Thursday, June 24, 2010

Birthday Party

You know, I had a whole post typed out and ready to go for Silje's birthday yesterday. All it needed was some pictures. The day turned out a bit different than what I expected, so I never got to press the publish button.

I woke up in the morning with pain shooting all across my back. I was pretty sure it had to do with how I had slept, and not the pregnancy. I'm about at 15 weeks now, so most of the fatigue and nausea has passed, but I was feeling pretty nauseous as well.

Knut wanted to give Silje her present first thing in the morning. So before work, he brought it in to show her and she was just so excited! She doesn't know how to ride yet, but has been practicing a lot in the evenings with Knut on David's bike, and was just asking the night before if she could have a bike of her own. So needless to say, this went over very well!!

Knut headed off to work, but I found the back pain preventing me from getting most things ready that morning. I can't take Advil since I'm pregnant, but I've found that Tylenol rapid release has a similar effect on me with other things. (Tylenol rarely works with me, but I found this one kind will actually helps with headaches!) However, Tylenol rapid release was doing nothing for my back, and after an hour I did what any self-respecting mother would do: I put the kids in front of the t.v. and took a warm bath to try to soothe my back.

My back did feel better. However, I think the back pain was distracting me from the nausea, and when my back was soothed, I found myself running to a bucket where I spent the next 2 hours being sick. First time this pregnancy...in the second trimester of all things!

I called Knut mid morning, not knowing what to do. I didn't know how long I'd be feeling like this, but I needed to take care of the kids and get ready for Silje's pajama party, but even simple things like walking upright seemed tough. I hesitated canceling the party, because I knew I wasn't "sick" sick, but "pregnant" sick. However, I had no idea how I'd be doing later in the day, and I needed some help.

So Knut came home at lunch and stayed home the rest of the day to help. I don't think the party would have gone on if he hadn't! Around 1 or 2 I started feeling more like myself again, and got the cake decorated, and got around to setting up the party and cleaning up here and there, though not to the extent I had originally intended!


Silje had a "Hello Kitty" pajama party this year.


Her girlfriends came over in their p.j.s and there was much giggling and running and having fun!


Elias is old enough to get the point of opening up presents, and was really excited for this part!


Knut and I put up a huge "sheet tent" in the basement for the girls to play under, and Silje had one friend sleep over and they got to sleep inside the tent. Everyone liked it! Especially David and Elias too! David wasn't allowed to sleep downstairs with the girls, but Knut let him sleep in a sleeping bag on the floor in his room, and he settled for that.

Happy Birthday, Silje! I'm sorry this didn't get posted yesterday on your birthday! I can't believe you're already 6 years old. Other days I can't believe you're only 6 years old because you are one of those people with wisdom far beyond your years. It seems only yesterday you were a chubby, bald baby sitting in my lap. Now you are a beautiful girl, with compassion for others that blows me away, intelligence that keeps us on our toes, and I don't know how our family would function without you. We love you so much!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Work and Sabbath

Before I start typing away at this blog post, I want to thank those who have been keeping my grandpa in your prayers. He's been moved out of the hospital and into a nursing home, for occupational therapy. Since Grandma and some others worry that the move was a bit soon, my family down there is still trying to have someone with him 24/7, which I think is a blessing to him.

He was able to walk a few steps with a walker and spotters, which is huge! Still, his perception is not fully regained, and he cannot chew his food or drink liquids, and the left side of his body is still not working properly. (My mom was saying they put some powder in his morning coffee to "gel" it so he can swallow it, because liquids are too fast for his current swallowing reflex.) He keeps wanting to go home, which is now next door to his nursing home, but I'm sure being so close many of his friends will be able to visit him. I thank God so much for his vast improvements, though, and so many people who love him who are praying for him.

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Knut and I love to listen to sermons. Whether it's on the ipod or radio, or a c.d. we put in, we are, I suppose, turning into old people in our love of listing to sermons. I think for me the love started in Bible school. I was fortunate enough to hear some of the greatest preachers of our time on a daily basis there, and would often go to the back of the chapel and purchase the sermon I just heard so I could play it again in my dorm room. One from back then that I still listen to is a sermon on Hosea given by a big black preacher on God's redeeming love. it brings me to tears every time I hear it.

Knut loves to listen to sermons on the radio, as he often will spend his day either in the semi-truck or tractor and the sermons enrich his day. We've found that listening to sermons is more and more necessary as we have children. You see, sometimes, when you have 3 children crawling over you during church, it's difficult to hear a sermon in its completion.

Our small church doesn't have a children's church, and to be honest, if they did we probably wouldn't use it. I don't think there's a single thing wrong with having or using a children's church, it's just a matter of our preference. We have a system down that has worked so far with us. However, listening to the entirety of sermons is something we often miss in church, and so we try to supplement that teaching through the week.

