Saturday, October 30, 2010

Trying to Rest

Well, yesterday worry overtook me and I headed in to my doctor to make sure everything was still going well.  I've just had too many contractions that have taken too long to go away.  Everything is still going well, but he wanted me to take it really easy from here on out.  The definition of what that looks like, I'm not quite sure, but I got the impression that I need to cut back, and a lot. 

There's just so many hurdles to cutting back and resting more that it's a bit overwhelming.  I think the system that will probably work best with Knut being home a bit is that when he's home, he does many of the standing things that I used to do.  (Dishes, getting drinks for the kids at supper, vacuuming, etc.)  When I'm the only adult at home, I do what absolutely needs to get done.  (Changing diapers, making food, etc.)  However, baskets of clothes get left at the bottom of the stairs for Knut to bring up once he gets home, or better yet, I can sometimes get the kids to take up hand fulls and put them away themselves.  It's not as neat as I would do it, but somethings have to give.

I need to be disciplined to sit down more.  It's such a mental battle that I know some of my readers who have been pregnant before may understand.  You don't want to feel like you're taking advantage of the situation.  It just feels wrong to sit at the table and let others clear my plate.  To ask someone to help me get the kids to the car feels embarrassing for some reason.  Trying to take it easy is a huge blow to the ego because it's like admitting to everyone around you how weak and unable you are to do things over and over again.  It's certainly humbling. 

It's been experiences like this (this is not the first pregnancy I've had to cut back this much...in fact I was put on more severe restrictions when I was pregnant with Silje) that makes my heart go out to every woman on bedrest out there.  The biggest challenge of bedrest I believe, is the mental challenge on not feeling sick, yet having to willfully stay in bed.  Then there's added to that the mental battle of questioning your body's ability, as well as worry for your baby.  It's completely a mental battle, and my prayers and empathy go out to every bedridden pregnant lady out there. 

Fortunately, I'm not at that point, and am hoping to avoid bedrest altogether this time around.  However, I was warned that if I don't cut back enough, I will be. 

Honestly, though, I feel like I'm dealing with a whole cocktail of emotions and hormones that traditionally comes with the third trimester that I'm trying desperately to overcome.  I'm always tired.  I know I'm irrationally annoyed because Knut has been great and a huge help being home some this last week, and no matter how awesome he is without complaint, I feel annoyed.  I don't think it's him, and perhaps I'm just annoyed that I need his help.  At any rate, it seems to me to be an illogical annoyance, and that has me categorize it as another pregnancy symptom.

Add to that the overall worry, or dare I say fear, that this baby will come too early.  Only I can listen to my body and take its cues to sit more, and only I can communicate those needs to others, and if I don't, and this baby comes too early, that will be on my shoulders.   Hmmm, just as I wrote that the verse came to mind from Matthew: "Come to me all ye who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me..." it's been awhile since I've memorized that one, so pardon the mistakes if there are any.  Thank you Holy Spirit for that little reminder.

It's funny how God says over and over again in the Scriptures how he wants to give us rest and he even commands us to rest, and yet we don't take it.  We don't do it.  I think that it boils down, like most sins, to the sin of pride.  We don't like others seeing us rest, or admitting we need rest.  We like to appear strong and self sufficient.  Capable, able, responsible.  There's something about taking rest that can be humbling, and perhaps that's why God gives it/commands it.  We need that so badly. 

I have had very little joy in sewing lately, even though that usually relieves stress for me. I find myself bored and gaining more unfinished projects rather than finishing my pile of previously started projects.  I have some things that really need to be finished up within the next week for a swap that I'm doing with some friends and I just don't feel like it.  What I'd like is to get some "mojo" back in the sewing area. I find myself dreaming of patterns and enjoying coming up with new projects, but my motivation to finish anything has been dried up.  I would like very much to overcome that.

Really, the only thing that seems to get me smiling and looking forward to doing things right now (besides looking forward to the birth of this little girl) is looking forward to Christmas this year.  Some of you may remember that last year around Thanksgiving/Christmas time, I miscarried a baby, and then we went to Phoenix for Christmas and while we were there I had my surgery to remove a huge ovarian tumor.  With all of that going on, I didn't make any Christmas cookies, or send out Christmas cards.  We didn't bother decorating the house much as we weren't going to be home for Christmas.  No tree, no ornaments, no baking.  Even though it was good to be with my family, I was either in pain or doped up on pain meds, and it just wasn't the same.

I'm so excited for Christmas this year.  So much so that I cry when I think about it.  (Think 3rd trimester pregnant hormones again.  Yes, I cry when I think of Christmas.)  This Christmas, we will have another stocking hung by the fire for our new little baby.  I can't wait to get a tree and decorate it.  I can't wait to make Christmas cookies this year and I'm pretty sure I'll go overboard in decorating the house this year.  I can't wait for my parents and Knut's brother and sister-in-law to come up during the season.  Cozy fires in the fireplace, it all white outside.  I think I'll just soak it all in this year. 

Sorry for all of the rambling thoughts.  That's what blogs are for, right?  I just thought I'd let all my friends who have kindly reminded me to take it easy that I am doing my best to do so, even though mentally it's very, very difficult to do.  I'd ask for prayer that I'd find joy in resting, instead of my grumbly annoyance, but that seems to be an even greater "cultural sin" in this part of America.  It's one thing to have to rest...as if it's the responsible thing to do, but it's another thing to totally revel in it with joy.  Our mortal world is funny, isn't it?

