Saturday, July 31, 2010

Riding a Bike

You may remember that Silje got a bike for her birthday. Since David has been riding a bike for over a year now, Silje has had a tough time being shown up by her younger brother, as it is a skill she has yet to master. Knut's been working with her all summer and still she doesn't seem much closer. I figured it's something we can work on again next year, but Knut will not give up so easily, especially when seeing how important it is to her.

Tomorrow a group from our church is going for a bike ride, and Knut told David he could come with him. David lit up with excitement at the thought of such a splendid outing, but you could see Silje's face quietly fall, as she realized that if she could ride her bike, she'd probably be able to go to.

That's when Knut decided to call the rental shop, and rent for a day something that other parents have raved to us had helped their kids get the feel for balancing on a bike. I think both Knut and I wish we had something like this, and although we'll probably never find one of these used, we're definitely keeping our eyes peeled!


Take a look at that! It's a little 3rd wheel with petals and handlebars that attaches to the back of Knut's bike. She'll get to go along with David and Daddy after all!

They went for a practice spin around the yard, and it went very smoothly.


Off they go! They'll have so much fun together tomorrow!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Drumroll Please...

Well, the ultrasound was off to a slow start. Our little baby was curled up in a ball, and wedged in a little spot so the technician couldn't get measurements of anything. So after several attempts to get a good look at the baby, she had me lay on my side for a few minutes, and see if the baby would change positions. Fortunately, that happened.

I am proud to say, that my streak of being wrong about my gender guesses are over, because we are having a G I R L!!

Silje, you might imagine, is thrilled to be getting a sister. Knut and I are excited that we only have to narrow down our long list of girl names we love, rather than come up with yet another boy name to agree upon. (It's almost too much to hope for a boys' name "list" with us. We're just grateful to come up with one we both like!)

Ooooo, there will be ruffles and pink things to come! The wheels are spinning!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Time to Place Your Bets!

Tomorrow is our big ultrasound, and we do plan on finding out the baby's gender this time around! I was thinking of offering a prize or something or holding some kind of poll, but in the end I decided to just have everyone guess for the fun of it. With Silje and David, we found out ahead of time, and with Elias we kept him a surprise since we had never done that before and people said it was fun. After doing both, we decided finding out beforehand was more fun for us! We have yet to have a modest child in the womb, so don't foresee any difficulties in finding out tomorrow!

Anyone want some clues? Hmmm...morning sickness wasn't so bad this time around. With Silje it was awful, but to be fair I was working a lot of hours on my feet during that time and it was my first pregnancy and I didn't know any of the "tricks" to keeping food down yet. I'd say as far as morning sickness goes, it very much lines up with my last 2 pregnancies (boys).

I've been craving chocolate mostly, but that has dwindled and now it's fruit of any kind. I've had chocolate-ish cravings in the past 3 pregnancies (oreos, cake, etc.) but not just plain bars of chocolate like this time. The only other pregnancy that I've wanted fruit this bad and this much all the time was with Silje. It was never a pregnancy craving when I was carrying the boys.

I don't know if I'm carrying like a girl or boy, but I know I'm carrying different than last time. This baby sits just a bit lower.

I've been measuring on the small side, and the heart rate has been in the 170s, 160s, and most recently, the 150s. Some people predict off of that, but really it depends if the baby is active or not when the doctor checks the heart rate.

So *I* think it's a girl, but you should also know, I have been wrong with guessing my own children's gender 100% of the time. I have not once been right yet. If you ask Silje, she'll say "girl" and if you ask David, he'll say "boy." Go figure.

So...line up! Make your guesses! Our ultrasound will be tomorrow afternoon and we'll probably post some results tomorrow evening!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Silje's Summer Camp

It was hard for all of us to believe that Silje was big enough for Bible camp this summer, but our little girl is growing up before our eyes! She went off to camp for 3 days and 2 nights, and many of you were asking how it went. It went fabulous.

We dropped her off on Sunday, and just like a well oiled machine, the camp staff swarmed the kids with fun things to do across the lawn while all the kids were getting used to the place. The boys played on the playground, and Knut taught them tether ball. We got Silje's things all set up in her cabin, and she chose the top bunk, which Knut inspected for safety, and was quite satisfied.

She was more than ready for us to leave when we did, and I was overwhelmed with some of the usual mommy emotions, as well as a renewed respect for how the camp I love runs things. I can't believe it was 12 years since I worked out there. Saying that made me feel old. It was like admitting I wasn't just out of high school, or just out of college anymore. I'm not just out of anything, unless you count non-maternity jeans.

Our time at home without Silje was pretty quiet. Without anyone for David to fight with, besides Elias who pretty much just goes along, the day was a few decibels below average. Our well broke on Monday, making it impossible to flush toilets, wash dishes, do laundry, and well, pretty much do anything. It's all fixed now, but that was our time without Silje.

