with the silverware. I showed her the scrub pad I like to use, and the washcloth Daddy likes to use, and told her she should try both, and see which way fits her best. She felt so independent.

She started with the silverware, and then went to the glasses, and then the plates. She worked with such care, and had so much fun. It wasn't even a few minutes in when we realized she needed her hair in a big floppy bun, and she wanted her work apron on, as she was getting wet pretty fast.

I asked her to redo a few dishes that I didn't think got clean enough. I didn't want her to just swish the water around. If she's going to learn, she might as well learn how to do it right. After I pointed out another dish to be redone, she had the look of discouragement. I told her it was just her first time and she was still learning! I was expecting it to not be perfect, because it wasn't perfect time, it was practice time. Her chest puffed up again.

She added too much soap, and had lots of fun with the results from that too.

I asked her to leave the knives and the cheese grater for me to wash, but she got them all done besides that, and was so excited! We talked as she worked on the dishes, and I was putting supper together, occasionally adding more dishes to her pile. She was so proud of herself as she sat down to eat, and was telling David all about her new status. He was so jealous.

She hung her wet apron on a cupboard door. I should have gotten pictures of the other part, but like I said, it was a busy time.


Can I just say that I love this age. With all the work that goes undone around here everyday, I feel like Silje doing the dishes was such a breath of fresh air. I know she won't always like doing the dishes, and may not even like doing them tomorrow. It's just nice that they are getting to the age of genuine help. Not only that, but we worked alongside each other and talked. That was a memory I'm going to treasure for a long time.

I know my mom will be laughing, as she knows better than anyone how much I hate doing dishes. I just can't believe that maybe I'll have someone else to wash dishes when I'm cooking maybe once a day from now on. I know she won't wash everything, and she will need help, and the bulk of this chore will probably still be in my corner. But Silje genuinely took part of my burden tonight, and that feels so refreshing.

Part of me feels guilty for using her in that way. What can I say...we moms can't really do anything without a little bit of guilt --especially when it benefits us in any way. However, when I look at her face, and see the accomplishment that she felt and the way she just sat a bit taller at supper helps me know that this is right.

MMMmmm...pumpkin!

Did you know that my sweet husband spent most of the evening last night baking a pumpkin cheesecake from actual pumpkins?


And the crowds rejoice:

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Pumpkin Pie and Other Fallish Things

This last weekend we started digging into our pumpkin pile, and preparing the pumpkins for pies, bread, and spreads. O, and I found a pumpkin cheesecake recipe too! So the pumpkins were cut, baked, pureed, cooled, etc. Things got really busy, though, and by Monday night, we still had not made anything.

Monday was an "off" day for me, for the silly reason that I had to go into town to run some errands, and I normally don't go on Mondays. So all the things I normally didn't get done on Monday didn't fully get done. On top of that, the kids were still on a Halloween candy high. So by the time they went to bed Monday night, I'll admit, I was a grump.

Knut tried to turn my eyes to the fact that making a pumpkin pie together that night would be loads of fun, but I was thinking of the diapers I wanted to work on, and the stuff I'd like to do. I had just finished cleaning the kitchen, and I didn't feel like dirtying it all over again. He was so persistent, though, that I said if he made the filling, I'd make the crust. So away we went.

I was rolling out the crust with a slight headache and a bad attitude, and Knut was cheerfully discovering each new spice with enthusiasm. He had never used some of the spices before and wanted to know everything I knew about each one, like what other things they're used in, etc.

Then he went downstairs to work out, and asked if I'd babysit the fire in our new fireplace, as it was having difficulty taking off that night. I was again annoyed, because I just wanted to sit on the computer. So I picked up some knitting, and moved into the living room. I had to work with the fire, and then wash my hands before returning to my work several times. By the time Knut was done with his work out, I was still pretty grumpy.

Knut tried to cheer me up again by asking if I wanted to have some pie with him. It did sound good, so I said sure. He came back a few minutes later with the news: "Um, Gretchen, I guess I was so excited about the spices, that I forgot to put the sugar in." He insisted that if we just sprinkle sugar on top, it would be fine, but I didn't think so. I did try some of his the next day, and it really wasn't bad with sugar on top. The aftertaste just wasn't as sweet.

Yesterday I was in a better attitude, but I started eating a bunch of roasted pumpkin seeds, and I think they started messing with my system. I don't even like them that much, but you start crunching one, and you keep eating them all the while thinking "these are alright, but not that great. This is going to be my last handful...well, maybe I'll have a few more since I'm the only one who seems to be eating them." I had a tummy ache all day, and the pumpkin seeds are all I can think of to blame for that. So that's why there was no post yesterday! I was not inspired.

And here is my current knitting project. I've put my sweater aside because I think it's turning out too short, and in order to fix it, I need to undo about 15 rows of stitches. I'm kinda bummed about that, so I'm putting it aside until I get the momentum to fix it. Hopefully it won't be set aside for too long.

This will be a blanket for one of my nieces/nephews on the way. I won't say who, but I do have a particular one in mind.

Isn't this skein of yarn huge! It's the biggest one I've ever seen. It's supposed to do a whole baby blanket. Knut and I have nicknamed it the rugby ball. I'm knitting it on a circular needle which is why it's not laying flat now. Once it leaves the needles it will.