Through my rambling, though, I reminded myself that there is still so much to look forward too, and this is all just temporary.  I won't be restricted forever, and joy will come.  I just need to hang in there.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Homeschool Friday

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David has been wearing his ski boots with his pajamas for school lately. You never know when you might need them in case of emergency, you know.

I brought out our US map puzzle this last week which I've been saving for a few months so they didn't get all of their new school things at once. Silje and David take turns putting it together over and over, and I'm surprised how quickly they're learning their states and capitols.

School has been good this week. We've more interruptions than usual it seems, with Knut being home at odd times, and of course the snow. We went to homeschool group on Tuesday, although we were really late because I was determined to take it easy and not rush. Neither the kids nor the group seemed to mind, though. Silje's choir practices seem to be progressing much faster now, although I'm not there for them to see with my own eyes. They're working on some actions to songs, which Silje's pretty excited about.
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I snapped a shot of Silje pausing a moment during her piano practice. I'm looking at this picture and thinking I should have reminded her to keep her wrists up more. The reader I picked for her at the library this week has been "Tales of a 4th Grade Nothing" and she's was hesitant, because the cover wasn't that great. However, she has declared it her favorite book ever, and rushes to tell me everyday what Peter and his little brother "Fudge" have done each day.

We're continuing on with our unit on ancient Egypt, and Silje loves spending her free time looking at our library books with pictures of artifacts found during that time.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Getting Nearer

Crossing into the 33 week point, I know things are getting closer. The closer I get, the more I pray that I make it to December this time. I was at the doctor last Friday and everything is going fine. Then Monday night I had "an episode." It's pretty common for me (and most pregnant ladies, I'm sure) to get mild contractions throughout the third trimester. It's when they're regular that you need to be concerned.

Well, Monday night, I was feeling sore. Mostly because I mopped the kitchen floor on my hands and knees earlier that day. I'm sorry, but the Swifter just doesn't clean it good enough and it was really bothering me. It was stupid of me to do, and I think I'll just have to rely on the Swifter for the rest of this pregnancy and deal with it.

All afternoon my back hurt, but around 6pm contractions started. 20 minute intervals quickly turned into 10 minute intervals, which got my attention. It didn't help that Silje and David were constantly fighting, and hitting and yelling. Elias was in destruction mode and was going from room to room destroying something. I was trying to sit down and get my feet up, but my 3 little ones were making it basically impossible.

I got supper in them, and tried to sit down. No one was listening, or eating. This was not like them. My kids are normally pretty good. I put on a movie for them. (After supper? Gasp! They normally never get t.v. time then, but I was getting desperate.) Even that didn't help much as they were kicking each other on the couch and pushing each other off and screaming about what the other did.

By 7, a few of the contractions were getting seriously close to 5-7 minutes apart and I started freaking out. With Knut gone, my mind was racing to figure out what to do with the children. Should I call his mom and have her watch the kids? Should I call the hospital without getting a chance to sit and rest to see if they go away first? I finally decided to just put the kids in their beds. Yes, it was seriously early. Lights were off by 7:30 (30 minutes before their regular bedtime), although no one was asleep. Knut came in for his supper at that point, and saw me in my "freaking out" mode. I've had some kind of preterm labor with each previous pregnancy, and I knew I needed to sit down and relax.

This wasn't Knut's first time dealing with me having preterm labor either, and he knew like I knew that we'd most likely end up in the hospital before the evening was over. So he took a moment to get me set up downstairs with a movie, a gallon of water, a bowl of ice cream, and he rubbed my neck for a minute, which always relaxes my body in a hurry.

I heard the kids running around upstairs, but ignored it and stubbornly kept my feet up. Eventually, everyone ended up back in their beds and were asleep. From that point on the contractions immediately slowed to every 20 minutes, and then disappeared altogether like we had hoped. So we decided not to go in.

However, when I woke up the next morning, the baby was decidedly lower. Wow, she's sitting low. This worries me because I don't want her sitting so low this early...possibly moving thing along faster than I want.

So just when I feel like my housework is caught up again, I have to mentally force myself to let it go and sit down as much as possible. Feet up, drinking water. It's getting down to that tough part of the pregnancy where I have to say "no" a lot when everything in me wants to say "yes!" I always feel like I can do things, and it's only after I do them that I feel the repercussions.

My kids have come sooner and sooner. Silje was born on her due date, right at 40 weeks. (Soooooo like her. Punctual and by the book.) David was at 37 weeks, and Elias barely slipped into the category of "preterm" at 36 weeks, and his lungs showed it, hence the week in the NICU and 2 hospitalizations since. Ironically, I didn't have any preterm labor contractions with him. My water just broke spontaneously at 36 weeks with no warning.

Not only that, but David was born at 37 weeks and was just fine! It made us realize how very crucial every week in the womb is to a little baby.

So now at 33 weeks, I'm getting nervous. I'm getting jumpy. My mental goal is 38 weeks, although after going through the NICU, I'd go 2 weeks over with little complaint if it meant a healthy baby. I know girls tend to have more mature lungs at birth than boys, and so if she does come at 36 weeks, she'll be less likely to have the lung issues that Elias did. That is a bit of a comfort.

I'm kicking myself for letting contractions continue on for an hour and a half that close together without getting them to stop. I'm hoping and praying I didn't shave weeks off this pregnancy with that episode. I need to plan for what I'd do if that happened again, but soon I won't have to worry. Evenings are the hardest for me, physically, and Knut will soon be home when it's dark. I think this little snow storm which allowed him to be home a lot more for a couple of days is pretty well timed as well.