On Tuesday morning, the boys and I packed up to pick up Silje at camp. They had a little program at 10am, and we were supposed to be out of there by 11am. However, they had a pretty interesting morning out at camp, with a huge storm system running over them. Things were delayed, and wet, and precautions were taken to make sure all of the kids were going to be safe. However, this left no time for them to bring the baggage down to the parking area, and I had to go up with the kids to her cabin to pick it up. On a normal day...not a problem.

I don't know when it was that I figured out it wasn't a normal day. O yeah, it was when I had to leave Silje's program because BOTH the boys melted down in screaming. Elias just wanted to run. David...I have no clue what was bugging David. Maybe he wanted to be on the playground instead of watching the program, maybe he wanted to run, maybe he was missing the snow again. I honestly don't know what his deal was. At any rate, I was carrying and/or dragging the boys out of the program, and a friend of mine, Rebekah, took Elias out of my arms and said "I'll just take him." I could have kissed her.

I couldn't even bring David to the back hallway because of his tempter tantrum, so outside we went. I don't know how long it took him to calm down, but it felt about 3 hours (even though the program wasn't even that long.) I missed a lot, and tried to catch a glimpse in the back hallway again, but my boys did not listen to a single word I said, and I cannot allow my requests to be ignored. In the name of consistency, blatant disobedience needs to be addressed and not ignored, but my goodness, did they just hit me both at once that morning where I wasn't sure who do deal with first.

I'm always the one to tell people that it's normal for kids to test you, and to test in public as well as in your home. I've always felt that if you're consistent with proving to show the same consequences for behavior, that kids soon get that they can't act out in public. This was the worst they've done in months, and I was so not used to this behavior in public, or in my home that I just felt humiliated. I hate to say it, but honesty at it's finest. I was greatly encouraged by the camp director (my old boss) coming up to me and saying a few encouraging words, as well as some other moms.

By the time the program was over and we found Silje and signed her out, the boys were understanding we'd be leaving soon and I gave them each a job to do. We walked up to Silje's cabin and got her suitcase on wheels, and I put David in charge of that. Silje was in charge of her pillow. Elias just had to hold my hand. I was so exhausted with dealing with the fiasco at the program though, that when I looked down the stairway, and at my 3 kids, I was wondering how it was all going to get to the bottom. I could barely carry Elias down the stairs, and could manage the light suitcase, but I certainly could not carry them both down. David couldn't get the suitcase down, and Elias refused to walk at this point.

So, taking several trips, accompanied by lots of yelling of instructions, I shuffled up and down the stairs with the suitcase, and then with Elias, and thankfully the older kids did what they were told out of arms reach at the bottom of the stairs. Then we walked across camp to the van.

It wasn't the ride home that I had hoped for. I was able to pick Silje's brain a little bit on how camp went. She loved everything and asked if she could come again. She raved about a "mystery" that they had to solve, and how it wasn't any of the suspects that they had thought. After she tired of my questions on the drive, though, it soon turned into me yelling to the back seat these series of commands in varied order and loudness: "Don't touch your sister!" "Keep your hands to yourself!" "Get that strap out of your mouth!" "Don't throw that!" "Silje he's just trying to talk to you, be nice!" "Dont' do that it's not safe!" I pulled the car over 3 times on the way home because someone had gotten themselves out of their seat, or had hurt the other, etc. It was not the welcoming ride home that I had hoped.

We went to straight to a customer appreciation picnic that Knut had told us to come to. It was put on by a company our farm deals with quite a bit, and it was free and kid friendly. At this point, Silje's exhaustion from camp was showing itself, and she could barely talk without tears starting to flow. I could tell she was so tired! By the time we drove home, I was so exhausted myself I thought I was going to be sick! Knut helped me get the kids down for naps, and I fell asleep myself in the spare bed in the boys' room so I wouldn't have to move to scold anyone to get back in bed. I think I was asleep in about 30 seconds, so how long it took them to fall asleep, I'll never know! They were sleeping when I woke up later, so it couldn't have been that bad!

Everyone is feeling better now. I'm rested, and the kids have been very good today. Silje's having a much better day and is able to talk more coherently. The boys are listening again. Slowly the housework that didn't get done due to the well being out for a day is getting caught up. All is right again. And yes, Silje will be going again next year. None of us would have it any other way!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Uh Oh, Here We Go Again...

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There will be no late registration this year. Knut has no hesitation. The Birkie is set for next year. Already, a plan is put into place for training this year.

Last year, Knut lost about 50 lbs before he started training, using the South Beach Diet. Basically, South Beach has 3 phases. Phase 1 lasts 2 weeks. It's lower fat meats, and a ton of high fiber, green vegis. He has cheeses and nuts for snacks. Those 2 weeks were tough. After that, you go to phase 2. He adds back in fruits, some of the more sugary vegis, whole grains, and Splenda desserts, all in small quantities. This lasts until he gets to his ideal weight. Then there's phase 3. That's everything in moderation, to maintain that weight. By phase 3, it's easy for him to understand what he can and can't eat without any formal rules.

