Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Dr. Appointments

I've had doctor appointments so much lately, I feel like I whip out my insurance card faster than my debit card. I saw a doctor yesterday who was willing to do the surgery next week (when we were planning on being back home) but my mom's best girl friend is a surgical nurse, and did not recommend that doctor. However, she did get some strings pulled to see a great doctor, who I saw today. He's willing to fit a surgery in, but is unwilling to the surgery without getting one test result back...which may be until next week. This test gives them a number basically telling the likely hood of this tumor having anything cancer related. So far, my chances of this ovarian tumor being cancerous is about 1.5%. If my numbers from that bloodwork are high, he'll want a gyn-oncologist present at the surgery, to make sure nothing is missed. Not a very high chance, but high enough for them to be extra cautious.

So we're on standby, trying to figure out what to do. We may just have the surgery back home after all. Waiting that long puts me in no danger, but I am getting quite uncomfortable. The good doctor I saw this morning said he would set his staff to try to push that lab work as fast as possible, and if it comes back in time, regardless of the results, we'll have the surgery down here. If the results don't come back in time for us to leave, we might just leave.

At least we're at the point where we can make more "fun" plans down here. I'm going to my Grandma's tonight for supper, and tomorrow I hope I'll get to visit with a friend at the park. Plus, I've been going to doctor appointments early in the morning, which has allowed me the beautiful sight of seeing the hot air balloons that freckle the Arizona sunrise this time of the year. I keep forgetting how beautiful a sight it can be. Sometimes 10 or more of these upsidedown teardrop shapes of all colors and at various heights are up in the cool of the morning. But, I digress.

Last night Knut and I got to go out for a movie. (We saw "Avatar" in 3D) It was fun to watch the movie, but I just haven't been myself. I find myself developing a bad attitude towards having to have surgery. To put it plainly, I don't wanna. I don't want to go under, I don't want the recovery time. I don't like any of this. The alternative to surgery is dying, and that sounds less pleasant, so surgery it is. I know I should be grateful for modern medicine, and how quick and easy this surgery is going to be. As much as I'm pushing for an as soon as possible surgery, I really don't want it.

What I am looking forward to, is feeling like I can do stuff again, feeling no more pain, and being able to run around and wrestle my kids again.

OK, shall I be really honest? I know in the past I talked about the elephant in the room I was dealing with. It was so close to home, and so raw, I didn't feel right about blogging about it. But it's been awhile, it's no longer raw, so I will. Just before Thanksgiving, I had a miscarriage. I was not very far along, but we knew about the pregnancy, and were thrilled.

I had never miscarried before, and I felt so lost as to what to do. If I were to describe my emotions, it would be "disoriented". It was not the plan to lose the baby. Obviously. I wasn't sure how to grieve, who to tell, who not to tell. I wasn't sure how to handle it.

I went to the doctor to confirm the miscarriage. As they confirmed by ultrasound that yes, I was losing the baby, they also found a strange looking cyst on one of my ovaries. They wanted me to come back in a month, and see if it resolved itself or not. Obviously, it grew by leaps and bounds and is now causing problems and being called "tumor".

Honestly, after a couple weeks, I felt as though I had processed the miscarriage. Yes, I will always have that empty space, but I just couldn't live in a sad state anymore. I was done with sad. Not done with missing the baby, but done with sad. Dealing with this cyst/tumor/stupid thing makes my stomach feel like the size it should be if I were still pregnant. It makes me go in and feel out paperwork at doctor's offices, and saying out loud the word "miscarriage" over and over and over again.

It didn't help that the first "bad" doctor that I saw down here said I shouldn't even be thinking about having any more kids because we are not a wealthy family. Anymore kids, he said, and we won't be able to afford college or Disneyland.

So yeah, I've been having an attitude problem. Fortunately, my family is overwhelmingly understanding, and have allowed me rest and offer endless encouragement. Really, though, I'm so done being sad. I want to leave sad behind. I just don't want this dragged out anymore, you know?

At the same rate that I seem to be checking my attitude, this problem is getting more physically painful, which presents a challenge. I could use your continued support and prayers that this cyst/tumor/stupid thing can be removed quickly. I know I'm throwing myself a little pity party here, but writing for me is a part of my process of dealing with things. I'm not sure whether or not it's appropriate to share before the world like this, but I'm past caring about that. For those who read my blog, and believe in the power of prayer, I'd ask that you pray that God intervenes, and I'll be able to have the surgery this week before going home. If that's not God's will, I'd pray God would give me the grace to endure it a little while longer.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Happy Things

Drum roll please....

We have lost a tooth. On Christmas Day, Silje lost her first tooth. Lucky girl had Santa Clause and the Tooth Fairy visit her in consecutive nights.

Her permanent tooth has already started growing in behind it before it fell out, and the tooth on the bottom next to it is days/hours away from falling out as well, with another tooth growing behind it as well.

With my parents missing most milestones for my kids, being so far away, I was so glad that Silje's first tooth fell out here, so that we could all celebrate together.

I finally decided that the Tooth Fairy would bring her one dollar for the tooth. It was tricky to decide, since we were fully aware that we were setting the price for all the future missing teeth in the family. My mom used to get a dime for her teeth. I used to get a quarter, so a dollar doesn't seem so little. Silje was just thrilled.