So say a prayer, and keep your fingers crossed for me that we'll make it all the way to December this time! It's coming up quick!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Outside Play

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Well, after lunch, Daddy was home and since I had some help, even Elias got to come out.
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David isn't the only boy in the family eager to get on skis. He pulled out his "rock skis" (older non-racing skis) and said it was surprisingly good skiing in the front yard.
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Elias and I mostly walked around in the snow that's quickly turning to slush.

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The boys raced back and forth, and down the "hill" (ditch) a few times.
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It should be a good winter!

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He doesn't have them yet, but Knut is determined to get Elias on skis this year as well. I mean, he's going to be 2 in a few weeks. It's about time.
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The girls (Silje and Lena) found a snow drift by the tire swing to dig in.
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Stop growing already! When did she get so big??
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Who says you can't swing in the snow?
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However, there's a little reminder that winter isn't here to stay yet. The tractor is just sitting in the snow and waiting for this weekend when the snow has melted and they can finish up the field work. Until then, it can just sit in the snow and look pretty.

Snow!

Our first snow of the season has arrived. It's not supposed to stay. In fact, it's supposed to be gone by the weekend, which is good for harvest. If the snow had not come, I bet harvest would have been done this week. However, I for one am not complaining that we got Knut home for a bit. I mean, he spent his time off fixing a toilet and cleaning a chimney, but still...nice to have him around.

Last night the power kept blinking off and on, and it was so windy and stormy out here on the farm. How cozy!

Since we had our busy Tuesday yesterday and Elias didn't get a nap, he was sleeping in, which was torture for Silje and David. Knut and I wouldn't let them run upstairs into the room Elias was sleeping in and get their warm clothes. Knut, Silje, and David were all up by the time I got up, and they were just jumping up and down in front of the window. (Well, Knut was jumping up and down on the inside.)

I teased the kids that I wasn't sure when they were going to go outside, because we had to do some school first. Knut was the one with puppy eyes who spoke up first saying "But we heard on the radio that all the schools are 2 hours late! One is even 3 hours late! It's only fair that we have late school today too!" (can you hear the whine?)

C'mon Knut, I was just joking.

Finally, by 9:30, I decided that Elias should wake up, and sent the kids upstairs to get their things. Elias woke up pretty pleasantly, and I got him changed, dressed, and fed and then headed to the closet to pull out all of our winter outerwear.

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I know I should have gone through the things before the snow came, but whenever I got close to them, the kids started swarming around like bees, wondering when the snow is coming. Plus, it's so hard to get them to try on snow pants when there is no snow to play in as a reward for such a chore.

I've got a system, though. I buy clothes either on clearance, garage sales, or from hand-me-downs and shoot for one of every-other size. So we have gender neutral boots in 7, 9, 11,13s, etc. Actually, with hand-me-downs from several different families at church, we have filled in some gaps too. The same goes with snow pants. Gender neutral, every other size. Well, we have one pair of purple ones, but here in Viking territory, we call that a boy color too.

Coats have not been bought in gender neutral colors, but I do tend to buy them 1-2 sizes too big. I'm determined to get 2 winters out of each one if I possibly can. I buy these sometimes full price though, because I want to be sure that the sleeves go to the knuckles at the beginning of the winter, otherwise I know they won't make it through the end of winter. Try to find a winter coat for the kids in February when they're not in the stores anymore, but there's still a good chunk of winter left. Believe me, I've tried. Goodwill, consignment shops, department stores are all out.

Anyway, finding the right sizes, attaching the inner fleeces to the outer coats, finding mitten pairs, etc. took up quite a bit of time, but finally...they made it.

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However, this is the best picture you'll get today of David on his skis. O...he wasted no time. This pregnant mama is staying in her p.j.s, sending the kids outside and sipping a hot drink with this guy:

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in front of this:
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(I'm told we will finish the interior of the fireplace this winter. We'll see!)

P.S. I love that Silje and David are old enough to send out to play.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Homeschool Friday

We had a fun week homeschooling this week. We've had a pretty good week about starting school in the morning, and getting lots done. We've been perpetually behind in our read aloud books, but I started reading to the kids during their snack time instead of before bed, and it's so much easier! They're sitting there with food in their mouth so they can't interrupt, and it gives their hands something quiet to do. We've gotten mostly caught up, and are currently enjoying the book "Mr. Popper's Penguins" which is not only teaching us a lot about penguins, but it is pretty funny.

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School rarely starts before 9am, and since the kids get up much earlier than that, Silje got in a quick tea party before school yesterday.

Tuesday is normally our busy day, but it was the off week for our homeschool group, and Silje's piano lessons were canceled by her teacher as well, so we just had a quick trip to town for her choir practice. However, on Thursday, we decided to go on our first field trip with the homeschool group. I was debating whether or not to go, and Knut suggested that I not go unless I can get someone to watch Elias for it, since it was during his nap time, and he didn't want me chasing around a cranky tired baby for a few hours on the outing.

Fortunately, Grandma came to the rescue, and Elias got to take his nap at her house while I took Silje and David the the Prairie Wetlands, which was hosting the homeschool group. Silje went there several times last year in kindergarten and loves it out there. She was in the older group and David was with the preschool group. I couldn't be with both groups, so I stayed with David since he was hanging on my leg, and Silje pranced off to be with her friends without looking back.

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David was pretty excited to get a map to the place, and paid close attention to where exactly we were on the map at all times. We had a "guide" there who pointed out to us all the interesting wildlife in the wetlands.
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We walked through the grounds until we reached our destination on the map: a grove of oak trees.
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There we looked through the leaves, in search of fuzzy white or pink "gulls" that are actually eggs that insects have laid on the leaves before they have fallen.