What he discovered last year, is something that the South Beach Diet also mentions. When you train for a sport more than one hour a day, you need quite a few more carbs. After his first day of skiing for over 2 hours, he came home shaking! He said he needed carbs, and lots of them! So all of our old meals came back, because he needed them to sustain his body during training.

The thing is...he did the Birkie quite a few months ago. The carbs didn't leave with the training. So although Knut hasn't come close gained the 50 lbs back, he wants to get back to an ideal training weight before he starts training this fall, so phase 1 begins again this week for him.

I've mastered the art, for the most part, of cooking so that Knut looses weight, and I gain it. You see, while he likes to lose it, I'm 5'2" about 100 lbs normally. I am underweight. Not to mention, I think my doctor wants to see me start gaining some good numbers with this pregnancy. It is NOT diet time for me.

So my secret? Sides. I don't have the time to make multiple meals for us to sit down to. So I make one meal with the meats and vegis that are so healthy for all us us, and the kids and I have a side of a baked potato, or bread, or rice, or something else loaded with carbs. We have dessert to, though we don't always have it in the evening, but during a part of the day that Knut is at work. He normally doesn't touch desserts when he's dieting, as long as there are some good snacks that he can have there in abundance.

Really, the only thing that changes when Knut is on phase 1 or 2 of the South Beach is that our whole family eats a lot more vegetables. I can't really see a downside to that, and for the most part, the kids are used to it.

Although Knut likes to take out his rollar skis when he can in the summer, the thing he will probably do for training most of until the snow falls is P90X which is an insane DVD exercise program. He borrowed it from someone before, and saw amazing results. I think we'll buy him his own set of DVDs and equipment this year, as soon as we've saved up enough. After harvest, and the snow has fallen, he'll move to skiing a few hours a day a few times a week again.

That was a lot of time away from home last year during his off (or I should say "low")season of work, but part of the problem was that he had to drive out to the ski gaard to wax his skis often, and that's a bit of a drive, and then of course, is getting it done there. This year, we're hoping to get him his own wax iron for Christmas so he can set up a waxing station in our basement, so he can get that portion done in a few minutes at home instead of over an hour a driving each week just to wax. I think that will help, and he'll be able to train a little bit closer to home more often, although I do expect him to go out to the trails at the ski gaard quite often still!

Watch out 2011 Birkie. Knut is coming! Last year the weather was ideal, and he beat his goal as far as time. It's hard to imagine how it can be improved upon this next year, but I had so much fun watching him do it last year, that I wouldn't hesitate either in going again!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Treasure Hunting


Before I moved to the farm, garage sale-ing was one of my favorite hobbies. There's nothing I like better than finding a treasure for just pennies. However, since we moved out here, the little town near us has the worst garage sales pretty consistently. I've gone to a few, and have bought even less. I've been so consistently disappointed that I often drive right past.

You see, when you live in a big city, you can go to a sale, and pick up brand name children's clothing for less than a dollar. In our small town, you'll find a pair of generic pajamas that are pilled, stained, and probably have been worn by 5 kids already, with a price tag of $3. At that price, I'd rather clearance shop and buy new! People here actually think their junk is worth something.

Anyway, to my point. Today I went to our cute little downtown because when I was in the yarn store earlier this week, they told me some skeins I've had my eye on for a few months (but out of my price range) were going to be 40% off this weekend. I thought it was worth a trip to town, and headed in this morning, which was the first day of the sale.

I got my yarn, and showed surprising restraint in fact, as to the number of skeins bought. Then the kids and I walked up and down the street which was closed off for a bit of a street fair with booths and such. It was pretty sparse, but it looked like some fun.

My small finds were fun. I got a ton of Christmas ornaments which we traditionally put in the kids' stockings. They were all so pretty and only .50-1.00. Then I picked up some ceramic platters that perfectly matches my china set, although it had a fun silver snowflake embellishment on them. $2.00 a platter, so of course I had to get both!

Then...my treasure. The booth was in front of an insurance company building, so I'm not sure which company was selling the booth, or if it was just someone having an unconventional garage sale. She had some pretty things, and I got talking with the lady at the booth, and commented on the antique quilt top that she had under her cash box...serving as a tablecloth. I drooled over the 1930s fabrics (certainly not reproductions!) and the little blemishes here and there than had the mark of a homemade quilt.

She thanked me for the compliment, and although it wasn't on the sale table, I couldn't help but ask if it was for sale too. She said sure, I could have it for $10. Well I only had $6 left in my purse, but I was able to gather together enough change from the bottom of my purse to come up with the rest. So with my purse significantly lighter, and an amazing quilt top just waiting to be quilted in a bag, the kids and I walked off with my biggest treasure of the day.