This little guy is staying so busy here. He's finally warming up to his surroundings and to Grammy and Papa. He really really likes their walker, and walks wherever he pleases in their one level house. He likes to race David, and he can now turn around and is getting really good really fast.

Santa brought Silje Disney princess checkers. This was her first game with Daddy.

Today Elias ventured out to ride Eeyore. Mostly David has been riding him, but as Elias is getting better and better with the walker, we tried him out here and he did just great!

Take a look at the things kids get to do at Grammy's house. For some strange reason, we don't do finger paints at home. This was a fun project that the kids did OUTSIDE today, with aprons on. It was washable paints, but I can't tell you the stains my kids have on clothes from "washable" paints.

It was like they were in heaven.

The funny thing about finger paints, though, is that they don't really paint objects. They just love mixing the paints together and feeling it, more than designing with it.

Grammy had a hand washing station set up inside. There was a stool, and a sink full of warm soapy water.

Fortunately, Brandy the dog didn't get any paint on her!
As for Knut, he spent the day golfing with Papa and my brother-in-law, Tony, who has a good shot at a profession in the sport. He's also found a great bike path to use his roller skiis, and has tried to go out at least an hour a day on them. He says you wouldn't believe the looks he gets! Although we love being down here, hearing about all the snow we got back home is about driving Knut crazy. He hasn't skied on snow yet this year, and he's not very happy with that!
As for me, I'm feeling a bit out of it, but really looking forward to getting to the doctor in the morning. I feel like I'm quickly getting more uncomfortable. Knut and I will try to sneak in a trip to the movies, as we actually haven't been to a theater yet this year. Part of his Christmas present to me was a shopping trip, as he set aside some of my Christmas money for a shopping date. I don't think I can go home without doing that with him as well.

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.

OK, I'm not sure I can get these graphics to work right on my papa's computer, so you'll just have to imagine the "not me" button.

I am not sleeping in incredibly late and letting my husband take care of the kids in the morning. He's a morning person anyway, and he figures I could use the sleep.

I did not just go ahead and take 2 pieces of chocolate cake for my first time round the buffet at my sister's baby shower yesterday because really, who are we kidding here.

I am not secretly excited that my parents have the Nick Jr. and Toon Disney channels and I'm not taking full advantage of them whenever the kids seem to be driving me crazy. I plan way more exciting vacation adventures.

Well, that's all I can think of for now, as I wasn't planning on doing a "Not Me Monday" post today. Kinda spur of the moment.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Update on Health

We had an eventful day today, and as my sister posted a bit of it on facebook, I've been getting voice mails and emails wishing me well, and wondering if everything is fine.

I did go to the emergency room this morning. I woke up around 5am with abdominal pain, and knowing about the cyst, I felt like I was walking on eggshells, so I thought we should play it safe and go to the emergency room. Fortunately, Sunday morning is a pretty dull time at the ER, so we were quickly helped.

They ran a ton of tests, including a CAT scan and an ultrasound, an obscene amount of blood work. After they ruled out appendicitis and kidney stones, they told me I had a cyst. (Insert eye roll.) It had not ruptured, and they redefined it for me as a "complex cyst" or a "tumor". Complex meaning it has 2 parts, separated by a membrane. One part is normal with clear fluid, the other part is abnormal with possible calcification. It's measuring at a whopping 8cm. Aren't you glad you know that now?

Since I had already scheduled an appointment with a reputable doctor for Tuesday, they gave me all the copies of all the tests to take to him then, and sent me home with some pain killers. Since it's more of a tumor than a cyst, they said that I should have no worries of it spontaneously rupturing at home. It just needs to be removed and analyzed.

We are hoping to get that done before the end of the year for insurance reasons, and because I have a huge network of help down here. (Including grandparents that are starved for grand kid attention!) I'm seeing the OBGYN early on Tuesday, and I'm crossing my fingers for a same day surgery. It's not really emergency status, but still, that's something I'm praying for. (Not the emergency, but the quick surgery) With all the testing done now, and in the doctor's hand, I've been told it's a reasonable possibility, as there will be nothing to do when I go in on Tuesday, except make some real decisions.

With the calcification going on, there is now no chance of this cyst going down on it's own, and surgery will be required. Surprisingly, the word "tumor" doesn't scare me, and I just want the surgery done, and done soon.

I did have my aunt who seems to be our family's medical advisor, look over all my lab results this afternoon. I asked more scary questions, like should I worry about the possibility of cancer. She said they have detected no cancer in my blood, although there is a small chance that there is cancer contained in the tumor itself, which they won't know until they analyze it after it's removed. However, she said that would shock her because all of my lab numbers are excellent, and she would think there would be some other sign pointing to that. So far all the evidence points to a simple tumor that needs to be removed. So I've decided not to worry until someone tells me to. So far, the worse case scenario is the possibility of losing one of my ovaries...and I have another one of those ;) The tumor is actually growing inside the ovary, not outside.

Part of me is very annoyed that my vacation will be spent recovering from surgery, and part of me is glad I get to do this down here with my mom here to baby me, and the timing couldn't be better.