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It took David and I awhile since he was more interested in rolling around in the leaves. Here's his gull with his "Lil Farmer Gloves" that he rarely leaves the house without.

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And here's his smile that says "Can I go back to playing in the leaves now?"

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Then we headed over to the pond, and the kids laid down on their tummies and looked in to see what they could find.

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There was so much to see.

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David loved that this bridge floated. It was at this point that he was about done and didn't like to keep up with the rest of the group.

When the time came, we got Silje from her class. She had been given a little notebook and got to draw the wildlife she saw and then learn about it. She drew a cricket, and got to learn all about them.

After the field trip we stopped by the library, and I picked out some more readers for Silje to use for the next few weeks since she's still so ahead in what the curriculum package sent us. We also found tons of books on ancient Egypt, which is our history unit right now. We don't need any more books than what we have in the curriculum, but I figured it can't hurt to have more information lying around if she wants something interesting to read in her free time. I'll have to admit, I'm astonished at how much I'm learning in this unit!

We also picked up a bit on penguins, since Silje wanted to know more about them from our read aloud book. She read about them the whole way home and was telling me all about things baby penguins do.

I've added a few "supplements" which has been keeping Silje's mornings more full than usual, but I think we both like it better that way. She doesn't like only having school for 2 hours. So I printed off some coloring sheets and crossword puzzles that coordinate with our Bible lesson of that day, and she gets to work on those. Then I did a quick search on some of my "free teacher worksheets" sites that I've found to be so helpful, as well as the Sonlight's list of suggested supplement resources, and have just given her more work in the areas that we are already studying. She's doing extra work so far in English, geography, and sometimes science, although I think the things I added for her in science are a bit over her head so I think I may drop that. This week I picked up an extra credit reader at the library for her as well.

It's not more work for me to give her more work. It simply keeps her more content, and that basically makes my job easier.

Monday, October 18, 2010

More Show and Tell

I'm sorry I missed my Friday homeschool post. Life just got a bit busy, but most of all I got distracted. O well.

Harvest continues on, and continues to go very well. As the corn, I'm sure, is nearing the halfway point, I'm at the point where I'd like my husband back. I can see he's been taking extra steps to try to make life easier on me. For instance, he'll walk up to the house to pick up his lunch, rather than me walking out to the semi to hand it to him. On Saturday Silje and David each got a turn to ride the tractor with him for a few hours and they both had so so much fun! Elias is still too young to go by himself, and we haven't figured out logistically how I can go out there, as sitting in the tractor with a big tummy and a baby on my lap would work exactly. Not to mention Silje and David wouldn't fit in there, and while one of them could ride in the combine with their grandpa, we try not to have a ratio of one kid per adult in the large machinery. On top of that, I just don't enjoy riding the tractor when I'm this pregnant.

All that to say, Elias has really been missing his Daddy, and when Knut stops in, even if it's just for 2 minutes, Elias attaches himself to his Daddy and we have to peel him off of Knut in a crying fit when he has to go again. While the other kids are often awake when Knut heads off to work, Elias rarely is. While the other kids get rides with Knut, Elias doesn't. I think Elias is ready to have his Daddy back too.

As for me, I'm still knitting up a storm when I'm too sore to be up and about, and have even gotten a little sewing done, but nothing I can show here. There is one knitting project, though, that is finally ready to be shown. Finally.
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This is the little lilac dress that has been in the works pretty much all summer, and is finally off of my "almost finished" pile. It was knit up in size 3-6 months, and was knit with dk weight pima cotton yarn.

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I didn't finish the bonnet, and probably won't. The sizing was all off, and it had to be taken apart. I could up the needle size and make it the right size, but it just doesn't seem to me to be the right bonnet pattern for this dress, and as I've been looking at different hat patterns, I can't find one that seems just right for this project. So I'm tentatively calling this project done. Every dress doesn't need a matching bonnet, does it?

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This faux-wrap dress with a light purple velvet ribbon looks so simple and sweet which is why I picked it. However, the way the pattern was written made me pull out more hair than any other pattern I've ever encountered. Knitting up the pieces was easy, and not complicated. However, assembling the dress took far too long. I had to attach the sleeves 4 (yes...4!) different times, redoing it over and over. Things that could have easily been knit in the round without seams, or with edging attached was not. Everything was knit separately, and attached one by one. Would you believe I spent 2 evenings watching a movie and working on this, as well as one Sunday afternoon naptime just doing finishing work on this piece. That's the same amount of time that I worked on the entire pink sweater/bonnet set that was previously posted, and that was from start to finish.

However, I do like it, and I hope it fits after all of this trouble. I will not be doing this pattern again, but a different version of this dress might be the first pattern I actually try to write. I've had the goal for a few years to write up my own knitting pattern, and I feel I'm nearing that point, though I think I won't attempt it until next year sometime. I think I'll see if I can write a dress similar to this, but in a much easier way to understand, as well as a few style changes, and probably using a different weight yarn. So really not this dress at all, but thinking of this dress sets my mind thinking "If I were to design this pattern, I would have the sleeves like this, the skirt like this, and I'd make it so you could do it this way..."

So, there it is. If I decide to make a bonnet for it, I'll show you...but don't hold your breath!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Christmas Peek

I thought I'd show you a little bit of Christmas, although not the gifts. ;) I was thinking about what this little girl on the way would wear for Christmas, and whether or not the girls should be wearing matching dresses, etc. Well, Silje has about 3 Christmas dresses that people gave her for her birthday to choose from, so it seems kinda wasteful to make her another one.

Projects like this make me miss when Walmart used to have their $1/yard bin fabric, and I'm glad I stocked up when I did, although I'm really trying to be good about using up all of the fabric I have on hand before I allow myself any more.