Although, I think it was easy for us to fall into the trap of thinking "what's the point of going to church?" and it still is. One of my favorite parts of going to church is being with the people, and talking to the people after the service. I used to feel very bad about this. How awful to go to worship God, but in all reality look forward to seeing someone, or some people.

I don't feel bad admitting anymore that I go to the church to see people. I love the worship too, and I don't think one is in competition with the other. You see, I no longer think of going to church to visit God. God is in my heart and with me always. I don't visit him on Sundays, I visit others with God in their hearts, and the presence of God in each of us accumulates to this amazing experience of worship where God is so evident that our hearts are lifted and encouraged. The songs, the teaching, and the talking afterward, are all exercises in making the God in our hearts more evident in our lives. As Scripture says "When 2 or 3 gather together in my name, I am there with them." Sorry, that's from memory and that is not always the most accurate!

Knut came home from work the other day and said he heard the best sermon that day on the Sabbath. I don't know if I'd ever heard a sermon on the Sabbath, and was actually intending to to a Bible study on it because it's a Biblical concept I don't feel I have a firm grasp on. He just went on and on about it, and got me so excited that we decided on a whim to order the whole series of sermons this pastor had done on the 10 commandments. Each sermon deals with a struggle in our lives that one of the 10 commandments directly addresses. This sermon is his sermon on our struggle with time.

For those who wonder what series I'm talking about, you can click here.

As for myself, I think out of all of the 10 commandments, the commandment to keep the Sabbath holy is the one I understand the least. I know that Knut never works on Sunday, and we are so blessed for that. However, we still feel like there is too much to do, there is not enough time, and we too often feel ragged. The principle of the Sabbath is following God's pattern laid out for us with the proper balance of work and rest. It's almost like God's handbook for our bodies that he designed. Things addressed in the sermon is so vast, and so applicable! From manual laborers, executives, stay at home moms, the retired, and those who are unemployed, God has a work plan and rest plan laid out.

The pastor (Colin Smith) talks about the dignity of work, taking time to enjoy when work is complete, instead of just feeling more exhausted at the thought of work still left to be done (something we struggle with in our house.) How often do we finish the chores of one day, and instead of going to bed with the sense of accomplishment for the day, we either feel we did not get enough done, or we are overwhelmed with the work of the next day, which consumes our thoughts as we try to sleep.

Pastor Smith brings up that God created a model of work for us in creation. God made the world in 6 days. Have we ever thought why didn't he just do it in an instant? Why on earth did it take him 6 days? He is God, you know. It's because he was modeling for us how we should work. When God created something, he saw that it was good. he didn't after the sun had set, think to himself, "Well, I've finished separating the land and water, but I haven't even begun to make animals yet...O there's so much to do!" No, he stopped, and said his work was good, and began the next job the next day.

We tend to get distracted from our work so easily, and then are so upset with ourselves at the end of the day that our work went unfinished, and then our rest at night and on the Sabbath has no joy. He suggests we ask ourselves on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis to write down what it is that we need to do that day/week/month/year to fulfill the calling God has given us. If we are still alive, God still has called us to work on this earth.

I love how he talks about how keeping the Sabbath holy is a community operation. The Sabbath is rest from your work, and sometimes requires that someone else takes your work for that day. This is the very reason I try not to schedule mothers of babies in our church nursery. There has to be a way to get those mothers rest while that work may not be "work" but be a "rest" for others in the church. That is one of my examples of what he was trying to say in the sermon. If everyone in our community is to have a Sabbath, we must serve one another this way.

The Sabbath is not a list of can and cannots on a particular day, but a day of rest and joy followed by a week of hard work. The joy is not there without the work, and the rest sometimes requires the presence of a community. In our "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" society, it's easy to forget that God created us for community. It is not good for us to be alone, and in my opinion, nothing exhausts someone faster than the feeling of loneliness. I think if you run across someone who is exhausted, that person is lonely. Maybe she's a single mom covered with children and works with people all day, but has no spouse, no family to rely on. She needs someone to share her burden. Someone to routinely give her a Sabbath. We are to be a people of God, not a person of God. A people set apart.

Well, I won't give you the whole sermon here, because I've only heard it once, and I just wanted to share the tidbits that are still floating around in my head. I'd encourage all of you to listen to the sermon that I linked above, because it is so good! Who in this day in age doesn't struggle with time in some way! For now, I'm going to pop it in the c.d. player one more time and listen to it while I do some dishes and get lunch set up. The day isn't over yet.

Friday, June 18, 2010

On My Refrigerator

Last year in my birthday card from my grandparents was this picture. It's been on my fridge since then.
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On the back, in my grandpa's highly distinguishable elegant handwriting is written:
"July - 1989 - Denver
Grandpa and Gretchen;
All packed up and ready to go to the ranch in Oregon and set things up for a family vacation."

Grandma and Grandpa were actually leaving Denver (this was in front of our house) to go to my Grandpa's ranch. I didn't go until it was ready for our camping trip/vacation up there.