There are, however, way more cool things going on down here, some requiring pictures, and most certainly deserving their own happy post. Some major childhood milestone was met, we were blessed beyond any expectation, and we are most certainly enjoying our time. So it's not all bad down here :) I just wanted to do a quick post to calm all the fears and concerns that have gotten to me. I'm fine and home, and enjoying my family. On Tuesday, we'll see what happens...and I hope it's something!

I still appreciate all your prayers and would appreciate it if they continued. Really, I think that's why I've been able to stay so calm so far.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Being Mothered...and sistered

I don't have much to share, or any long clever stories, but we did finally make it to AZ. We drove straight through, much to the children's dismay. We made it. Overall the weather was good, although there were 30 minute periods of time here and there when there was bad weather. I think Colorado Springs was the worst, but we weren't there long. At one point, Knut stopped to buy chains for the tires before we drove through the mountains, but as it turned out when we arrived at the anticipated most difficult part of the drive , the sun was out and the road was clear.

I'm sitting with my sweet sister, and feeling my two little nieces move around in her belly. My brother-in-law, Tony, has already made us laugh until we've cried, and Papa is working on the Swedish meatballs for tonight, and Mom is hovering over him to make sure they stay Swedish meatballs, and he doesn't enter in any of his "Slovakian flavors".

Happily, they have forbidden me from washing dishes the entire trip (since my parents wish to spoil me) and I got to wrap Christmas presents this morning in peace as my mom gave the kiddos a bath to wash off the grime accumulated on the trip.

I made an appointment with the doctor, though my aunt who works in the medical field down here tells me it's far more likely that the cyst will go down on it's own. I did a little research on that, and there are some research claiming that certain vitamins and herbs will encourage ovarian cysts to drain on their own. It dawned on me that most of the vitamins and herbs suggested are found in "Airborne" and I since I have lots of that on hand for Knut right now, I'm taking some with him. I figure, until my doctor's appointment next week, it couldn't hurt. I still plan on having the surgery, but I'm pretty sure that this doctor will want to take his own pictures of it, and come to his own conclusions as well. So I'm trying to stay flexible.

I haven't seen Knut so relaxed in months, and I couldn't be happier than see him like this. I think of all of us, he needed this break the most. All throughout this difficult harvest, he said he kept saying to himself when working in subzero weather that it wouldn't be long until he was in Arizona. It wouldn't be long until Papa was making him extraordinarily large omelets, and we were able to sleep in as Grammy spoils the kids from the earliest light.

It is so good to be here.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Trying to be flexible

Sometimes, when taking 3 children on a cross country trip to visit the grandparents for Christmas, things go wrong. Sometimes 428 things go wrong.

The plan was to leave early this morning. Like, 6am early. I have Netflixed new DVDs for the kids ready to go. Laundry is done and packed. Sandwiches are made, bottles cleaned and filled. I have my "bag of tricks" all packed with little surprises for the kids on the trip like: fresh boxes of crayons, new coloring books, new race cars, etc. for me to disperse as needed during the 2-day 30 hour long journey.

But, like all plans, there are adjustments. Yesterday, I had a routine doctor's appointment for an ultrasound on an ovarian cyst I have that is slightly abnormal. I get ovarian cysts quite often, so they don't scare or concern me, but as they checked it last month, this one was not clear like the other ones, and my doctor felt like we should keep our eye on this one. Convinced the cyst was gone, I went in just to double check, and to make my doctor feel better.

Shockingly, the cyst was not gone like I had expected, but in fact had grown to the size of a grapefruit. At this point, the doctor discussed with me the possibility of having surgery to remove it. I asked what we should do about our trip this morning, and he said it was up to me whether to wait until we get back to do the surgery, as it wasn't an emergency situation...yet. Knowing I am from Phoenix, he did mention that having the surgery in Phoenix was a reasonable option, if I had a doctor down there that I trusted.

Since I have a stash of people in the medical field in Phoenix, I made a few phone calls, and everyone agreed that it could easily be done down there, and even better, I'd be with my mom who could help me recover.

Crisis averted. The trip was still on.

Knut, however, found more obstacles. While he normally checks our van for full fluids etc. a few days before a trip, nothing about this fall has been normal. With the combines just cooling off, he got his first shot at checking our van last night for the trip. What he found was a leaky radiator. Calling every mechanic he knew, he found one who would take a look at it. It was supposed to be fixed by 10am this morning, but like all things, the fix was more than he had thought, and now it might be this afternoon.

One thing has gone right, that Knut's sister and brother-in-law have graciously offered us their van for the trip as an option that we are strongly considering.

As Knut is in town, getting whatever vehicle we'll use ready to go, we're here at home in that lovely state of limbo. More like purgatory, but hey, whatever. The bags are packed and sitting by the door. The cooler has been packed and unpacked a few times. I've decided not to pack it again until I see a van in my driveway. I was initially trying to keep the kids awake during nap time, but as the trip is delayed, I finally let Elias go down for his morning nap just before 1pm. The other kids sometimes skip their afternoon nap, so I'm just letting them stay up until we go.

At least...that's the plan.