So I didn't have a pattern for a little 0-3 month dress. All of my patterns started at 6-12 months. However, I did have a pattern for a 0-3 month shirt, that I had used to make Elias a cute shirt to go with my first pair of knit longies (which I found the other day. Wow, that's bad knitting! I suppose everyone has to start somewhere!) Anyway, I remembered that I really liked that pattern and it fit him so well. Although I had made the shirt in the preemie size, and it did not fit him for very long at all.

So in under 2 hours, this is what came out of my sewing room, using 1/2 yard of one of my $1/yd Walmart bin stash fabric:
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I just used the shirt pattern that I loved, shortened it a bit and added a huge ruffle to the bottom. Voila, a dress. It's red stretchy velvet, but not a fine velvet. More like sweatshirt fabric. It's so soft and will be nice and warm I hope. I was guessing on the length of the skirt, so I hope it's long enough to cover her tush.

Here it is washed out by a flash:
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The original pattern also had cuffs on the sleeves, but I remember with Elias hating how the pattern had it with a chunky seam facing his wrists, so I thought I'd try to modify the pattern to have the seam facing a different direction and have a nicer finished look, but alas after fiddling around with it for awhile I realized these sleeves are so tiny that my idea wouldn't work unless I sewed on the cuffs by hand. Since that didn't sound appealing to me, I just folded over and sewed the sleeves and left the cuff off all together.

I like it, but am thinking it needs something. A sash around the waist, a knit poinsettia pin, or some cute Christmas-y tights. I'd love to make a sewn bonnet to go with it using the same fabric, but I don't have a pattern that allows for knit fabrics like this and am a bit nervous about winging it. We'll see how ambitious I get. If I had an embroidery machine, I'd make some bloomers underneath with some cute design on the butt. Oooo, you know what would be cool? One of those crocheted headbands with those obnoxiously large flowers that are so in vogue right now. I could get a large silk poinsettia and attach it to a crocheted headband. Perfect. I'll add that to my list.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Problem Solving

I've been needing to sit more. There's no emergency or doctor's order, but I've been pregnant enough to know that when contractions start coming, it's a good idea to use the bathroom, chug some water, and then put your feet up just to be safe. It's just the drill of 3rd trimester for me. This baby and I have had lots of discussions about how she's not allowed to come too early, and so we'll have to see how well she follows instructions.

Anyway, I've been sitting more. Is there anything better to do while sitting than to have some knitting needles in your hand? When you don't feel sick, you don't feel tired, but you KNOW you need to sit and stick your feet up for 15 minutes or so, it's good to have something in your hands to keep the feeling of productivity up.

Mostly I've been working on Christmas presents which are mostly handmade this year, which I aim to do as often as possible. I know...my poor relatives. No ipods from Knut and Gretchen. I was almost done finishing up one when I realized a huge mistake. A mistake so big that I wasn't sure if I should rip up over a week and a half worth of work, or if I should just wait a few days and see if I could come up with some way to fix it.

So the only thing to do at that point is to start a new project. Ha! Like I need another one. I should have finished another unfinished project, but I needed some unattached bliss. I needed to make something not off of my to-do list, not on any goals...something made that was quick, uncomplicated, refreshing, and just for the fun of it.
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This is what I came up with. This set took me 3 days from cast on to weaving in ends. Seriously, it was just what I needed. Thick aran weight yarn, one piece pattern with very very little seaming, something that was from a new pattern so I wouldn't be bored, but not too hard so I could easily work on it back and forth while holding a conversation on the phone, watching the kids at the playground, whatever. It needed to be a project that I could be interrupted multiple times without needing to count a hundred stitches to figure out where exactly I had left off the last step.
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I wasn't sure if I was going to make this for my little girl, or give it away, and I think selfishly I'm going to keep it, but with the pride soothing reasoning that I should really see if this pattern fits a baby nicely before gifting it.

The sweater is from the gifted designer, Debbie Bliss (although the dress pattern I'm nearly swearing over in finishing is also by her, and not exactly one I'll eagerly do again). I have never made a sweater this way. It's such an odd way to construct a sweater to me, but it made it such a fast knit, and very very simple. I think it's such a unique style for a baby sweater, and worry a little about the collar on a little baby, because I think babies have such little necks that collars often don't look that great on them. This one is quite thick. However, I think this, a onesie, and a pair of cute pants would be just darling. I have the book this pattern comes in, but I think it's offered by itself free online. I pinned on a little ribbon rose that I don't intend to keep. I'd rather get a nice silk flower to use. I think if I make this pattern again, I'll add about 2-3 rows of garter stitch on the bottom edge to replace the rolling stockinette stitch, and I'll add a buttonhole in front for a large button instead of the pinned rose that the designer uses.
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The bonnet is from the same pattern that this one came from, except I sized it at the size "small" instead of "newborn" as the previous one I made was. I also made the rounded crown style instead of the pixie crown. I debated back and forth on which style to do and couldn't decide until I figured I already made one style...why not make the other one and see which style looks better on a little baby. Again, it's good information to have when making a little handmade item as a gift. I also did an i-cord tie in front instead of the buttoned chin strap that I made for the other outfit.
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What's even cooler is the yarn I used for this. Normally I brag about this nice fancy natural yarn that I got from the local yarn store made from some specific breed of sheep wool, or bamboo fibers, etc. Well, this is from the local yarn store, but it's a nylon/acrylic mix and despite that is one of the softest yarn ever, was super cheap (in comparison to what I've grown accustomed to) and it knit up so so nicely. Not only that, but I got this sweater and bonnet out of just one skein. (See the tiny little ball I have leftover! It doesn't get more right on than that!) That skein was less than $6 (but I had a 50% off coupon when I bought it) so that makes this an under $3 set. One of the few times these days that making your own clothes actually is cheaper. I could not be more pleased. Now to just see it on the little girl. (Not that that's an invitation, little one. You stay put.)