It's 1989...ya think? I don't even know if you can tell how "80s" my outfit is. My grandpa has a way of making each of us grandkids feel like we were his favorite. Only I know it was true.

I think my favorite birthday card was back when my grandma still had her eyesight. They are so different! Grandpa is poetic and romantic. Grandma is so matter of fact and to the point. In this particular birthday card, Grandpa's writing with his signature fountain pen took up the whole blank side of the card...quoting verses he thought of when he thinks of me...telling me how much they pray for me...telling me how much they're proud of me. Then in small delicate handwriting, in whatever space was left, Grandma wrote: "You know I love you. -Grandma" It always makes me laugh because I can see her eyes rolling after reading Grandpa's and them laughing together.

My grandpa suffered a stroke on Knut's birthday...last Thursday. He woke up to go to the bathroom and found his legs didn't work. He woke up Grandma, and she called the nurse at their assisted living apartment, and the nurse called 911. Grandpa was transferred to a ICU.

He did not get a clot in his brain as we traditionally think of when we hear the word "stroke" but his brain is bleeding. I'm told through family that the good news is this type of stroke can often have a full recovery. The bad news is there isn't an awful lot they can do besides wait for the bleeding to stop on it's own. After my mom visited them today, I'm told that his brain has not stopped bleeding, and the brain scans yesterday showed something like 12 segments of the brain bleeding and today the brain scans showed something like 15 segments of the brain bleeding...whatever that means.

The day of the stoke his speech was slower, his legs and the left side of his body didn't work so well, but he was in good spirits. Today he was moved out of ICU and into a regular hospital room as long as a family member was with him 24/7, which has been arranged. He seemed a bit more disoriented and kept asking to go home, or to go to the bathroom, which of course, he couldn't do either. He tried to get up on his own, which forced the hospital staff to tie him to the bed. This, I'm told is frustrating him to no end. This is not good, because the frustration can increase his blood pressure and increased blood pressure can mean increased bleeding.

The hope is that the bleeding will stop, and Grandpa can move into the nursing home next to their assisted living apartment for occupational therapy. I don't think they'll move him though, until his brain is more stable.

My grandpa is so precious to me. When my parents divorced, my grandparents moved in and helped out my mom while she went back to work and back to college. I'll never forget those 2 years. Then, when my family moved and we didn't go to a Lutheran Brethren church in Phoenix, my mom still wanted me to study confirmation. So many many weekends throughout jr. high I spent at my grandparent's house, studying theology with my grandpa one on one. I could talk to him about anything--nothing was ever off the table. He's a retired LB pastor and missionary, church planting both in Japan and stateside. He officiated over Knut and my wedding. We named our son David after him.

So I guess I'm asking for continued prayer for him as he's in the hospital. Pray the bleeding will stop, and that he can regain some orientation of what is going on. Pray that he'll become stable enough...down the road, to move closer to Grandma. Pray for my Grandma too. My mom says this is all starting to sink in with her, and it's hard. Grandpa turned 87 last week. It's so very hard to live apart from my family at times like this.

It's all In



First, some housekeeping. Knut and Silje had their family party last night with all of the grandparents and great-grandparents and siblings. It was fun as always! I just so barely had enough cheesecake, so something to expand on next year. I'm glad I made cupcakes too or I would have been in trouble!


The kids finished up VBS today with their AWESOME program, and sadly...I left my camera at home. This picture was from the first day. We did get the c.d. of VBS music on it to take home, though, so if we're lucky maybe the kids will re-enact it sometime.


However, the most exciting thing going on at our house has been the last of the homeschool curriculums are here! It's all in!

From our first impressions:
Chinese...haven't popped it in the computer yet. So no big impression ;)

Apologia Science "Exploring Creation Through Astronomy" --

Seems pretty good for the age level we're dealing with, and none of the projects seem to difficult. Silje and David have both "stolen" this book off of the shelf and ran to another room and hid with it so that they could look at all the pictures in it. There are some great ones! David has now made a big announcement that he will no longer be a race car driver when he grows up. He now wants to be an astronaut. For him, that's a pretty big change! He was surprised that this was a book for Silje's school next year because "this is a boyish book!" Silje doesn't seem to think so, but I think we won't need to do an awful lot of convincing to get him involved in our science lessons next year.

Shurley English--

I made the mistake of opening up the student workbook before the teacher's manual, and got totally freaked out. It looked so hard that my jaw dropped and said to myself "what have I done? Silje's advanced but not advanced enough for THIS!!!" Fortunately, I got to the teacher's manual, and spent an entire evening reading through the first 10 weeks of lessons. Much to my relief, I think it will be as awesome as I originally thought it would. It is deep grammar stuff, but it's presented through arts and crafts, and imaginative stories and songs and raps. Silje is going to love it.

