Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Knitting

Well, now that Christmas is over, I can share my middle-of-the-night-lighted-pictures of my Christmas knitting.  I really wish I took better and more pictures of these!  This year all of Knut's siblings (and their spouses) got mittens.  I used this luxurious 80%merino wool/20%bamboo yarn.  It was lovely to work with!

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5 sets in all, each mitten had a thick stranded design on the outside and is fully lined with another mitten in a contrasting color in the same yarn on the inside.  I used this "Northman Mitten" pattern which boasted to be big enough to fit large man hands, but after I made the first mitten to gauge, Knut tried it on to test it and it was way too small.  I had to increase the gauge significantly for the ones for Knut's brothers.  Knut now wants a pair and wants them even bigger and wants me to add a ribbed cuff as well, and to do all that I may have to pick a thicker yarn.  You know, when I get to it.  I love how my family comes up with all of these custom requests without batting an eye.  Silje still "orders" dresses from me using illustrations from her Cinderella book as reference.  ("Mommy, can you make me this dress?  But in purple, and sleeves like this other dress and...) 
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Here's each mitten with the liners exposed.

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The big mistake I made was when I was making one of the boys' mittens, and accidentally made 2 right mittens. I had no desire to frog an entire mitten, so after fuming about it for a few weeks and moving onto another pair in the meantime, I finally broke down and bought more yarn to make 2 left mittens. (Originally I had intended each pair to be a different color.) It took some time to track down the exact color and yarn on the internet because my yarn store was out, but it all eventually worked out.

So, now after these and Solveig's stocking is done, do you think I have fulfilled my personal goal of developing the skill of the stranded/fair aisle technique so I can finally make Knut the Norwegian sweater he's been begging me for?  Perhaps you'll need to tune in next Christmas...maybe. I'm still a bit nervous about that project.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

It's Been Too Long

since I've posted a picture of Solveig.  She changes every day, you know.
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Here's her wearing her mama-made Christmas dress.

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My two girls in their dresses.  (Silje's was not mama-made.)
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Nothing beats a nap with a newborn!
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So far her personality is...sleepy. She sleeps a lot, and we whip out the camera almost every time her eyes are open, which isn't often. I'm not sure if I remember my other kids sleeping this much, but maybe that's because I have a 2 year old who doesn't stop moving. Remembering them like this gets pretty tricky!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Everything

Solveig had her 2 week check up this morning.  Where has the time gone!?  She's already up one whole pound from her birth weight.  That's what she gets for being born during the holiday season!  MMMmmmm...cookies...

My parents are flying in tonight and will be staying with us for a week.  Knut's grandpa's funeral is tomorrow.  Knut will be a pall bearer.  Solveig will be baptized on Sunday.

My friend Jillene who dyed the blue and purple yarn for me lost her baby at 33 weeks on Christmas Day due to a freak cord accident.  She's had so many pregnancy complications and was starting to show signs of pre-eclampsia, but her doctors were watching her closely to let the baby go as long as possible before her kidneys gave out.  To have gone through so much and have lost him over something so little seems so unfair.

Our amaryllis plant bloomed right on Christmas Day. It still has 2 more buds to go.  It got so freakishly tall that I'm not sure where to put it.  It has to be at least 3 feet tall.

It's amazing to me what extreme reactions I get from people when I tell them Solveig's name.  Some people go over the moon swooning over it like great-grandparents and some people at church (and us of course).  Then there's the polite "Oh.  Interesting."  All the way to the lady at Walmart today who got a sour look on her face and said "Well, whatya do that for?"

My (borrowed) camera is somewhere, but we've barely been home.  we've been at Knut's parents a lot over Christmas and have been living out of bags and it's probably in one of them.  I won an auction for a new camera on ebay, and for the first time, the seller flaked out on me and doesn't want to send it to me for the price I won the auction at.  He "forgot" to put a reserve on the item and was disappointed at how much I got it for.  Ebay will be refunding me my money in 6 more days if the seller doesn't, and I'm annoyed I have to wait even longer for my new camera.  There's another one in the "Buy it Now" section from another seller that I want to pick up, but I need to wait for my refund.  The whole thing was terribly annoying, but at least I don't have to worry about getting my money back.  I'm thankful for buyer protection, although I've never needed it before this.