With the time lost today, we are strongly considering rotating driving through the night so we can just get there. I'm not looking forward to that, but imagining my mom's arms around me keep me going. Plus, there's a storm coming, and we really need to get out of here before it dumps who knows how much snow on the road. The kids have been going wild in anticipation of the road trip that was supposed to be early this morning, and then late this morning, and now this afternoon. My thin upbeat attitude (more like laughing all day because it's easier than crying) is close to breaking, and we're not even on the road yet.

Perhaps I should have picked up some more DVDs for the kids.

If we make it, though, my next post will be from sunny AZ, once we have regained consciousness.

That's the plan...for now.

Why do I have the feeling this trip will be added to the list of "stupid things we did when we were young" ?

Mission Accomplished

This is not your ordinary box of diapers.

I mean, these are no pampers (or Target brand knock offs...if you want to be specific to the box.)

And when you have 2 nieces on the way, you need 2 boxes of diapers.

All 40...done. Whew! Since they're not born yet, I think I have awhile before I have to work on their medium stash. I can't wait to hand deliver them to my sweet sister who is about 6 months along, but measuring as big as she was at 9 months with her first pregnancy. I mean, I think this would make any pregnant lady happy.

And since you didn't get to see the periwinkle ones up close, here's one close up:
Periwinkle PUL (waterproof fabric) outers with burnt orange snaps, white inners, flannel hidden inner with microfiber towel and flannel sewn-in soaker. I preferred the hot pink snaps against this fabric, but the burnt orange looks good too. I've known Heidi long enough to know that Heidi likes what Heidi likes, and not to argue!

We're on our way, Heidi! I know the host to your shower is giving away a doorprize for people who bring you an extra package of diapers, but seriously...I should get like 100 entries for these.

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Sweet Program

Our Silje loves to sing. Let's face it, she is not shy, and loves a stage. She knew all the words, and you could hear her voice in the choir of angels without problem. I mean, look at the open mouth. We didn't teach her that.

Here's our angel (or is she a shepherd here too?) and shepherd. David did so well too. He came and sat with us in between songs, and I think he was supposed to stay with us, but he kept wanting to go back up for each song, and since he did so well up there, we let him.

They each had a line. Silje was "A is for Angel" and David was "S is for Savior". They both did so well!

You could tell David was shy but proud to be standing up there.

Silje knew her jobs, and knew them well. She takes show-biz pretty seriously.

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Little Peek

Sassy got home yesterday, and I, like many of you I'm sure, breathed a big sigh of relief. I got right to work sewing up at least one set of pajamas for the kids for Christmas. I have 2 sets for both Silje and David cut out, but as I have a few more diapers to finish before Christmas too, I might not get to the other set. We'll see. At least the kids will have one homemade gift from me, as is the intended tradition.

Elias isn't getting pajamas, but I'm working on a small knitted item for him. It's not done, though, so it's not making the post.

Here's Silje's nightgown. It's the same pattern as last year, and she loves her old one. (Although it's getting small on her...sniff sniff.)

It has little Hello Kitty's all over it, and she's really into Hello Kitty and purple right now, so I know it will be perfect! This flannel is just buttery soft.

This year I cheated on both the pajamas, and used my snap press instead of putting in buttonholes. I hate making buttonholes with a passion. Sassy does them well enough, but I never am satisfied with the end result. Last time I ordered snaps for diapers, I threw in the online cart some general colors that I could use with the kids' clothes that I make. Doesn't it look sharp?

I'm pretty sure you weren't noticing the white snaps, but looking at this lovely cupcake tag. These just came in the mail today. The diaper sewing diva group that I'm a part of does a co-op every once in awhile for "diva tags" and the price is super cheap. I ordered some this time around, in a variety of styles. When doing trades or sending a gift to another diva, it's very popular to add a "diva tag". Although, most of the ladies use the tags on things handmade that are for their kids, to remind them that mama made it.

See? "diva made" in very light pink on the bottom. I was thinking of putting it on the outside of the collar, so it wouldn't itch, but the tag is so soft and silky, and I sewed up all the ends, so it shouldn't bother her at all.

Here's David's pajamas. This is my first time using this pattern, and it looks a little funny hanging on the hanger because I pinned the pants to it. It really isn't that wonky in real life. I used off white snaps down the front of the shirt.

See the little tractor and hay print? Cute, huh? This is also in a flannel.

And no cupcake will do for this little farmer. Here's my diva made cow tag. Please don't mind the crooked stitching on this tag. I was trying to cover up a big seam in the back of the pants that I thought would bother him, and it ended up all crooked. I would have fixed it for the picture, but I have so much sewing to do right now and so little time!

I never ever want any sewing machine to break down right before Christmas again! It's put me too far behind. Not cool, Sassy. Not cool.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It's Beginning to Look Like Christmas

Yesterday, after I read the kind comment from my friend Sharon, I realized that I had been approaching it all in the wrong way. Christmas had become my to-do list. I was trying to think of how I could turn that around, when I realized that I had a few Christmas decorations in the closet, and not with the boxes in the garage.

The most important ones.

David's nap went really late, so I asked Silje to help me. In fact, she was so eager, I told her that the nativity would be her job to set up every year. After all, it's just up her alley as far as arranging etc.

She took her job so carefully. I took each styrofoam container out of the box, and she carefully unwrapped each one, and set it up. I didn't tell her where any piece went, but told her she was in charge of arranging it.