However, they could put a little more effort into organizing the children's workbook, and dare I say, put something fun looking in it? I mean when I was in Advanced Grammar in college at least my teacher gave us a dragon mascot to cheer on when things got boring. I mean, there's not a cartoon, doodle, nothing. Not only that, but the word finds in there don't even look like word finds. It's like someone put a word find into an excel spreadsheet and printed it off...lines and long rectangle cubes and all. Plus, it's confusing that you don't go through the workbook front to back. The first time you crack it open is to turn to page 86 to do an exercise. I just think it's not organized terribly well, though I do see what they were trying to do.

I'm not sure yet that I would recommend the program yet, though. I think it will be great for Silje because she's a solid reader. I know not all 1st graders are reading the books she is. This does not have phonics, and assumes that the student has a firm grasp on reading. This makes me want to be sure that David is reading, and reading well before we attempt this program with him in 2 years. If he's not by then, we may pick something else. He's already sounding out words though, and this program is 2 years down the road for him.

It does not have spelling either (vocabulary words, but I think those are too difficult to start spelling.) So I've found a great teacher's website with spelling lists, and I think I'll start Silje on the 2nd grade lists this fall. The first grade lists were primarily 2 letter words with a few 3 letter ones sprinkled in, and I think she'd get bored with that.

What else? Saxon Math--

I have not gone through the huge box of manipulatives out of fear that the kids will get to them and little blocks will be scattered across the house. So for now, they are sealed in their box and will probably stay that way for awhile. I need to get a 3 ring binder for the math workbook, and haven't dared open it until I have one for her. However, the teacher workbook has each workbook page on a small scale, and goes into extreme detail as far as scripts to use when teaching the math. I think that level 1 was the right one to get for her, and I think she'll do well in it.

Sonlight Core 1--


As you can see, Silje was eager to jump right in. She grabbed a book on archeology when we opened them up and was telling me all about it already.

This came in a big box! (The other box was the Saxon math from them.) The inside of the box had lines drawn to show how to turn the box into a castle for the kids to play in. Can we say they understand families? Knut and I got a good laugh out of that. The part of the core 1 that we got is divided into 3 sections: History, Read-Alouds, and Readers. It comes with a big wipe-able map to mark whenever we come across a place in one of the books, and a big timeline book with stickers to mark major events in. Core 1 covers creation to the fall of Rome...so quite a span.

I've heard from several sources that core 1 can easily cover 2 years of schooling, but after we saw all of the books lined up, we thought "Silje's going to read through these 4 times this year." So we'll have to see how it goes. People said that there's no way you can do every single thing in the curriculum, and after going through the teacher's manual, I think it might be easy. No that's a totally newbie talking, so we'll see how far we get by the end of the year. My goal for this curriculum is to get at least half way through by the end of the year. Knut's goal is to make it "make it" to Christmas! The good thing about it is it does give "optional" discussion questions for each chapter of each book, and I think that Silje will really benefit from doing those with us. She tends to speed through books, and we're pretty sure her comprehension doesn't always match her reading ability. This will help her slow down and think about what she's reading more, and help her notice those little details in books.

The books are fabulous. There's no better word for it. The read alouds look fun, and rotate from girl to boy heroines/heros so that boys and girls enjoy them equally. Even for David there will be things that are "boyish". The sheer number of cultures talked about and touched on surprises me. When they say "World History" they really mean the whole world! I can tell that this curriculum is supposed to be a jumping point for the kids to do related projects and searches in the library.

We were surprised, though when everything we ordered from a variety of places all fit on one shelf that I cleared off.

Well, more liked shoved everything on that shelf onto the one below, so I'll need to do a bit more rearranging. Knut took this as a big hint that he'll need to finish the bookshelves in the den one of these days. I didn't intend it that way, but I'll take that as an added bonus.

Now that everything is in I've read through at least the first half of the year in each of the teacher's handbooks, and read at least the back of every book that we'll read together, and read little snippets of each one. I'm coming up with a list of goals and a list of school supplies for the upcoming school year, and trying to assemble a basic time line. I'm probably doing too much, but this is my first time attempting this, and I don't want to miss anything. Making these lists and more lists help me sort through my thoughts, and hopefully by this fall I'll be feeling more confident!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Thirty

Knut turns 30 today. I am so blessed to have him. I'll try not to gush all over this post.

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So far, he has 4 children (one in utero) a college degree, an almost 8 year long marriage, a home, and a steady job. He tries to put God #1 in all he does, even when it's unpopular or inconvenient. His family is next, and I have never doubted that he would drop everything for us. He holds me to a lot of accountability, but is also such a servant in our home. Next is his job on the farm, which he loves more than any other job he's ever had. It allows him physical work, problem solving, time with family, and allows him to dream.
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He made his goal of completing the Birkie before his 30th birthday. I do not think that will be his last time doing it either!

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Happy Birthday, Knut!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Snip Snip

Silje has a secret.

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We went somewhere today and she didn't want us to tell anyone about it until it was all done.
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So Daddy and I promised to keep it a secret.

We were a little sad, but decided to let her do it anyway.