Now that this little diversion has accomplished what I hoped it would, my mind has cleared and I've figured out what to do about my enormous mistake on the other project, have fixed it, and am throwing myself back into finishing some Christmas projects. So you may not see many crafting pictures for a little while again. Unless I screw up again, or get an overwhelming urge to nest again...which is entirely possible.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Harvest Time

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We're past the halfway point of harvest now, with the soy beans done and the corn going full speed. This was a photo I snapped before church last Sunday with the combines/tractor/semi all lined up and parked for the day on an almost finished soy bean field across from our house.

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The field adjacent to our yard has some corn off of it now. Isn't it beautiful?

This year seems to be a stark contrast to the last. This warm weather has made everything go so fast, and from my calculations from passing comments Knut has made, fields are getting done 3-4 times as fast as they were last year. The glorious weather in combination with dry fields and a good dry, mature crop has made Knut tell me several times that it has been the most enjoyable harvest that he has experienced thus far. Just yesterday, they harvested their "best" field traditionally, and the corn averaged above 200 bushels an acre for the whole field, which Knut said he's never seen before.

The corn is amazingly dry, which makes sense because they just bought a big fancy dryer. Traditionally, when you upgrade on something like that, you'll get a year with very little need to use it. Call it crop insurance. So far, though, I hear no one complaining about that.

Knut's job is usually running here and there and hauling grain from place to place. The kids got a kick out of watching him work the other day over here:

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He was working at the grain bins next to our house, and gave us a call to come out and watch.
If you look closely, you can see too. Look at him. Not even a sweatshirt. It was 83 degrees this day. It just doesn't feel like normal harvest weather!

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He was unclogging something. Kinda like a plumber, but with a harness. And corn, not poop.
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Is it too early to hope that the kids will get to trick-or-treat with their Daddy this year? It's a rare instance, but I almost wonder if this year will be one of those rare times.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Homeschool Friday

OK, today will be quick and short because I just have so much to do. Besides being one day behind due to the business of David's birthday on Monday, homeschooling went just great this week. As Monday got busier and busier, I finally just scrapped the whole idea of trying to squeeze school in and declared it a holiday. I haven't decided yet if I'll just catch up gradually, which hasn't happened yet, if we'll just do school on Saturday, or if I'll just add that day onto the year, making the year one day longer. Regardless, I think we'll be just fine.

Silje learned a bit about butterflies, and that was the theme of the books we picked up from the library this week. I've also started printing off some free coloring sheets and cross word puzzles that line up with our Bible lessons, so she has a lot more things to do in the day as far as worksheets, and she really likes it that way. She loves worksheets!

In grammar, she learned a new concept of complete subjects and complete predicates, which was kinda tricky for her to pick up at first. Once she focused and put her mind to it, though, she became a pro at labeling them.

She still produces perfect worksheets in Math consistently, as far as getting the answers right, but her handwriting always goes out the window in this subject for one reason. I'm still trying to figure out why, and how to fix that. Her handwriting is beautiful in other subjects, but in math she'll have letters turned backwards, lowercase 'j' starting at the very top of the line, e's that lay sideways. I've been making her redo that part, and do it right but I have yet to have her stop doing it in the first place.

We picked up some new readers at the library this time, so after she finishes the Sonlight reader that she should finish today we'll be venturing away from the assigned Sonlight readers for a month or so, since that's how far ahead she is. In the mean time I think I'm going to have her go through some Ramona Quimby books.

We finished up our geography unit on how different people live all over the world. Up until now we've talked about different types of houses, different types of clothing, languages, beliefs, etc. It was just an introduction, and we'll be covering these things more in depth throughout the year, but the Sonlight curriculum has us adding in some more history now, and we're going to start studying some ancient history. This year we should cover creation through the fall of the Roman Empire. Sonlight follows the "Charlotte Mason" teaching philosophy (one interpretation of classical education) where you start teaching history at the very beginning, as opposed to what most public schools do with starting to teach about your city, your state, your country and than your world. With the Charlotte Mason philosophy, by the time you get to studying America, there is a strong foundation of why America was so significant in history.

As far as David goes, I've been trying to push him outside and enjoy this nice weather of ours as much as I can. He's been working night and day on the legos and puzzles that he got for his birthday. Elias has been gradually turning from "cutie" to "stinker" and I'm going to have to figure out how to occupy him better in the coming months. For now, though, all is well.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Back to Work

Last night was my last night of antibiotics, and I feel so much better! It's a lovely day today, and I can breathe without coughing or running for a tissue. I feel like my brain, and my whole head in general has come out of a fog. It's lovely.

This morning Silje and I took all of the orange-red tomatoes and the rest of the peppers out of the garden that probably should have been done a few nights back when we had a frost warning. O well, they made it.

The "test" pumpkin that we tried out not that long ago tasted delicious, but had some green near the rind still when we cut it open, so I knew there was no rush to get them out of the garden quite yet. Plus, I think they taste much better when all the leaves of the vine have withered. Most of the leaves today were brown, and it finally allowed for viewing exactly how many pie pumpkins we have. So I attempted a count. Now, I don't really consider it accurate until we actually get them off a vine, and put them in a pile, in my opinion, but just walking around and counting them, I got as high as 82. It's possible I counted a few twice, but I'm lean more on the side that I might have missed a few, as I didn't get walk too close to where the vine took over the green beans and broccoli plants, and there could be some more hiding over there.