I'm doing the whole thing in seed stitch, which I'm hoping will result in a thin textured, but elegant and reversible blanket that I'm thinking about putting a satin ribbon boarder around. I know it will take awhile, but this is already 1 1/2 nights of work on it. It may take a month or so, but it will so be worth it.

I'm knitting it in a baby acrylic yarn. I'll have to admit, I'm becoming a yarn snob as acrylic just doesn't feel the same as the wool or bamboo or cotton I've been working with lately. It is much to expensive to make a baby blanket out of one of those, and I've always made them in acrylic before. I'm just trying to imagine the yarn into being some divine blend of wool/silk or cotton/bamboo. That would, multiply the project cost by at least 10, so my imagination will just have to suffice.

I'm competing in another "stash game" on diaper divas message board where we see who can get the most stuff done in a month. I've never won, but have come in the top 5 before. My goal this time is to make it to the top 3. So with the game going on, you may be seeing a bunch more craftiness posted than normal. Sewing, knitting, crocheting, and "spinning" (which I don't have a spinning wheel) count in this game. I get points for each hour knitting, so while I finish up the diapers, which will be my big points, I can keep the points coming with the knitting.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Social Life

I was reflecting last night once again, about how I've changed since we've moved to the farm. I was at a Bible Study last night, and sat on a couch next to a friend of mine, who blesses me so much. During the video, I just wanted to snuggle up next to her, because she's just that appealing, but I held back. It used to be, with girls at least, that wouldn't scare me so much. I don't know if it's just when you're in jr. and sr. high that it's cool to be close. If it were my sister, though, I'm sure we would have been giving a back rub and not thinking of any awkwardness.

It's another one of those things where I wonder if it's that I'm realizing I'm a grown up, or adjusting once again to the culture here. I want to reflect on that, but first I want to clarify that I am not thinking about any one person, or church, or group when expressing some of Knut and my heartache since moving back. I think, as a whole, it's the culture.

Knut and I had both lived here before we had gotten married, so we both felt we knew the area and the people well. When we moved to the big city to go to college, and decided to stay there for a few years, it was always our intention to move back. Still, we weren't close to family there, and fortunately, in the big city, there were lots of other people who weren't close to family. In the city, your friends are your family. They're your babysitters, your emergency contact, the people you call when you need someone to pick you up after an accident. They're the people you invite to your kids' birthday parties.

Back in the country, though, we learned the hard way, that just isn't so. In the country, your family is your family. Reaching out for friendships gets frustrating pretty quick.

Knut and I had more friends than we could handle in the city. When we moved back, that was without doubt the hardest part. We knew God was leading us, but we had formed such close bonds, that we felt like our heart was ripping out when we drove away. Even now, we have difficulty visiting our old church without having to overcome sadness for a few weeks following. That's why the last few years when we've been in the city, we leave Saturday night, so we don't have a chance to constantly look back.

Maybe it was that starting from scratch is always tough. We didn't think we'd be starting from scratch, since we knew so many people, but we really did. When we tried calling all the people we knew, those people were always busy. When we got together with people, and started to share our hearts about some very difficult family issues that had been laid before us, there was discomfort, and silence.

We reasoned that friendships aren't built in a day, and waited, and kept trying. After we reached the 2 year mark, we began to wonder if there was something wrong with us. I remember Knut and I trying hard to critique each other. "Is my breath bad?" "Do I talk too much?" "Am I boring?" "Do I try to go too deep to fast?" It was difficult because we have a blunt enough marriage that if any of these things were true, we'd have told the other person long before. It usually ended up with answering "no." or "yeah, but I like that about you." The whole situation, however, made us doubt our ability to hold a deep friendship. The kind of friendship that you can talk about your deepest struggles, and highest joys, and really have that person care about those things. We kept reminding ourselves "We used to have friends. We are capable of having friends!"

We began to pray about it, as foolish as we felt. God, give us some friends. It's amazing, how some started lining up!

What I find myself still struggling with, even after God has started giving us some sweet people, is constantly wondering is something is wrong with me. The friendships are growing, but I find myself saying all the time "I know, I'm weird." I feels self conscience about my diaper making, my love of sewing, or even my child raising theories. I've become so afraid of offending someone, or making someone feel lesser because they don't do things like me.

I never used to be that way. If I used to be very offensive, this would be a good change. However, I don't think I was. It leaves me holding back in speaking the truth, or holding back in talking about my interests. I've become so self conscience. I'm hoping, though, that as we grow with the friends we have, this problem will reverse itself. My friend, Carolyn, is constantly telling me when I say "I know, I'm a dork..." "Gretchen, no, you're not." It makes me feel a little bit more at ease in my own skin again.

I guess that's why I've enjoyed this blog so much. I can practice being real again, without seeing the faces on the other side of the computer. I can practice talking about the things I think. It's amazing how many friends I have made through this blog. Although I know I need to be a bit guarded on here, since it involves my kids. I try not to talk about where we live. I think that's at least a safe start. Most people who read this blog, though, probably know that.

I don't know if you know this, but next month, my blog will be turning 2. I'm thinking about doing something fun to celebrate that, and to show my appreciation to those who read my blog, and have been such an encouragement to me. So be looking for...something in the next month!