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Because after all, she is turning 6 next week, and she wants to look the part.

Besides, she wanted to give a gift to someone else for her birthday too. A very special gift of hair to someone who needed it.
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Silje's been struggling for a few years now with her long hair. She doesn't fight me at all with it. She lets me brush it and wash it and style it with very little complaint. Otherwise it would have been chopped long ago! For some reason, though, she felt that if we ever cut it, she wouldn't be pretty anymore, or that the thing that made her special would be gone.

It's been awhile of us telling her that her beauty had everything to do with the inside, and very little to do with the outside. We told her that she's special because God made her that way, and not because she was the only girl in her class with really long hair.

We weren't ready for her to cut her hair. I don't think Knut was ever technically going to be ready. Silje, however, was ready. She started hating getting her hair washed because it hurt her neck it was so long. She started chewing on her hair more, and her hair was constantly in her food, no matter how diligent I tried to be at pulling it back. I even kept a stash of rubber bands in the kitchen just to pull her hair back while she was eating, if it was down that day.

She started to want to cut her hair when she started school because she wanted to look like all the other girls. Well, we didn't think that was a good reason either. So we delayed longer.

However, she asked for her 6th birthday if she could get her hair cut short. Just because she reasoned that it would be fun to try, and if she didn't like it, she could grow it out over the next few years. We felt it was a well thought out answer, and it was clear it had been on her mind for awhile.

So I took her in for a professional cut...just for her birthday. She probably won't always go to a salon like this, but when your hair goes from your waist to your shoulders, it deserves a little bit of fanfare. I was pretty sure that the curl in her hair was going to make it bounce up a bit, so we actually got it cut an inch or two below her shoulders to allow for her wavy curls. I'm glad we did!

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I am shocked with how THICK her hair looks now! Wow, she has thick hair! I'm so jealous! David of course didn't notice for a good hour that a foot or so missing from her hair, and when he did, she asked if he liked it.

He just gave a simple "no." Brothers!

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Much to all of our relief, Silje is still our Silje with shorter hair. She loves her new haircut so much, and can't wait to show it off for her birthday!
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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Cemetery Party

We went to a cemetery party today.

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Well, in all honesty, we were asked to go to a "cemetery party" and we talked about the event as a "cemetery party" but in all actuality it was a dedication of a monument recognizing the church that burned down in 1923, 1/2 mile from our house. It was struck by lightening, leaving behind only the graveyard next to it. Knut's great-grandparents, Hans and Lillie, among other relatives, are buried there.

The descendants of those who are buried there, or who went to church there came to the memorial event. Of course, there was lots of our family there, as well as some of the farm families near us.

They had a small service, and we had communion using the chalice from the original church. served by a pastor who is also a descendant of those buried there. I think my favorite was the hymn we sang first called "Built on a Rock." One of the verses went like this:

Built on a rock the Church shall stand,
Even when steeples are falling,
Crumbled have spires in ev'ry land,
Bells still are chiming and calling--
Calling the young and old to rest,
Calling the souls of those distressed,
Longing for life everlasting.

It was fun to hear the records of the discussions they had back then, for things like it was $190? (I know they said 100-something) to hire a contractor to build the church way back in 1886, and they paid their pastor $600/year. The church had a committee to oversee the surrounding small schools.

On a side note, Knut recently found out that there was a little one room school house that used to be on our field just in front of our house. We had assumed the Carlisle school that we've heard so much about and Knut's dad went to for many years, was the one room schoolhouse of the area. Apparently, they tried to limit schoolrooms, much like today, to 25 students or so. Since so many farms had such a large number of children, there was a schoolhouse sometimes every few farms.

Knut's grandpa, who was also there, has one living sister. He has 4 buried siblings in the graveyard. One is a baby who died possibly during childbirth with only the name "Baby R----" on the headstone. Then there's Erling, who died of spinal meningitis at 14 months old, Sverre, who died of pneumonia at age 8 months old, and Valborg, a girl with downs syndrome who died of pneumonia nearly 5 years old. I know they say it was common to lose children back then, and when people say that, I think that they're trying to make it better. They're trying to say that it wasn't as big of a deal back then.

I would have to disagree. I don't think it's ever been "normal" to lose a child, and if you look at things written during those times, and not just about those times you would have to agree. My favorite example is a classic book call "Giants in the Earth." It's a book written in Norwegian (I recommend the English translation!) by an author, back in the time of the great immigration, to tell stories of the loved ones who came to this country. Parts of the book are dark, but I love the realism of it, and the truth that too often get's seen through the rosy glasses of Christian prairie romances. Stories of children dying on the wagon trail, and mothers clinging to their child grave with a body still slightly warm inside. The mother would then have to be tied to the wagon, so as not to be left behind from the caravan, and often went insane with grief. No, I think losing a child back then was just as devastating as it is today. I don't think that they just shrugged their shoulders after a good cry and went on with it. I think some of the early settlers went on because their bodies continued to breathe. It's no wonder that God was so real to them, because to survive losing 4 children like that would require supernatural grace! I'm sorry, I digress into a discussion on death. It's hard not to after spending the afternoon chasing the kids through a graveyard.