She said she bought it at an estate sale in Elizabeth, MN 20 years ago. The sale was the estate of a woman named Elizabeth as well who was over 100 when she died. Elizabeth, I would assume, had made the quilt top, but had never quilted it into a blanket. The woman I bought it from had hemmed the edges and made it into a tablecloth. I haven't measured it, but I would imagine it's about a twin size. If I ever get to it, I'd love to hand quilt it myself, although Elizabeth had used her machine to piece it, and I don't think would mind if I quilted it with Lady Katherine...the only machine I have that I would touch this quilt with. I'll have to think on that.

Maybe only other fabric junkies like me could rejoice in a find like this. I'm just walking on air over this find. The quilt pattern seems to me to be a variation of irish chain, which is one of my favorites! It's a scrap quilt made in the way that scrap quilts were first intended. Not all matchy-matchy but with the fabrics that were a part of her life. I'm just so in love!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

South Dakota

Knut and I were invited to go to the black hills with some friends of ours for a long weekend. We just couldn't say no. There weren't any kids. Just the 2 guys and the 2 pregnant ladies. We road out there together and stayed at their family's "cabin."


The trip out, we could not pass up a chance to see the Corn Palace. I mean really...who could?

There were huskers working on this year's design, although the boys were disappointed at the amount of straw used on the "corn" palace.



Inside...well, we couldn't resist.


Then, of course, a stop at "Wall Drug" where Knut and I posed on a jackalope. Christmas card anyone?
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Once we got to the Black Hills, there was wildlife everywhere. We even came upon a wild buffalo herd.

In the middle of the road, was the biggest buffalo I've ever seen. It was a huge bull only feet from the van, and Jess was worried that he was about to charge. You know, since he was making a very strange sound and sticking his tongue out at Knut and Todd. I'll have to say, it was quite thrilling, in a scary sort of way, and I'm very glad he didn't charge the van.


There were so many tunnels carved into rock, and all of them seemed to have a clear view of Mt. Rushmore.


However, faces weren't the only things carved into rock. This was the needle's eye.
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Nearby, there were some people repelling. In fact, we saw rock climbers doing amazing things all weekend. The weather must have been just right for it.
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It was amazing to me how many trees there were that were just growing out of rocks. No soil, just rocks.


Here are the guys. I doubt they have any friends that they have known longer. You see, Knut and Todd's mothers shared a room at the hospital while they were giving birth to these two. Knut was born a few hours earlier than Todd. The 2 moms became friends, and these guys grew up friends. They can honestly say, they've known each other from birth.

It was just beautiful.

I had never seen Rushmore, so that stop was a must. I must say, I was not disappointed. The historical information there was so neat, and we got to look at everything.

Even the model of how they were planning on finishing it, but couldn't. I guess it was a combination of WWII starting and funding stopping around the time that the artist died, and the project was declared finished.

However, Rushmore is not the only thing to see out there! I feel as though we barely scratched the surface in a weekend!

We went hiking the other day we were up there.
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We hiked up to a lookout post which was a bit much for us pregnant ones, but we survived. We opted for a different hike back, which was beautiful, but more sunny than I was expecting, and that's where I got so burned!

It was a very fun weekend!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Gaining Some Order

I feel as though my house is now in a presentable enough state that people could stop by and I wouldn't be horrified. It's been a year or two since I could say that, but now I think I can again. It's not perfectly clean, by any measure. It' just not embarrassing anymore in how dirty it is.

I haven't been on the internet as much lately. I'm not sure if it's nesting or the Lord working on my heart once again, or just me slowly starting to try to get all of my ducks in a row before we start homeschooling next month. The kids have been asking daily now, when we can start schooling. I went to Walmart and picked up their school supplies for the year. (Yes, they are out in the stores. Yes, I did shop around. Yes, I do believe they're good prices now, and at the very best selection because not too much has been picked over yet.) Anyway, the kids are just foaming at the mouth to get to their new school supplies, hence the added excitement to the books coming in a few weeks ago.

As with any big life shift, I've been having my moments of freaking out about this next school year. I haven't once felt the need to go back on the decision to homeschool this year, but I have had several "how on earth is this going to work?" moments. After all, I'm going to huge into the 3rd trimester. I'm going to have a 2 year old on the run. It's going to be harvest time. How many balls can one person actually juggle? I started thinking if one thing didn't go according to plan, which Murphy guarantee's I might just fall apart.

So I've been doing a lot of research. I've been listening to a lot of podcasts done by homeschooling moms and have a renewed sense of confidence. I'm learning how to organize my time, and there is no time like the present to practice. I say organizing my time because I've realized that is what I have been lacking the most. I am working. I am cleaning. I am parenting the kids. However, so much gets left undone at the end of the day. The sermon I mentioned in a previous post about our struggle with time (the commandment on the Sabbath) has influenced this change in our house as well.