If I did know where the camera was, I'd take a picture of the boys' room right now, as Silje is moving in for the week when Grammy and Papa are here.  She moved in "just the essentials" and it looks like a pink monster threw up in there.  

I also took pictures of the finished handmade Christmas presents I did.  I guess that's destined for a different post.  (Wednesday's yarn along perhaps?)  Knut's cousin Liv drew my name for the girl cousin gift exchange and she is currently living in China and flew in just in time for the Christmas Eve gift exchange.  She brought me tea direct from China.  How cool is that!  Not quite as cool as the paper snowflakes Silje made and wrapped for me, but close.

Everyone asks how Solveig sleeps.  Well, she wakes up every hour from midnight until about 3am and screams her head off until I feed her...every hour. Then from 3am she sleeps for 4-5 hours straight.  So not conventional, but I'm not complaining.  I get to sleep in with her as Knut is not back to work yet, but I'm sure eventually he'll have to go.  Since we've brought her home, she has had exactly 2 diapers that were not poopy.  She poops during diaper changes as well more than all of the other kids did combined.  Probably not so ironically, she's the only kid of mine who has not shown any sign of jaundice. 

Yup, I think there's not much more to talk about after the "how the baby's pooping" part.  That about wraps everything up.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Saying Goodbye

This isn't Solveig, but David.  This is one of my favorite pictures of him as a baby.  He's being held with the large hands of his Great-Grandpa.
My children have been blessed that up until now they've had 7 living great-grandparents, 4 of whom live close by and come to birthdays and other family events. 

This great-grandpa is Knut's maternal grandpa.  His favorite thing was to hold babies.  He loved holding babies.  (He has Silje in this picture.)  For as long as I've been a part of this family, he was blind.  I remember asking him once if his glasses helped even a little bit.  With a twinkle in his eyes, he handed me his glasses.  I looked through them, and saw they were just glass.  I asked him why he wore glasses that didn't do anything.  He grinned and said "They make me look handsome!"  Well, I couldn't argue with that.

Great-grandpa M. went to be with Jesus last night.  While we kinda knew it was the beginning of the end for him, getting that phone call in the middle of the night seemed to still catch us off guard.  Please be in prayer for Knut and his family.  This is the first death close to the family he's ever dealt with before.  Grandpa M. will be very, very missed.  As our hearts ache, we're trying to remember that Grandpa can now see again.  He can now walk without any assistance.  He gets to hold the little great-grandbaby of his that we lost in pregnancy last year.  (Something Knut's mom pointed out to me that touched my heart.)  Most importantly, he gets to worship at the very throne of Christ.  One can only imagine how Jesus' birth is celebrated there.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Getting Antsy

I'm so very thankful that Solveig is such a good baby thus far, especially with my slower recovery because of my anemia this time around.  So far, our new normal is me feeding her on demand during the day, as often as she wants.  Sometimes it's every hour.  Sometimes every 3.  She's a great eater, besides the fact she has a tough time staying awake for feedings.  We're working on that.  Her  super-soaked diapers every 2 hours shows me that she's eating plenty though!  I haven't always embraced the feed-on-demand philosophy, but once I figured out that is the easiest and less stressful way to go for me, and rid me of all of my supply issues I had when I did scheduled feedings, I'm all for it.

At night I restrict her to eating no more than every 2 hours, which has come down to giving her a pacifier every once in awhile.  She loves the paci, which I'm so so grateful for, as my last 2 babies thought they were poison.  It's so nice to have a tool that works to easily soothe. 

I've been very disciplined to take at least 2 naps a day.  Solveig and I snuggle in on the couch for a good 2 hours every morning and afternoon.  With all my supplements, and all of the rest, I'm feeling so much better, and a lot faster than I anticiapated.  It's hard, though, when you do start feeling better, to continue that rest, and continue to be disciplined to see the healing process all the way through.  I'm not sure who exactly is getting more antsy for me to be back on my feet: me or Knut. 