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The cemetery is so well kept, and I love driving by it on the way to our house. In fact, we can see it from our house...or on days like today, we see our house from it. Although it's only 1/2 mile, I'm ashamed to say we drove. It had rained a bit, and we had to carry some chairs. Plus we were afraid if the kids melted down and we needed a fast getaway, we'd be dragging them 1/2 mile screaming home.

After the service there was a "small lunch" which on the farm doesn't mean noon meal. Think "afternoon tea" or in our case "afternoon coffee". Out here the noon meal is called "dinner" and the evening meal is called "supper" and "lunch" is a little snack you have in between. It took me quite awhile to catch onto their terms out here! Where I'm from, lunch is the noon meal, supper is the evening meal, and dinner is a fancy meal! There were cookies and coffee, a traditional pudding we'd never had before, as well as enough lefse for everyone! I have to say, it was the best cemetery party I've ever been to!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

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It's amazing how clutter collects so easily. The mere speed at which it collects seems to multiply with each new body that lives in this house. We don't buy our kids that many toys, but somehow, like little bunnies, the toys multiply in the basement and very quickly we have a problem on our hands.

About twice a year, I try to go through all of the kids' toys. I've found the most strategic times to do that is just before Christmas (to make room for the new toys, of course) and in June, before Silje's birthday. This year, just on time, the playroom downstairs started overflowing and the kids were having a tougher and tougher time putting their toys away because they just wouldn't fit anywhere.

My goal, with each purge, is to cut the amount of toys they have in half. I know it sounds drastic, but let me assure you, that never happens. It's my goal, though. Anything that hasn't been played with in awhile, or slightly broken, or just gross, or annoying for that matter, get sorted into 3 trash bags: store away, give away, and throw away.

I've found the best time to do this "organization" is while the kids sleep. It's really impossible when they're awake, because of the weeping and pleading and bargaining to keep trash. However, when I do it when they are asleep, all they know is when they wake up their playroom is organized and clean and they clap and jump up and down, and not even ask to watch a movie for days as they explore the few toys they actually like, once again. They love it when I do this...but I don't think they've figured out yet that when I do this, about 3 large trash bags of their things have disappeared from their sight. I have never once had them ask for a toy that is missing, or they can't find after this. It's wonderful.

Another thing that happened during nap time today is something Knut and I have tried to do for months!!! After Knut painted the basement a few months ago, we finally got some pictures up! How long have we lived here again? Too long to have not done this! I had the pictures arranged on the ground several times in the past month. They were just waiting to be hung. However, by the time we had a moment in the evening to put them up after the kids had gone to bed, we have collapsed on the couch and watched a movie instead of hung them. Then all the pictures have to be picked up so the kids don't crawl and walk all over them, and I have to rearrange them again the next time I think there might be a chance they'll get hung! I'm so glad it's finally done!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Happy Faces

Just for fun, here's some happy faces.

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And in case anyone was wondering, here's David's take on aliens and race cars. He felt the need to get this on the record.

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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

In a Writing Funk

Call this a rush write, or what you will. I'm in a blogging funk, and must get it out. I feel like I've had so many meshed posts lately with my to-do list, but in reverse. We did this, we did that. This that, this that.

For those who REALLY want to know...

We just had some good friends from Florida up for a quick visit. It was very fun because they have 2 kids, and as parents, it was so easy and comfortable to just have them here. So many times there is such stark differences in parenting styles that you have to walk on eggshells, but not so with them. We enjoyed long talks into the night, and we were sad to see them go.

I'm not sewing enough, but I have enough sewing to do.

My kids are sleeping, and I'm considering starting a fire just to make s'mores for myself to fill a pregnancy craving, but am trying to settle for just the pieces of s'mores (and no, I don't want to microwave them. I want a good burnt marshmellow on it.)

My parents are in Thailand right now, and I miss talking with my mom. I got to Skype my step dad, and may try tonight to see if either of them are online. I'm glad they're having fun, though. Well, a bit of work/meetings for mom, but not too much, I hope.

My garden needs to be weeded, but the drizzles of rain keep preventing me when I have a few moments to do it. Maybe tomorrow.

We are coming upon project season as Knut seems to be gearing up to get a bunch done around the house that we've been putting off. We might actually get our headboard made this year, get the boys' room painted and (I hope I hope) the upstairs bathroom too. Pictures are laid out ready to be nailed up as well. Have we really lived in this house that long?

I just ordered our homeschool stuff. Ahhhhh! Knut acknowledges that Silje will need a piano for piano lessons, but has no desire to move one. I'm considering putting off piano lessons this year just because of this.