Then, on top of all of my research, I remembered a site (which may be controversial to some, so those of you of my readers with a liberal bent, tread with caution) on parenting called "Raising Godly Tomatoes" I crossed by it before, but passed on some of her thoughts basically because she is a huge advocate of homeschooling, and I, well, I'm not. Let me clarify. I think homeschooling is a great option. That's why we're doing it. However, I would like to highlight the word "option." Some homeschool advocates think it's the only thing that Christian parents should be doing, and I don't feel as though I can get totally on board with that idea.

This very wise woman, walks a fine line of saying that everyone should homeschool, but in her defense, (and I think she states this somewhere) it's very difficult to implement her ideas without homeschooling. I think that's her point. I don't even think she thinks every parent should parent like her. However, people kept asking her for advice, since she had a family of 10 kids and people like to know from moms like that! So she started saying what she did, homeschooling being a key component of her method.

However, since we have decided to homeschool, I will be able to implement several of her ideas, which I think are pretty good ones! Several of them coincide with what I've been learning on the podcasts through Sonlight. I'm trying all of these ideas...from the sermon on time management to the podcasts on running a homeschooling house, to this woman's website on raising godly "tomatoes" and I have to say...things are running pretty smoothly around here! My house is clean, my children are happy and behaving better every day, and our television hasn't been turned on for 2 days now.

That's right...I took away the t.v. Knut's been begging me to do it for years, but I've always used it to squeeze to "babysit" the kids here or there to get a shower in, or to pull supper together, or have just 30 minutes of peace in my day. However, I was beginning to recognize the habit of watching t.v. taking a hold on my kids.

I have no intention of getting rid of our t.v. or never letting our kids watch it. We love having family movie night, and Knut and I love getting our Netflix movies out after the kids go to bed at night, and do I think taking football away from Knut may put us into some serious counseling. I'm not anti-television, and think that if we can successfully take hold of it and put it in it's proper place in our family again. I just saw it taking over. I felt guilty how much I'd let the kids watch and would just laugh it off and promise myself I'd get better. So for now, it's unplugged in the corner, and will remain so until Knut or I feel that we as a family are ready to plug it in again.

However, as much as Knut wanted me to do this a long while ago (go no t.v.) he had no idea what I was to do with the kids with no t.v. There was no plan, no nothing. Just "we shouldn't do this anymore." That's where the godly tomaotes site has been so inspiring to me and filled that gap. It's like I feel like there's so much more purpose in my day as a mom, and I feel more confident in what needs to be done, and the words I say to them.

So, after my 2 days (I know, hardly a test...but a start) my kids are happier and more obedient. Elias and David especially. It's been some adjustment for David, but I'm slowly learning not to send him away when he gets in a mood, but keep him near, and process with him. I'm not a people person, or I should say a "large group" person. I get my energy from being alone, and her idea of "tomato stalking" worried me that I'd feel a bit claustrophobic by the end of the day. However, after 2 days of using some of her methods, I have to honestly say that hasn't been the case. The only thing that has changed is I enjoy being around my kids more and look for less places to escape to.

I am retraining myself to not "find something to keep them busy" while I do chores, but involve all 3 of them in the chores that I am doing. I'm just flabbergasted how much they are enjoying this! We were having a ball going through a big pile of socks and finding matches this morning. The kids wanted to do that with me more than anything else in the house. (Well besides watch t.v., but that wasn't an option for them!)

I actually have no laundry to wash right now. There's things in the sorting bags, but not enough in any bag to make a full load. The couch in the den has been nearly constantly laundry free for over a week. It comes out of the drier, gets folded and put away, and with everyone helping with a smile, and Mt. Laundry has been removed from my den. Don't get me wrong, there are 2 closets in the upstairs of my house the desperately need to be gone through and sorted (changing out clothes sizes, etc.) but who is going to know about those? I mean, besides all of you blog readers who I just told.

The kids love to help me with everything, from laundry to dishes to cleaning up toys. (gasp!) They'll do any of this as long as they get to be with me. How sweet is that?! I'm just overwhelmed by their desire to be around me and learn from me...I had no idea they were this hungry for "me." I'm just honored by it, and they are just so sweet!

I guess that's where the change actually was. It's happening in me as I'm starting to see (finally! with 3 almost 4 kids here) my job as a mother come together and see how it's "supposed" to work. I feel as though I'm leaving the survival mode of the last few years, the "do what you gotta do" mentality, and coming to a place of joyful living.

I know...it's just been a matter of weeks when the change started. However, I have to say: I've never planned to be the homeschoolin', cloth diaperin', NFPin', huge gardenin', farm livin', no t.v. watchin', borderline what some of my city family would call "Amish livin'" family. I mean really, Knut and I laugh pretty often when we think about what we are turning into. We didn't set out for this life, but we did set out to live and raise our family with intention. Not with haphazard play it by ear parenting. We've always tried to be intentional, and seek the Lord in places in our life that I think many families don't see the need. I'm not saying this is the life God wants for everyone, but I will say it's where he's leading us.