We both have cabin fever, and have it bad.  I haven't been out of the house except to go to the hospital and church in about a month.  I told Knut that I am planning a trip to Target on Monday for some last minute Christmas shopping.  It will just be Solveig and me going, but now I hear there are chances for snow.  I think if I can't get out of the house for this little treat of a Target run I've been looking forward to for days, I think I may cry.  I don't want to do any major grocery shopping or a whole morning of errands, but I just need to get out of the house so bad.  I did get to church this morning, and that completely wore me out.  It was well worth it, I think.

Knut is getting very antsy to start training for this year's Birkie, and it's been tough these last few days for him, as the weather conditions are ideal for skiing and he's stuck inside making peanut butter and jelly sandwhiches.  We keep reminding each other that it won't be too much longer, and each day I see huge improvements.  Over the last weeks that he's been kinda in charge of seeing everything done with the house and kids, he says he has a new respect for single parents out there. 

The kids are getting antsy for Christmas.  They've stopped asking for things, and have started pulling together presents to give each other.  I find that very sweet.  I can't believe Christmas is already this week!  There is so much I'd like to be doing right now that I'm holding myself back on.  There are a few decorating things around the house I'd like to do, but just can't muster up the energy for.  I'm a little disappointed about that because this is our year at home and not in Phoenix, and I really wanted to do it up big. 

I also have 0 Christmas cookies.  I made one batch of sugar cookies, but those got eaten up.  Knut made a batch of Ritz-cracker-peanut-butter-sandwiches-dunked-in-almond-bark cookies, and those got eaten up too.  I told Knut I think I'll feel less guilty about not having Christmas cookies if we look on it this year as a winter long activity.  I don't want to miss out on any of the cookies, but maybe we'll just make sure we get through one batch of each kind by the end of winter.  He thought that was a great idea.  That way, we're still getting to eat the cookies, and we're just removing the deadline of Christmas.

All in all...pretty much everyone in this house, myself most of all, is ready for me to be back at 100% again.  However, no matter how I wish it, I'm just not there yet.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Morning at Home

This morning we all woke up in our own home.  Knut, me, and our 4 children.  We had breakfast, did the advent calender, and then Knut took the boys outside to shovel snow as Silje had to clean her room inside.  Then she headed out in time for some sledding in the yard with her brothers.
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A little off-roading while Daddy shovels.



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Hang on tight little bro!



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Lena is very excited that everyone is back home!  Finally the little people are back to play with!



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I remember doing this as a kid...although on a beach...  Sand...snow...same fun right?

And just for Grammy, some extra pictures of little Solveig:
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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Home Again

Yesterday we got home safe and sound.  Little Solveig (prounounced soul-vay) is doing so well.  She eats like she's been doing it for years and has the tiniest little cry.
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Her birth was quite a whirlwind. I might type out a blog-worthy birth story sometime.  The cliff notes version is she was born exactly 18 minutes after we arrived at the hospital after an entire day of 10 minute apart contractions at home.  It was intense, but as my first planned natural birth, (I've had unplanned natural...where I planned on getting an epidural but the baby just came too fast.) I felt so mentally in control and it went so so well.  I didn't need any stitches and she's just perfect.

I did have some complications in the hours after the birth as my uterus' afterbirth contractions just weren't doing the job.  I lost more blood than I realized and that left me very anemic. If I'm really good about resting and taking my pills, I should have somewhat normal hemoglobin levels in about a month.  They kept me an extra day at the hospital just to let me rest more, and I sure appreciated it. 

So I'm back home now, and grateful more than ever that Knut is not harvesting right now!  Things are pretty slow around here, except for the fact that Knut's maternal grandfather was in the hospital the same time that we were, and will probably have to be moved to a nursing home at this point.  The stress of that situation weighs on the family, especially the extended family, but what a good time to have a baby to bring an added dose of joy in this season.

So unfortunately I'll have to rely pretty heavily on Knut for just a bit longer.  Although as he was on his way out the door this morning to run some errands, leaving me just with Solveig, we realized that it was nice that we didn't have to worry about me going into labor while he was gone.  The feeling of being a walking time bomb has left.