Lena needs her nails cut, but neither Knut or I want to do it as she fights us so much on it. It's $6 to have a groomer do it. I think that's a steal to have someone do a job we both hate. Knut doesn't want to spend the money just for a nail trim. So we keep hearing her click around the house on her long nails.

Silje talks about her upcoming birthday approximately every 5 minutes. O, she has plans!

Elias has started getting himself quietly stuck in the weirdest places in our house and then quietly saying "Uh Oh." He now says "Uh Oh" (obviously) "shoes"(and he brings everyone in the family shoes when he wants to go outside) "pees" ('please' rarely, but we've heard it) "Da-ee" (Daddy), "Boom Boom" (car), "bye", and "Ba Ba" (Grandma or Grandpa...universal). He used to say "Mommy" but hasn't in quite awhile.

The corn is popping up in rows, and the soy beans are starting to peek up now too. Knut stays busy at work, but not too busy that he doesn't get to be home in the evenings. As always, he wishes he could roller-ski more. He just got a "rear view mirror" for his sunglasses so he can see cars coming up behind him now. That's been making him nervous as he skis into the wind and can't hear cars behind him. It's kinda dorky looking, but I'm glad he's taking the safe route.

I haven't mentioned David yet. I can't think of anything unusually new with him. He still rides his bike, runs Lena, argues with us often, and needs a lot of hemming in. In return we get lots of snuggles and hugs and kisses and sweet words, so it's not all bad. ;) I can already see him and Elias trying to compete. Wow, that didn't take long.

Now that I got all of that business out of the way, I'll try to think of something amazing and life changing or just plain charming to tell you all. I finally downloaded all of the pictures off of my camera, so I'm free to click again. Doing so just makes me long for the camera I've been wanting though, and again, I get uninspired. I think I'm still in a blogging funk. I think if I would have heard the phrase "blogging funk" 10 years ago I would have thought someone was swearing. It's kinda fun to say out loud.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Guess what Knut found?

Lena has an indoor kennel, and an outdoor kennel. Since she has jumped over, dug under, and figured out how to open the door of the outdoor one, she is usually confined to her indoor one when we're gone.

We should probably take down the outdoor kennel, but it hasn't been at the top of the list yet. This afternoon, Knut was trimming the yard, and took the trimmer inside the kennel to neaten it up. Here's what he found:

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Can you tell what it is?

I first jumped when he showed me because it moved. I thought it was a mouse or rat or something.

Look closer...

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Let's just say it explains why 2 adult rabbits have been hanging out pretty close to the house lately.

It's a nest with 4 little bunnies growing, all nestled in the dog kennel that apparently hasn't been used in so long that a mother felt comfortable enough to birth her babies there, and the fence would scare away many predators.

Don't believe me? I took a few second video. They're kinda scared, with a grass trimmer whizzing past their heads and all, so we didn't touch them and they don't want to budge much...mostly sleep.


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I can't wait for the kids to wake up and find out.

This Pregnancy

What? I'm blogging again? 2 whole days in a row? I must be feeling better! Let me just say that I love life returning a bit to normal and hope I fall back into my regular routine, which includes blogging! At some point soon I'll have to edit the blog a bit, because I just found out that Knut was not so keen on me deleting the links to our friends' blogs on the right hand side. It was nothing against those blogs, I just found the right hand side of the blog starting to get cluttered. So, I'll have to work on that sometime.

Today though, I thought I'd reflect a bit on this pregnancy so far. Maybe no one cares, but the nice thing about blog friendships is when someone is rattling away about something boring, you can just move along! So if you find preggo talk boring, you can move along, but I'll have fun rattling away!

Knut and I are both thinking it might be a girl this time around, but as I've been wrong in guessing the gender of all 3 of my children, I don't trust this instinct much either! The only thing that has been keeping food down for me has been, ironically, chocolate. Not chocolate brownies, or chocolate cake,or chocolate cookies but actual pieces of chocolate. Throw some nuts in there and I'm set! Normally, I down Oreos like nobody's business, especially when I'm pregnant. (With Silje, I would wait until Knut went to work, go to the store and buy Oreos, and finish the package before he came home from work.) However, I can't seem to stand them right now, or at least not more than one. I just want chocolate.

As I gave up caffeine a few years ago (except for chocolate in moderation) this increase of chocolate in my diet has brought about some symptoms resulting in why I gave it up in the first place, but I'm hoping that as I'm entering the second trimester now, that my intake of chocolate will go down a bit, and I'll go back to normal as well.

The other odd thing about this pregnancy is my temperature. Knut jokes that it's a preview to menopause. Every 5 minutes I go from being shivering cold to being sweaty hot. I have no idea what's going on there. It's become something to laugh about in our house, though. We'll be sitting at the supper table and I'll put on a sweater and say "It's freezing in here!" and wish we still had a fire going so I could stand next to it. Within 5 minutes, the sweater comes off and I'm fanning myself as my whole body is sweating. What in the world? Not to worry, give it a few minutes and I'll be freezing again.