I'm still amazed at how beautiful and peaceful this life that He has lead us to really is. The verses that just came to mind are from Psalm 23: "He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake." It best describes how I see and feel this change in our family. (Although Knut wouldn't see this as a change at all, but moving to what we should have been doing but to lazy to do all along.) I thought it would be more work, but it's not. It's more joy, and more effective than the survival mentality we had been practicing before. I've been inspired through various means lately, and hope to spread that around.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Wagon Load

Our wagon is full! We have peas and green beans keeping us busy up to our ears! And you know, as soon as they're out of the garden...


There's work in the kitchen to be done! We've actually been having lots of fun singing songs like "I've Been Working on the Railroad" and "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" although we ran out of the traditional farm animals on the farm, so our poor Old MacDonald had mosquitoes and dinosaurs and a quite large vast array of animals added to his little farm today in our version.

6 hands work so much better than 2!

And where was Elias in all of this? Well, in the garden the kids took shifts feeding him raw peas as I kept the work up. He has no complaints!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

First Fruits...er...Vegetables


We have green beans! Finally, our garden is starting to get a harvest. When Knut was out there weeding last weekend, he said that there were lots of blossoms on the green beans, with a few tiny beans already there. It dawned on me today that there was probably a bunch in there for us! I was not disappointed as the kids and I filled up two ice cream pails of beans.

The peas are ready-ish, but I only found a handful of about 10 pods that couldn't wait until tomorrow, and the rest looked like they needed one more day. So I picked the few that couldn't wait and we ate them raw for morning snacks. Raw peas are definitely the kids' favorite and they were giggling with delight over the thought!

I'm on day 3 of a new push to have the kids help me more around the house. I've been listening to some homeschool podcasts on managing the home during the school year and got some great ideas on how to get the kids to help more around the house. This is our 3rd day and I have to say so far it's working! After the kids helped me pick in the garden, I let them have their raw pea snack, and then we snapped the green beans together. A job that easily would have taken me most of the morning last year took me about a half hour to complete with the kids.

Now, they still whine, but I'm more determined than them this time, and even David has been following suit...eventually. So far my house is cleaner, and my jobs are getting done! Yeah! Yesterday, I had all of my daily chores (and caught up from chores from the day before) done before lunch, and I had the rest of the day to read and play with the kids, and I even got some very productive sewing time in. This progress is making want to keep this system of expecting them to help more in place!

I'm not saying that they don't usually help. It's just I tend to not like to take the time to teach them how to do it properly. They rarely get it done the way I like it done anyway, but I'm finding that they are getting to an age where me fixing what they have done is faster than doing it all by myself. I'm really liking this age!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

8 years

Happy Anniversary to us! Today makes 8 years of marriage.
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Knut and I met our senior year in high school of all places. It was a boarding school, although not all of the students boarded like me. Some lived off campus like Knut. Neither of us had ever really dated anyone before, and we didn't actually date each other for the first half of the year. I don't think it occurred to either of us to like each other in that way for awhile, although we did seem to hang out all the time.

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Here's our first technical date, I suppose, although it was months later before we were officially a couple. Our friends Sarah and Doug are still very special to us, although they were never a couple, and did not end up getting married to each other like us, or like the other couple who is were with us at Godfather's but not pictured here because they were across the table (Kristin and Jesse who are now expecting their 2nd child). I'm trying to remember if there was still one other couple there with us, but I don't have any photographs to help me remember! You have no idea how old that makes me feel to wonder this!

Getting the 2 of us together, who were pretty clumsy at relationships as neither of us had ever been in one, was quite the challenge, taken on unofficially by Knut's brother, Jon, and my friend Kristel, and I'm sure a number of other people. I have to honestly say I don't think I ever intended on marrying Knut in the beginning, but I was horrified at the thought of making it all the way through high school without ever having a boyfriend. Shallow, I know. I was 17, so give me a break.

After graduation, we intended on breaking up. Honestly, we both did. We never said it out loud, but he was going to the middle-of-no-where Montana for Bible school, and I was headed off to down town Chicago for Bible school. I think each of us tried to break it off, for practicality sake. Effort was put into a break up, but neither of us could seem to manage it. So in the end, we gave up, and decided to date long distance for our first year of college. Since he had little to know email access in the mountains, we wrote letters once a week, and talked on the phone maybe once every other week...sometimes more. Our main rule was that we were not allowed to break up unless it was face to face. No breaking up through a letter or phone call was allowed.

I lived for his letters every week. I got to know Knut so well that year. We talked about all the theology we were studying, and about things we struggled with, as well as our work and ministries we were assigned to. We were, you know, both at Bible school! I remember one phone call telling him how someone I knew had gotten mugged, and he told me there was a mountain lion spotted near his dorm. We each dealt with our own dangers, I guess!

It was when Knut came to visit me in Chicago over spring break that it dawned on me that we were going to get married one day. I don't think that was the moment for him, but it was for me.