I used this time to talk about the Christmas story, and what it meant. She had such insightful comments in that discussion. Have I said lately how much fun she is?

In the end, she was very pleased with her arrangement...for 5 minutes or so. Then she rearranged them about 10 times. It stopped when she accidentally dropped the shepherd, and it broke. She was very upset to say the least. This is not a cheap set, and I was upset at first too, but I was able to control that, and just hold her and tell her it was ok. We talked about how the nativity set is there to remind us of God and what he did. Then we talked about how she was made in the image of God, and that also reminds us of God and what he did. We talked about how she was more important than any nativity set could be, because she was made in God's image.

The break was clean, and I'm sure it will super-glue up very nicely with only a shadow of a crack. If it is visible, hopefully when Silje sets it up last year, she'll remember our conversation about how she was made in the image of God.

I tell that story not to say that's what I always do. I'm just excited because that's normally what I don't do. Typical me is yelling at her, and sending her in another room while I calm down, and then sulking that she broke one of "my" things. This was one of the few times I responded correctly, and I'm pretty proud of that. Just thought I'd fully disclose that I'm not doing things as I should all the time. But sometimes we need to celebrate when we do, right?

The other thing I had in our closet was my set of nesting boxes. Silje took them all apart, and put the lids on. Then Elias inspected them while Silje and I placed them around the house.

Now I might be ready for the Christmas boxes outside.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

I'm Not Feelin' It

I apologize ahead of time, if this post feels like a downer. If it does, it isn't meant to be. It's supposed to be just a reflection on a season.

I'm not feelin' this whole Christmas thing this year.

It's not that I don't want to! I love Christmas. I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I listen to Christmas music 95% of the time when I'm in my sewing room. OK...99.9%. I am all about Christmas music, and still as an adult, I love to lay underneath a brightly lit Christmas tree and just soak it all in.

I love making handmade Christmas presents. I'm always afraid that I'm going to be like "that aunt" in "A Christmas Story" who sends her nephews embarrassing pink bunny costumes for Christmas. I work really hard to make "cool" presents. For my kids, it's pretty easy, because for some reason, the really appreciate someone taking the time to make them something. (At least, at this age they do.) I lucked out that way.

I love unpacking all of my snowman things that can stay out way past Christmas. I love arranging the nativity just right, and I love the bursts of red color that seem to appear in every corner of the house.

But this year, I'm not feelin' it. I haven't made Christmas cookies yet, and even if I did, Knut wouldn't eat as many because he's watching what he eats as his ski race is coming up this winter. (You'd think more cookies for me would be incentive.)

Perhaps it's because all my Christmas boxes are still way up high in my garage, and I've been too busy to get them. Knut's been to busy to, as they're having to babysit the grain dryer at night now too. The wind blows the moisture coming off the dryer into the dryer's fan, and the subzero air freezes that moisture on the fan, stopping the dryer. His awake time at home seems to be less than an hour a day. He'd say his asleep time at home isn't much more!

That's right, it's still harvest.

Still... Harvest.

Can you really put up Christmas decorations during harvest? I have about as much desire to set out the Easter eggs.

Not only that, but with Sassy Pfaffy still waiting for her part at the "spa" I can't work on finishing my Christmas presents. If I can't sew, what's the point of listening to Christmas music?

I read through Sergio's entire manual today, and have all my sewing projects cut and ready to go on my cutting table. I think I might bug the sew and vac again tomorrow. They are sew patient with me. (I'm sorry...I really couldn't help it.)

We've already celebrated Christmas with Knut's maternal side of the family. We had lefse and krumkakke and everything. Still not feelin' it. You'd think the weather and snow would bring it out of me.

It's not. I just makes Knut work one more long day, and makes me feel one more day behind.

Still, I should just do it. I should just pull out the white lights, the oatmeal wreath I made when I was in kindergarten, the lefse grill, the advent calender (which we're already REALLY behind on), and heat some apple cider on the stove. Good! I'm getting myself pumped up. I can do this! I'll love it. It will be great! I can do it even though I still have no idea where to put any decorations in this house and my husband isn't here.

Wait...I lost it. I'll start pumping myself up on Monday. Tomorrow's too busy.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

My Favorite Part of Gardening

This afternoon, I braved the snow and wind and ventured outside to get my mail. I thought about it for awhile, and wondered if it was worth that much effort and getting that cold just to pick up what would most likely be junk mail. I was excited to find the Park and Seed Co. seed catalog, for planning your garden for the following year.

This is the part of gardening I'm good at. Let's face it, I'm not a very good gardener. I haven't been able to stay on top of the weeds, and harvests rot on the stem as I don't always get to them, and I will openly agree to the fact that I routinely have no clue what I'm doing.

This is incredibly embarrassing as a farmer's wife. (Almost as embarrassing as not knowing how to spell "yolks" as an english major...on a farm.) I'm not sure if it's more embarrassing to me or Knut. I mean, his garden is thousands of acres and it's gorgeous. I just have this little plot. In my defense, I don't have machinery that costs more than our house, and I try to do as much as I can without sprays, as my crop is for human consumption.