So we pulled 4 out today, and they'll be roasting in the oven and then pureed and frozen. I'll be doing that every day here for awhile. I intend on freezing a bunch this year, and won't give them all away, but there's no way I can deal with that many. I've heard from my OB's wife that he loves pumpkin muffins, and if I brought a few pumpkins to my next appointment, they would be dearly loved, so a few will go there. Knut's supposed to tell the other guys on the farm that they can take some home, and if no one else claims some, there may be a "help yourself" pile at church in a few weeks. There's no rush to get them off the vine, but I'm hoping to see how much I can process in the next 2-3 weeks.

Anyway, my kitchen is starting to get caught up since I was sick, my laundry is not. I hate catching up on laundry.

I got an email reminder today that I'm now at 30 weeks. I totally flipped out, because my babies have thus far been born at 40, 37 and 36 weeks. 30 weeks means we're getting close! My goal/expectation this time is 38 weeks. I'd like to carry this baby as long as I possibly can, and wouldn't mind making it to 40 weeks or even overdue. However, I have my mind set that I don't want to go before 38. I will not permit it. We'll see if she agrees. With the trend I've been having, that may prove difficult, as each pregnancy has ended earlier. However my mom encouraged me that in the past it was my boys who came early, and my other girl made it to 40 weeks. Since we're having another girl, I wonder if she's right.

So in my frenzy of "what do you mean I'm 30 weeks?!?!" I finally went through my baby clothes, and got all of the 0-3 month clothes all set, and went through and saw how many newborn cloth diapers I had. That was humorous. The newborn diapers were the first diapers that I made, and I made them when I was pregnant with Elias. They'll work PERFECTLY fine, but it just made me laugh to see how far my sewing has come in these last 2 years! They look awful! The stitching is awful, the snaps are so off, and the snap in inserts! Don't get me started! Since they're only use is to be peed and pooped on, I will not be replacing them, but it did make me smile.

Going through the clothes I weeded through what I had when Silje was born, and just as I expected, I have lots of cozy sleepers, but few long sleeved onesies or pants. The summer girl lived in thin cotton summer dresses or ruffly tops and just bloomers on her bottom. I have some sweaters, and am making more, but I think I might splurge and get a couple cute long sleeved outfits. Knowing me, she'll live in sleepers the first few weeks anyway. Sleepers are so cozy and simple those first few weeks! With my first child, I was very excited to get her dressed in a cute outfit every morning. With each consecutive one, I've been content to have them cozy and swaddled tight in a sleeper most of the day. They just looked more comfortable that way, and it made diaper changes so fast.

Since I was already in the girls' closet, I went through Silje's "big box" and pulled out all of her warm clothes. I'll admit, 95% of clothes my kids have are either hand-me-downs or something I bought the previous year off of the 75% off rack at Target. (RARELY I buy off of the 50% off rack...if it's too cute to pass up.) So I put away all her little shorts and tank tops, and set out all of her sweaters and pants and long sleeved shirts, and warm p.j.s and left them for her to go through, fold and organize. (It's awesome that she's old enough to do that last part for me!)

About half of them still had the $2.48 tag on them, and the other half were hand-me-downs and when she saw the pile she went crazy about this new wardrobe and I sat on her bed and watched her fold and organize them with extreme delight. It was "O! I'm going to wear this shirt tomorrow!" "This will go perfect with this!" "No, wait, I'm going to wear this one tomorrow!" I think she has now until Christmas planned out outfit-wise. I remember those days when my mom would go through my "big box" and I got a whole new wardrobe. It was like Christmas. It was so much fun. I know one of these days we'll need to use things like dressing rooms, and she'll actually be the one picking out the clothes to buy. Right now, though, our system works.

So the girls are ready for the cold weather, although we are not complaining one bit about this "heat wave" that seems to have hit us this harvest season. We wear long sleeves and pants, but you don't even really need a sweatshirt!

I REALLY need to go through the boys' clothes though, and weed out what doesn't fit/summery things, and replace them with clothes that fit and are warm. This is so much trickier to do, though, because that means I need to be working in their room, and if I'm in their room, Elias can't be sleeping in it. I he's not sleeping, he's awake, and when he's awake, he's not exactly as helpful as Silje was today. While writing this, it just dawned on me that I could have him take a nap in the pack 'n' play in my room one afternoon. Hmmm...I think that may work.

That was my morning and afternoon (besides school of course...but more on that on Friday). It was fun sharing with you, but now it's back to work.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Happy Birthday David!

Dear David,

Today you turn 5. I remember the day you were born. Nothing about you was by the book. What I remember most about your birth is arguing with the nurse on whether or not you were coming out. I was just checked, and since I was only "at a 5" they gave me an epidural. It wasn't 30 minutes later when they were finishing up the procedure, and I was to wait for the pain meds to kick in when I knew you were coming. The nurse said it was just the pain talking, and I needed to calm down. I told her it wasn't the pain talking, and she needed to get the doctor now. After a minute of arguing, I told her I was just going to push you out whether or not she would let me. So she conceded to checking me, and when she did her eyes got huge and she bolted from the room to get the doctor. When they checked me earlier and I was at a 5, they were not expecting that I would be holding you in my arms 45 minutes later. About 10 minutes after you were born, the pain meds for the labor kicked in.

Your love of speed has followed you to this point.

You could not have been more opposite than your sister who did everything by the book. When you were born we thought we were so smart and knew everything there was to know about babies. You changed everything.