The year after that, I moved back to our old high school to work while I figured out what in the world I wanted to do with my life, and he transferred to Northwestern to finish his degree. With only 3 hours of road separating us, we saw each other much more often, and spent way too much money on phone cards, as somehow we justified that since we were closer it was ok!

We did break up for a bit that year. 2 weeks, I think. I think Knut started to realize that our relationship would probably end in marriage as well, and was not planning on getting married til he was 30 or something. I think he realized he'd never get to date other girls, or experience college without a girlfriend "tying him down" or something to that tune. So, we broke up. I said "Go! Have fun! Be free!"

He called me every day we were broken up. I'm not even kidding. He was just calling to check on me, and make sure I was ok. Even his roommate called me once telling me Knut was not in good shape. I'm not sure what he expected me to do about it, but he thought I should know. The next chance Knut had, 2 weeks later, he came to visit me and asked me out again. He never did get all those other dates, and I don't think he even asked one other girl out. With the number of times he called me, I don't know where he'd have the time!

The summer after that Knut came down to spend the summer with my family in Phoenix, and I expected, to get their permission to marry me. My sister got married that summer too, so there was much family in town for him to meet. He stayed with my Uncle John and Aunt Chris and family, who lived only a couple miles from my parents house where I stayed. What a trooper! Don't get me wrong, they are loads of fun, but she was pregnant with her 3rd child and had terrible morning sickness. Many mornings, I'm told, he was woken up by her plopping a baby and a 3 year old on his chest and saying, she'd be back. She spent the morning on the floor of the bathroom, and he fed and played with the boys until her stomach settled a little.

I think Knut was a godsend to her, and they became close. She praised him to the hilt to the rest of the family too, so he was a pretty easy shoo-in. That summer my little 3 year old cousin dubbed a phrase that is still sometimes heard in my family. You know, when something is "as big as a Knut."

We headed back to college in the fall, with me transferring to Northwestern as well, as was the plan. He tortured me for weeks without proposing. He'd take me to fancy dinners, gear up for an important question and say "what would you like for dessert" when I was expecting "the question." I remember crying to one of my roommates the night before he proposed "he's never going to do it!" Knut thought it was great fun, though.

However, the day he proposed, I remember we went to church, and then picked up some fried chicken for a picnic in the park. Driving past a police station, Knut accidentally ran a red light...something he never does! I mean, it wasn't even turning red. It had been red for a good while. Of course he got pulled over, and then the famous story of the police officer asking me to get out of the car, and taking me aside, asked me if there were any "domestic issues" I wanted to make known. Choking back laughter, I told him "no." I got the ring that afternoon, though!

While I believe I can honestly say I love our marriage and we both work hard at it, I can also honestly say our engagement was...we'll say dicey. More than any other 9 months we've been together. While we seemed on the same page for dating, and for marriage, we were never on the same page as far as what an engagement actually was. While I started dress shopping, and putting down deposits for this or that, he proceeded to freak out. He thought since I had the ring, I was a bit too presumptuous to think we were actually getting married. He always asked after each deposit if it was refundable, and after each bridal shower, as I would organize the gifts to attempt to fit them into my tiny dorm room, he would scold me that nothing was to leave it's original box or be separated from it's gift receipt, because if we ended up not getting married we'd want to send everything back easily. He was constantly reminding me that just because we were engaged didn't mean for sure we were getting married.

Looking back, I'm surprised we made it to the wedding day. I remember wondering the morning of the wedding day if he'd show up. I mean, I was about 95% sure he would. There was no doubt in my mind that he was the man I wanted to marry, and I believe his biggest issue wasn't me, but the idea of growing up and being married. At least 3 times during the engagement I almost called it off for his own good, and once I tried giving him the ring back. He'd always tried to keep the engagement going, but wanted to be sure I was kept in check as far as my expectations. It was 9 months of torture, I tell you!

We did have premarital counselling, which sometimes helped, and sometimes freaked him out even more. However, I do think we stayed on our course to get married because of it.

Our wedding day, though, was amazing. It wasn't the flowers or dress or church that was amazing...it was the way he looked at me all day. It was like a light switch was turned on in his head. I was finally his bride, and I could have cried. Having no more questions, and no more arguments about our future...it was wonderful.
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Our first year of marriage was good considering how busy we were as seniors in college both working as well. We loved reading books on marriage before and after we were married, and we thought we had an awful lot covered as far as "fight prevention." We didn't always agree, but we had always communicated well. I think that we went into marriage thinking if we just tried to understand each other better and communicate better, that the majority of fights could be avoided.

There was one thing, though, that I don't remember going over in pre-marital counselling. We learned how to talk, and how to plan, and "fight the good fight." We learned about expectations. However, I don't think that it occurred to us until that first year of marriage that each of us was married to another sinner. Our first year of marriage we didn't have a lot of communication issues, or anything like that. We had some sin issues that neither of us saw coming. I bring this up because it was a huge turning point in our marriage. I think we got to the point where we were stuck between a hard place and forgiveness. There was a major shift from working on training the other one in, to serving and protecting the other one from the enemy's attacks, which we both felt. It drove us together and made us cling to one another and to God like nothing I could have planned.