I think that I've had enough practice being pregnant to master the art of grazing all day long, which proves difficult when I'm at other people's houses and we just sit down and eat a whole meal, because I know if I make myself even mildly full, I'll feel sick. It's also a challenge at home too, because I try to feed the kids somewhat on a schedule, just for the logistical fact of I can't be feeding one of them in the kitchen all day. So I've once again tried to sneak food when they're not looking, which the boys catch me at way more than Silje does.

Hmmm, what else. I'm partly in maternity clothes and partly in my old clothes, but more on the maternity side for 2 reasons: I don't have enough room for both in my closet, and I do need some and I don't have the time to go in and out of my storage closet every week to gather more. So I just brought out everything. Second, for some reason my maternity wardrobe is way cuter than my regular one, and with styles today, they don't really look that maternity-ish. Still, I do feel a bit frumpy sometimes, and look forward to filling them out a bit.

It's still hard for me to believe that the baby is growing just fine and there's a heartbeat that's strong because it has yet to become really real to me. I'm so little that I tend to feel little kicks very early, so it's just a matter of weeks now. Still too early, but soon. The baby has become a regular part of conversation in our house, but it just feels like we're still talking about the idea of a baby, as I don't know this one yet.

However, the ultrasound showed me that even though I may not be feeling kicks, that doesn't mean the baby isn't moving! He/she had the hiccups a bit during the ultrasound, and kicked a bunch, and even put his/her hands over the eyes. It's so amazing that at just about 12 weeks, the baby is so active and had so many distinct little features! 10 little fingers and 10 little toes. The pictures from the ultrasound did not turn out as well this time, but I think that's mostly due to the baby's position. I'll have my regular (not just for fun) ultrasound in 2 months, and as long as everything looks good, that will be our last one. That's my favorite one, though, because you can see into the brain, and all 4 chambers of the heart, and the stomach, and if the baby cooperates, the little boy or girl parts. My children have never been modest inside the womb though, but who knows. Each kid, and each pregnancy is still different.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Nerdy Gerdy and Names

With all the business and fatigue in my corner, it was about time that I put something new in my store. I keep getting custom orders for diapers in, and so while I'm still busy, I don't have much new to present otherwise. However, the site that hosts Nerdy Gerdy (hyenacart.com) and that I advertise on gets me quite a few bites for my wool items. In fact, they have given me all of my business when it comes to the wool covers. Since I've had a few email requests through prospective customers there for more wool wraps, I thought I'd gather the ones on the "only needing finishing touches" pile and just add buttons and weave in ends. Only 2 of the items in this picture I actually started and finished this last month, so as you can imagine, I'm please to see my almost finished pile down, and my finished pile go up!

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So tomorrow morning, these will be added to the store, and I'll have one more custom order for a partial stash of diapers available. Perhaps the custom slot for wool as well, since that has also been requested. I just love these wool wraps. There's ribbing for where baby needs a bit of extra protection, and cute buttons to make it fit well for so much longer than soakers.

I had so much fun with the variety of wool used this time. For instance the oatmeal colored one in front is undyed, tweed virgin lamb's wool. It's wool taken from a little lamb's first sheering and it has such an amazing texture to it. Then the denim blue soaker is made from Peruvian highland wool, which had to grow on me at first, but now I'm just in love with it. The greenish-brownish variegated one is made with Merino wool/nylon mix and O MY GOODNESS it's about the softest yarn (not wool...yarn in general) I've ever worked with. I couldn't help but smile when I knitted with it. It's only 80% wool, while most of the covers I sell are 100%. However, it need only be 75% wool to be effective, so I'm covered. The softness was totally worth that!

I also finished up a couple of dishcloths that I usually only give to family or showers and such. However, I had some ready to go, and have had some requests for those as well.

On a side note, I had another ultrasound this morning. Some of my old friends at the pregnancy center offered to do it, and I was brave enough to bring in all 3 kids for it! The kids enjoyed it for the most part, but mostly paid attention to their Wheat Thins. Our little baby is still growing right on schedule, and both the ultrasounds and the doctor put my due date at December 19th, but my dates would put me at the 15th. Whichever date the baby chooses, we hope that it is at least full term this time!

Knut and I have already begun the name discussion, and it's funny how our "back up names" for one child is never the given for the next. We feel the need to revisit our choices for each child, and already, ones we liked for the other kids don't feel right for this one. Well, some names remain at the top of the list, but some are taken off, and still others added. To me, this is the really fun part of pregnancy!

We haven't always found out the gender ahead of time, but we are planning to this time. However, the name will have to remain a surprise! We never decide for sure on that until the baby comes. We usually have a "short list" of about 2 names or so to bring to the hospital. Except for David. At the time, that was the only boy name we agreed on, so there was nothing more to discuss! We always seem to have a terrible time agreeing on boy names! We agree on literally dozens of girl ones, but the boys, urgh! So we shall see...