You two did everything together all the time!


Before we got out of bed this morning, your daddy and I were just talking about how much we love you. We love how you've started to go out of your way to look after and read to your little brother.

We love how you have so many questions. We love your inventions. We love how you do puzzles over and over and over again. We love how much you love to snuggle with us. Most of all, though, we're so excited to see your life unfold and see God's plan for you revealed. Watching you grow up is like having a front seat to an amazing show that God is putting on.

Love,
Mommy

Just for fun, here's a repeat of David explaining what aliens look like from a few weeks ago, and telling about cars as well. Although, it doesn't beat my all time favorite video of him, which can be found here.
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Happy Birthday, David. We love you so much!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Homeschool Friday

So how has homeschooling gone this week? No comment.

Hahahahahahahahahahahaahaha.

No really, it wasn't totally awesome, but it was by no means awful either. Harvest has come upon us, and we're still getting into the new "flow" to our day in how everything seems to be affected with Knut's schedule being different. My cough has moved to my sinuses, and although I'm pretty sure change in a cold is good, it's been kinda painful all over my face, and my motivation has been down I think because of it. The tough part here about homeschooling is that I can't call in a sub.

School has been done more in the afternoon this week. Mornings I've just been trying to get my bearings. We're about 2 days behind in English, and about a day behind in geography, and our electives I've kinda put on hold (sewing, etc.) but other than that I've been keeping up pretty well. Well, I shouldn't say we're behind, because actually we're weeks/months ahead on most of our curriculums. If we stay on our current pace we'll be done with our work at the beginning of March and that's with a maternity leave figured in. I'm starting to reconfigure my lesson plans to slow down and allow for more depth in some areas, just for fun. I'm also doing things like putting a pile of old magazines in front of Silje and have her go through and cut out pictures and paste them on paper around whatever theme I've picked that day. She really likes it.

When I say we're behind I mean my personal organized schedule, which I don't even have access to see right now because I had all of my lesson plans organized on my laptop, and checked off things as we got them done. However our laptop is not working right now. So I'm writing this on our desktop which Knut primarily uses in his office in the basement. While I fortunately still have internet access through it, very few of my documents are on here. I still have all of my teacher manuals that have all of the information that I had collected onto one spreadsheet, but it's just a bit more tedious. Honestly, most of the information was engraved in my head so it hasn't been too tough. My head is just stuffy these days and thoughts are slow. As I said on facebook, it would be so much nicer if I could take the "good" drugs for my cold so that I could function a bit better.

On Sunday of this week, David surprised both Knut and I and brought a paper and pencil to Knut and asked him to teach him to write his name. Normally he's so resistant to this type of activity, so him initiating it caught us terribly off guard. Knut had him try with both his right and left hand. I had pretty much resigned myself to the fact that he was left handed, but his lines with his left hand were all over the page. The lines with his right hand were far more controlled...as in there was no comparison. Hmmm...so I'm still a bit confused on the matter.

Silje is enjoying the extra reading I've been assigning her over and beyond her "required" curriculum reading. She keeps asking for more, so I think I need to gear up for another trip to the library which I've put off with my cold, and our schedule being off. This next week we MUST go though. We must.

She's also started doing something new. I think she's testing me to see how closely I look at her work. She'll turn in her work to me, and sometimes when she does I'm doing dishes or changing a diaper, and I just say "set it right there and start working on XYZ while I look at it." Then when I finish what my hands were doing and pick up her work, I see she totally skipped questions, or did a sloppy job, or just puts in something totally random.

Now, I DO check all of her work, so I've had to bring her back and point out these "errors" to her numerous time this last week. For good measure, we've been having more in depth conversations about what she's been reading than the normal "tell me about it," or "what was your favorite part?" I want to be sure that she really is reading every page, and so our discussions on books, as well as going over her writing assignments have been taking more time. This last summer I read all of the books that she was supposed to read this year, and I think that was a good idea because I already know all of the stories and know what to ask her.

I suppose it's normal for her to test me and see if I actually notice what she's doing, and I'm hoping she won't do it often if she sees that I'm consistent about it.

We had our homeschool group on Tuesday, and Silje got to go to a presentation by a fireman which I snuck out of David's class to watch. (David was invited to the presentation too, but he much preferred the gym.) It was fun to watch Silje in the class because she raised her hand so often, and asked the fireman so many good questions that showed she was thinking, paying attention, and she spoke clearly and without fear. I have to admit, I was pretty proud of her.

In David's class, we studied different types of leaves that are changing colors all around us now. We read a leaf book, and did leaf crafts. We studied insect eggs growing on dead leaves, and even I learned some things I didn't know before!

If you remember, Tuesdays when we have homeschool group, choir practice, and piano lessons, Elias has a tough time without a nap. Fortunately, Elias fell asleep in the van while driving from choir practice to piano lessons. So I dropped Silje off, brought David to the park a few doors down, and watched David play at the park while I leaned against the outside of the car with Elias getting at least a little nap in. It made such a world of difference. It didn't take him days to recover from that afternoon this time. I'm going to have to figure out what to do with the boys during piano lessons this winter when the park won't be as great of an idea. I'm trying to formulate a plan, but nothing has come to me yet. I hope when the snow falls I'll have some ideas flowing.

I'm hoping this cold/pregnancy won't slow me down as much next week, and that I can get access to all of my homeschooling spreadsheets/lists/schedules again. However, it's been good to know that we can continue on without all of them too. As tough as a week as it's been for me, I've learned a lot about how to adapt, and learned a lot as a teacher. I need those kinds of weeks too if we are to be improving and growing.