Still, as trucks drive by our house on the way to the grain leg, I can't help but feel embarrassed that a farmer's wife can't keep a garden very neat and tidy. I mean, I'm not very neat and tidy inside my house, but in my garden there is no hiding it.

I am told it will get easier as the kids get older.

I hope so.

This last year gave me some hope, as I was able to get the kids to weed for at least 5 minutes before they shut down and it ended in weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then there's the dealing with a toddler, as I will next summer. (You know toddler hood: the inability to stay in one place and of course eating dirt and anything else that looks interesting.)

Then of course, there's just the busy-ness of summer! This last summer we were gone for almost 2 weeks! Do you know how many weeds add up in 2 weeks? Before then, I had non-stop company, and then there's Silje's birthday party in the summer. I did try to encourage my company to help with the gardening, which they kindly did. However, no-offense, but people from Arizona have no clue what to do in a garden. I'm pretty much proof of that. We're just shocked that the dirt is naturally black and stuff grows in it.

I am fascinated by great gardens, though, and love to research. I've googled for hours, and this last summer, I toured Knut's uncle's amazing garden on our road trip, and got lots of tips. I'm determined that each year I'm going to get a little better. I'm going to try something new. I'll try to push my "burned out from gardening" date further back each year.

You see, going through seed catalogs...this is the part I'm good at. Drawing garden maps, and planning what goes where. Dreaming and researching--that's me! I can make early winter gardening resolutions with the best of them. I'm trying to convince myself that wanting to be a half way decent gardener is almost as good as actually being a half way decent gardener. At least I'm on the right path. Right?

We shall see.

He Arrives

Look what the UPS guy brought me today. It's my serger! I kept the kids and dog out of the room, expecting packing peanuts to fly everywhere once I opened it.

But wait...

These aren't packing peanuts. That's right, she packed it in fabric. FABRIC!


Yards and yards of yummy fleece, and some flannel, and the cutest knit. Seriously...TOO MUCH!


Well, she did use bubble wrap to protect the machine from fuzzies.


Here he is! She even sent along some cone thread to get me started. Seriously, I can't believe Katie (a diaper diva) did this! She could have sold off her old serger when she got a new one, but no. She wanted to give it to one of the divas, and I can't believe that diva got to be me!

Meet Sassy Pfaffy's and Lady Katherine's brother, Sergio. Sergio the Serger, delivered 12-9-09, 21 lbs, 11 inches long.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Long Nights and Twin Yolks

So far, this harvest hasn't gotten much easier. The grain dryer has been being difficult, and requiring almost around the clock attention. Last night Knut didn't get in until almost 2am, and then was out again at 5am, and back again at 6am. The kids normally don't get up until 6:30, but they all heard him come in at 6am and missing their daddy, attached themselves to him, and ended up in tears when they found out it was not time to get up, and Daddy was in fact very, very tired, and had to sleep until 8am before going out again.

So I got up at 6am with the kids, and shamelessly put them in front of the t.v. pretty much right away after breakfast as I have no resemblance to a morning person. Knut normally gets up with the kids and feeds them breakfast, to everyone's benefit. I know, what a great Daddy.

And the weird highlight of the morning was that when Knut got up at 8, I made him eggs, and you know what? One egg gave me 2 yolks. I've never seen that before! What are the chances? Knut thought I should take a picture of it for you all, but the pan was really hot, and I was afraid that if I went for my camera, you would all see burnt twin yolks. For those of you who think we have chickens because we live on a farm, you are mistaken. These eggs were from the grocery store.

I'd love to show you what I've been crocheting up, but I can't. I'll say it's something for a twin, but if I show it to you, you'll know it is for one of the boy twins (Knut's brother's) or one of the girl twins (my sister's). I'd like to keep that a surprise! But I'll be sure to take pictures before this present is given away, so that I can post the finished product after the receiver receives. All I can say, is it's awesome.

I've been doing a ton of cleaning, crocheting and knitting, and of course baking while Sassy Pfaffy is at the spa. Lady Katherine hasn't been so obliging yet. I think she's holding out for her own spa day. I called the Sew and Vac yesterday, and asked how Sassy was doing. The mechanic said again, he has never seen this problem in all his years working on sewing machines, but figured out what was wrong, and ordered the replacement part. I asked how long it would take, because I have Christmas presents to sew! He said he'd hope it would be done by Christmas. Don't we all!

But, just when I am frustrated that Sassy in on vacation, and Lady Katherine is jealous of Sassy's spa time, my serger, I believe, is coming to my rescue. According to UPS tracking, it should be arriving tomorrow, ready for me to experiment with. The main Christmas presents I need to finish are the kids' flannel p.j.s. I think that would be a great starter project for the serger, don't you think? The fabric is pre-washed, and cut. Ready to go. I already decided that I'm using snaps from my diaper snap press for the p.j.s instead of buttons, because I have never made a nice looking button hole. I hate doing button holes...a lot. I've never done snaps on my kids' clothes before, but I think it's time I start!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Not Your Ordinary 4 Year Old

Snow is here, and in our house snow= skiing. Cross country skiing, that is. Let me tell you, my men have had skiing on the brain. This last weekend we celebrated Christmas with Knut's mom's family in the big city. We couldn't leave home, however, without stopping by a ski shop to get Knut's new classical race skis get measured for their wax zone, and he picked up racing gear for the upcoming Birkebeiner. It's been a long time dream of his to do this race, and since he recently lost 50 lbs, he feels more ready than ever to do it this year. More on that in February!