Plus, Christmas is just around the corner, and traditionally we hang out at Knut's parent's house quite a bit with family in town.  I'll have lots of help, and we only live 5 miles down the road if I need to take Solveig and spend some time in quiet.  Just after Christmas my parents will be coming to help take care of me, and so I doubt I'll have anything close to my full chore load until next year.  Right now, the only 2 people I need to take care of are Solveig and me.  The kids will be back home from Grandma's this afternoon, and I'll definitely be involved with that, but Knut will be here to get snacks, and help with cooking and laundry, etc. 

The kids are just so in love with Solveig.  It will be nice to all be home together now.  I'll have to post some more pictures soon, but I'll be honest...it's not a high priority now.  We ordered my new-to-us camera finally that I've been saving for and should be here in the next few days. (Digital SLR Canon 30D...ooooo....ahhhhhh) Then you'll be smacked with picture overload!  Until then, I'm just going to soak in this little one all to myself, nap along with her, and eat a bunch of iron.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Solveig Joy

We are excited to introduce our little girl Solveig Joy.  She was born around 7:00 PM on 12/11/10 weighing 7 lbs 5 oz and measuring 20.5 inches long.

Mom and baby are doing great.









Friday, December 10, 2010

Homeschool Friday

Well, we made it to Friday and we haven't been to the hospital.  So at least for now, we can once again return to "Homeschool Friday."

Sooooo...how do you catch up on 3 weeks worth of homeschooling updates?  Things have been going pretty well.  It was much easier when Knut was home and didn't have to work.  On days where he has to haul corn and I have all 3 kids, it gets a bit trickier.  There were one or two days where all that got done was Silje did her reading.  Other days we got a day and a half's work done.  Overall, we haven't fallen behind at all, and I'm pleased with that.

I talked a bit about the Mountain Born book that we've been reading.  We got caught up on her read alouds by having her read one of her read alouds by herself as one of her independent readers, as she's still a month ahead in that area.  Her read aloud turned independent reader was Henry and Ribsy which was a really fun read for her.  So now we're all caught up on our read alouds, and still way too much ahead on her independent readers.  We are in desperate need of a library run or she may finish all of her readers for the year before we know it.  I hope that one of these mornings that Knut is home we can squeeze that in.

We're finishing up our huge unit on ancient Egypt in history, and will be moving on next week in our year of ancient history to Greece.  I'm really curious how she'll like it.  Our read aloud book will be many stories of Greek mythology which could honestly go either way.  I know many parents who use this curriculum skip over the Greek myths, thinking that it can be confusing and unnecessary to teach kids.  However, I'm a firm believer that it's nearly impossible to discuss many literature "greats" without a firm grasp on 2 things that public schools don't really teach anymore: the Bible and Greek mythology.  Stories and analogies from those 2 areas show up everywhere in literature and it's very foundational information.

Now, maybe she won't major in literature like I did.  In fact, I hope she does her own thing.  I guess I just love the idea of a classical education too much, and Silje will just have to suffer through that.

We have had a bit of time off from our homeschool group, and will have our Christmas party with them next week.  I've almost not had Silje go to her piano lessons and choir practice with all of the upheaval in the house, but Knut has managed to be home on those afternoons to drive her, so she hasn't missed a beat.  It turns out that instead of a Christmas choir program, her choir will be caroling at a local nursing home, which I still need to get the details on.  I think she'll enjoy that, though.

David has started asking for more schoolwork again, which has surprised me.  He's asked to start learning more about reading, and he's been working on his learning puzzles and I think I might even be able to get him to do a worksheet again *gasp!*  He and Elias have been playing together almost non-stop lately on their wooden train set and that's been fun to watch their friendship really deepen as Elias gets old enough to keep up with David.

The big new thing that will happen soon is our "Physical Education" that Silje will be doing this winter.  We were planning on signing both kids up for our local chapter of MYSL (Minnesota Youth Ski League) which only lasts 8 weeks this winter.  However, Knut recently found out that Silje isn't quite old enough for our chapter, but she's so close, and the leaders/coaches know her and her ability and said that they'd be willing to take her.  David however, is definitely too young, and they'd take him only on the condition that Knut stays with him to help out at every practice.