Over the last 8 years, we've had our share of curve balls thrown our way. Together, we've called 6 different places our home. We've gotten into debt (you know, the usual: student loans, car, etc.) scraped together to get out of debt, (almost there! One pesky student loan left!) We dream a lot together. Sometimes Knut comes home and we are both equally exhausted, and he just comes to me and gives me a hug while the kids walk around and through our legs like we're some kind of jungle gym. There's something about that touch that gives us renewed energy.

We have so much fun together. I can't think of one person I like to hang out with more. It's so much fun to have someone who you have 1,000 inside jokes with, and you can just look at them, or they can look at you, and instantly, you know what they're thinking. Well, not always, but he understands me better than most people. I think he shares more of himself with me than anyone else, so I think I understand him better than most people as well. It's such an amazing blessing to be known on that level.

I won't say we never disagree, but since that first year of marriage, I think we've grown so much stronger and in love than ever. I constantly feel like I'm bracing myself for when I'm going to wake up from this wonderful dream, but it keeps going on. Maybe that's my baggage that I brought with me into the relationship from my childhood. God has taught me so much through Knut and healed me so much through our marriage as well. God has taught me so much about His love through Knut, and at times, I feel perplexed by both. I think, though, it's one of those lessons you don't learn in a day.

Happy Anniversary, Knut. I love our little growing family, and want to thank you for each day.

Monday, July 5, 2010

A Few More Pictures

Because they're so cute...






4th of July Weekend

This last weekend I had so much work to do and no way to complete it all. I was so thankful then, when Knut came home on Thursday afternoon and said he was done for the week, and asked how he could help. So with a big sigh of relief, I made him up a to-do list of things, and he got to work. He got my vegetable garden and the front flower bed all weeded. Both needed it badly! Then as seen before, he took the kids strawberry picking. It was the last day to do it before the strawberry farm was done for the year, and I had no time but I this is a jam year for me, and I really wanted to make some strawberry jam!

So on Saturday, all of my helpers and me got all of the strawberry and strawberry-rhubarb jam made for the year! It's normally a job that takes me all day, but we were done by lunchtime. It's so nice to have help!


So that left me plenty of time to make my pies for Sunday. The infamous pie table at the 4th of July party is what I think many members of our family look forward to the most. This year I made a baked triple-berry pie and a baked strawberry-rhubarb pie. I did the fancy lattice tops on both of them because I wanted more practice making those look pretty, as the last time I tried a lattice top it looked pretty bad!


This year the triple-berry was one of the first to go, which made me beam with pride. The strawberry rhubarb made it to leftovers for the evening meal, which was disappointing to me, since I like my pies gone first ;) but I didn't have any leftovers to take home, which I know wasn't happy for Knut. However, on this particular holiday, I take leftover pie home as an insult, and have only had to take home leftover pie once before and do not intend on repeating it! It's a very silly goal of mine every year, but I suppose every life is entitled some silliness!

Silje had a blast hanging out with "the big girls" on the dock.

For snack, watermelon was passed around...where every you happened to be.

As always, the 4th produces quite a crowd! I overheard there were 103 that signed the guest book, but they were pretty sure there were some that had not.

It was rainy and dreary in the morning, but much to all of our pleasure, the sun came out and there was a slight breeze and it turned into a most perfect day at the lake! It's a tradition that Knut's grandparents have had since 1944 (although it might have been started by his great-grandparents, come to think of it), and apparently, they have never once canceled. The family has grown a bunch since then, and continues to grow. There were several "honorary family members" there too. Still we pack it in, and have a great time every year!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Mmmmmm...

This morning Knut and Silje and David went berry picking.

Boy did they ever!

With the 4th of July just around the corner, there are pies to be made! Plus last year I didn't' make any jellies or jams because I had such a surplus from the year before. Last year I was able to focus on apples and tomatoes as far as canning. This year however, my jellies and jams may not make it to spring, so I need to make some strawberry jam, strawberry-rhubarb jam, and rhubarb jelly. Thus, the extra strawberries, because if you go to all the trouble to make fresh jam, it might as well be amazing freshly picked strawberries!

That, however, is mostly on tomorrow's to do-list. The strawberries will have to hold until then. (And the rhubarb jelly might not happen tomorrow either, because I need to make pies for the 4th too!) Today I've made bread, froze a batch of chili, and just finished putting 28 fresh chimichangas in the freezer for future use. I still have one of my family's favorite: broccoli calzones, as well as assembling 4? or so meat loafs for the freezer to go today. I feel as though I've been staring into my refrigerator far too often at 5:30 pm with no idea what is for supper lately. So the answer? A massive freezer meal cooking day. It's been awhile! Elias was home with me in the kitchen, and wasn't the most help. However, I put on some of the old VBS music from years past, and we made a party of it!