And this little guy has had skiing on the brain since this last March. Remember? When he's been playing outside, he's been sneaking in the garage and getting his skis off the wall. Unfortunately for him, he didn't have his matching boots! Knut surprised him when he was home for lunch today, and presented him with his ski boots, from out of the closet.

Our David didn't waste a single moment, and got dressed to go outside and ski. This guy doesn't need tracks. Tracks are for 3 year olds. They're so last year. He's 4 now. (Um, don't tell him I used tracks until last year. Can you tell I'm not from here?) His normal route is just the circle around the summer kitchen (the small shed-like building next to our house). He just goes around and around. When we hit the ski gaard this year, he's going to be ready!

And how long do you think it will be, before he's racing the Birke with his Daddy? Knut said that he'll probably sign him up for the jr. races as soon as he's old enough. I have no doubt.

And for those wondering if Knut is still harvesting in this snow...he is! He told me today they still have about 800 acres to go. Last week threw them some frustrating curve balls as the grain leg broke a big belt and the dryer would randomly shut off. For awhile I was wondering if they joined the machine union my sewing machines started. ;) If the weather holds for the next week and a half, they can probably finish. This time of year, however, the weather rarely holds.

Her name is...

Boy, you guys did not make it easy on me! I thought I was having a tough time before this giveaway!

I started deciding by writing down all the names with no names of those who submitted them, so that I could have an unbiased opinion.

First off, all the names written referring to Gretchen, Gertie, or Gertrude cracked me up. I know a lot of those ladies did not know my first name, but those are either my name, or my nicknames given to me by my brother or sister.

Betty Grable and many forms of Betty seemed very popular. So did Olive (Olive Oil, Olive Oyl, Oilive) So many people had fun with the fact that she's a Kenmore, which I enjoyed quite a bit!

Making a top 3 list was painful, so I made a top 5. Even that made me sad because I had to narrow down names that I really liked!

So in no particular order, (actually these might be the order they were submitted in) this is the top 5 list and why I loved them. At some point in the decision making process, all 5 of these rotated in being "the best".

Selah--This was my favorite "S" name. It is used several times in the old testament, referring to a rest in a song. As sewing is my form of theapy, this name sounded as peaceful and restful as sewing is for me.

Lady Kathrine of Kenmore-- this name is just lovely. I could envision her making beautiful things. Unlike Lady Katherine De Berg from Jane Austin's masterpiece, I think this Lady Katherine of Kenmore would be humble, understanding, and pleasantly sweet.

Ms. Peacock--This name was so random, but made me laugh so much! Not only does peacock reflect her color so well, I could just envision myself saying "I'm going to sit with Ms. Peacock, in the parlor, with the candlestick." It just makes me smile.

Minerva--Of all the old fashioned names, this one made me smile the most! How awesome would it be to say "Oh, Minerva did it again." It's just silly, and I love it!

Charlotte--as this name is so graceful, it gets it's own spot on here for a few reasons. My favorite all time book is written by Charlotte Bronte, and I have wanted to name a daughter Charlotte after her, but Knut gave a big veto to that! Charlotte's characters were simple, hard working, but with a fierce faith and principles. Also, in my opinion, a great choice.

honorable mentions are:

Doreen the Machine
Olive Oyl
Lucy (LuLu)
Lady Grey

You see my trouble?

And the winner is:

Lady Katherine of Kenmore! Congratulations to Jenne. I hope you enjoy the apron this Christmas season.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Changes in Store

Welcome again from those from Sew Mama Sew. The giveaway post is below, so just scroll down. Please feel free to look around my blog though! And follow me if you want to keep up on all that's going on!

I know mid-giveaway isn't the best time for changes, but working on some changes in my blog has also been on my to-do list. I don't know if you've noticed, but I've noticed since I've started the blog 2 years ago, that it has grown. I have a few regular readers, and I've opened my mind up to the number of topics that I'm interested in, and that I'm interested in writng about.

It still is primarily a family blog, and "most" parts of our family life. One thing that I've tried to be careful of is my family's safety on the internet. It started out just sharing tidbits and pictures for my family who lives so far away. Now I have followers who I have never met before.

I like the readers, and I don't want them to go. However, it makes me aware of how careful I need to be. Some steps I've already taken, is to not name our specific location. Sure, most people know the state, and that's no secret. Further than that, I'll even delete comments that name the city near us.

I've tried to delete any references to our last name as well, but then I saw the fundamental error that our last name was in our blog address. So I started thinking of a new domain address. It's taken us awhile, but Knut and I finally decided last night. (I first thought of just using "" since it's available, but apparently that address has a minimum bid of $2,500. Ha! They wish.) So I'm changing the title of our blog as well. Because it's fun. I'll probably actually change the header tomorrow, as I'm still working on some possible new graphics.

Do you want to know our new name?

He Sows, She Sews

Cute, huh? Our new address is currently being set up as
Don't worry, if you use our old address, it will always automatically redirect you to our new address. You don't have to do anything new. You won't lose us.

Other changes are being made here and there, but they aren't major, and if they are important, I cue you in on them. I'd ask our friends and family on the world wide web to continue trying to respect our efforts to keep our family safe out here. It allows us to keep being open with you.

And just because you are all so awesome, here's some new pictures of my little ones:

This one's not so little! Since she's a summer birthday, she gets to celebrate her half birthday at school. Since that's over winter break, her teacher fit her half birthday celebration in yesterday. She got this lovely crown, and some cool pencils. She was really excited. Isn't she getting so big!

David has been jealous of Silje reading all the time, and has finally shown in interest in learning to read. I've found I need to teach him things while he is eating, though. That's the only time he's not running. I bring the wipe board to the kitchen, and we go over words. He's getting good surprisingly fast! We were working on "David likes" sentences and writing words of things he likes. One sentence I wrote was "David likes speed." He immediately corrected me. "Mommy, I don't like speed. I am speed." I stand corrected.

Another update on him. He announced to us last night that he does not only intend to be a race car driver when he grows up. He intends to be both a race car driver and a cowboy. He's going to be busy!

And this little guy is crawling and climbing everywhere! He also recently started signing back to me the words "more", "milk", and "all done". He's a few months behind when Silje and David started signing, but part of that, I think is I haven't been working with him on it as much. His attitude is almost always cheerful, and he babbles all day long. If only you could hear our facinating conversations!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Are you as excited as I am? Did you fall asleep last night with sugarplum fairies dancing in your head? I know I did. Welcome, those from SewMamaSew, in addition to the "regulars".

Here is my first ever blog giveaway: Peppermint and Poinsettias!

This lovely apron is in one size fits most. It's seen on my dress form, and I am a tiny girl, so that's why the bodice looks a bit big. It's from the "Emmaline Apron" pattern put out by Sew Liberated. I've been wanting this pattern for awhile, and it just came last week! I am not licensed to sell this pattern, but this is not being sold. It will be sent free to the winner.

It has these rich poinsettias, with an accent fabric of red with tiny white polka dots. But if you don't like that...

flip the apron's reversible. This is my husband's favorite side, and I might add my kids as well. However, the cloudy day gave me lighting that does not do it's cuteness justice. It's fun peppermints scattered all over, with the same mini polka trim.

The pattern designer also shows that it can be tied in the front. That may not be handy when you're cooking, but when you're working around the house and have a toddler running around with a runny nose, you have something handy to wipe it with. (I didn't just say that...did I?) After that last comment, I should probably add I just made is not used. ;)

RULES! If you want to win this lovely reversible apron you need to know the RULES!

This will not be a drawing. This is a contest to name my unnamed sewing machine. For those who are visiting and don't regularly follow my blog, my main machine is Sassy Pfaffy. Then came a sewing machine who is now a retired beauty, living on display above my kitchen cupboards. She was named Selma after her first owner.

I have a Brother serger on the way who will be named once he arrives. I say "he" because he's a "Brother". Hee Hee. I crack myself up sometimes.

Then there is this machine...a steal from a garage sale:

Isn't she pretty, all dressed up for Christmas with her red thread? She's a Kenmore, born circa 1950. Immaculate condition, and with all original pieces/manual/etc. YOU ARE NOT WINNING THIS MACHINE. Name this machine for me, and you'll win the apron. You aren't guessing a name I've picked out, but suggesting one for me to choose.

You can leave anywhere from 1-3 name suggestions in your comment. Please only one comment per person. If more than one person suggests a name, the person who suggests it first will get credit for it. Leaving more names will not benefit you at all if they're all bad. All my other machines have names that begin with "S". (Sassy Pfaffy, Selma and S***** the serger...whose name will not be revealed until he arrives.) It's not a theme I intended, and don't feel like you have to follow that, because I don't care either way. If you need a starting point, though, you can start there.

**Although we all feel like calling our sewing machines names that are not very nice from time to time, that is not their "given name". Please do not leave inappropriate or crude names. Those comments will be deleted immediately.**

With your suggestion(s) please include your first name and last initial if you are leaving a comment anonymously, and include your email address so I can contact you if you win. I do not sell these addresses.

You can post your comment anytime between now and Sunday night. I'll announce the winner Monday morning. I will post between now and then, though. Don't leave comments in any other post with suggestions. Only comments in this post will be considered.

I will not cover shipping internationally, but if you are desperate for this apron, and do not live in the States, I will ask you to cover shipping through Paypal.

Need to know more about her? After my incident with Sassy Pfaffy on Monday, I took this gal out for a spin yesterday afternoon. She was running kinda clunky, and realized she probably hasn't been oiled in who knows how long. I take out the manual to see where to insert sewing machine oil and WOWZERS!

Ummm, Sassy Pfaffy has one spot to oil. One spot.

This gal has 2 pages of pictures in the manual, showing me where to oil. She is comprised all of metal (a tealish color) and has the most amazing array of feet. She has all different sizes of hemming feet, a ruffler foot, and bias binding feet. Ironically, she has no measurements or markings for seam allowance on her. I've never seen a machine without that. If you want to see the original post on her, to get a better guess, it's here.

I can't wait to see what you all come up with!

Comment away!