So we've been having lots of discussions as to whether or not we should put both kids in the league.  David certainly has more enthusiasm for skiing, but Silje could use the incentive to get outside and stay active much more.  Both of us are leaning towards putting Silje in this year and keeping David out.  While he's a great skier, and would probably learn some things, his maturity level just isn't ready for that type of training.  He can still ski in the yard, and with the rest of the family when we go to the ski gaard, and perhaps Silje can come home and tell him all about the things that she's learning.

Silje is so pumped about being in this ski league.  She now wants to go outside and practice everyday which is very uncharacteristic of her!  She's usually found in a corner with a book...not outside running around!

I've already begun some research as to what we might do next year, with all the computer time I've had lately, as Knut is still handling many of my chores.  I'm really hoping that I'll be able to attend some sort of Homeschool Conference this spring and page through all the different vendors with curriculums there instead of just researching online.

As I close this rambly post, I'll point out that when this baby comes, I'm officially calling "Christmas Break" until January at least.  We're already more than half way through most of our subjects and I could call it now...but it fills our days and Silje just likes doing it way too much to stop right now!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Timing

Still here!  As I spent a bit of time this morning typing out the next 2 weeks worth of lesson plans for Silje, I remember distinctly thinking while I did the same thing 2 weeks ago that I probably didn't need to do it, but it's good to have everything set up in case someone else was watching Silje and she was begging for something to do.  However, we got through 2 weeks, and now I'm working on the next set of 2 weeks.  Surely this baby will come during this next 2 week time span. 

I feel a bit bad for this little girl, and the hard time and jokes made about her being so stubborn.  Jokes Knut and I have said as well.  We talk as if she's late, when really, I'm only roughly at 39 weeks.  She's not late at all!  Each pregnancy of mine has become shorter and shorter that we just weren't expecting her to actually come near her due date.  We're thrown a bit off guard by it.

I think we're so eager for her to come for 2 reasons.  First, I just want to see and hold her!  My arms just ache to cuddle her, and it's tough to wait for that.  Second, life is just not "normal" right now.  Knut is working so much around the house, I'm just not much use to anyone, the kids sense that we are jumpy.  I'm not going grocery shopping, or window shopping, or bringing Silje to lessons.  Knut just doesn't feel comfortable with me running errands, and to be honest, I'm not sure my body could handle it right now either.  You should have seen my feet last night.  I don't think I could have squeezed them into shoes to go out anyway!  My ankles had completely disappeared and my little sausage toes were so fat that they could barely move.

I know the thought is "well, the worst that could happen is you'd just go into labor."  If that were the case, I'd be at the grocery store right now.  I wouldn't even ask Knut.  (He's probably send me there right now if he thought it's put me in labor!)  Actually, the worst that could happen is I'd end up in the hospital again, NOT in labor again, and ending up even more frustrated.  It causes me a lot of pain and discomfort to do these things, but unfortunately does not result in a baby in my arms quite yet.

Knut and I are both very eager for life's new normal with 4 kids to begin.  I'd like my routine back, and I know Knut would too.  I've been trying to be positive, because it seems better than the alternative, and what can I do about it anyway?  My attitude is really the only thing I can control right now, even though it seems that's hanging on by a thread.

Last night we talked about it at lot, and spent some time in prayer because I felt a bit at the end of my rope.  I prayed about it by myself too last night, after both those attempts to rely on God for my attitude, because it was too much to hold together by myself anymore. I was struck by the thought of God's timing.  We always have our expectation on when things should happen.  We figure out when would be the best time and when would be the worst time for things to happen, and then pray and tell God about it, so that He knows too.  You know, it's good to get everyone on the same page.

I thought about my friend who won the hat earlier this week.  Her little girl was born on Christmas.  If I remember her story right, it was Christmas morning and there had just been a huge snowfall and the roads weren't even plowed yet, and they had to figure out who of their friends to call Christmas morning to come watch their kids...in my opinion...not the best timing.

But it was.  It was because it was God's timing, and God's timing is perfect.  Sure, if we need medical intervention, and that's the wisest course, we'd go that route, but that's not even necessary to think about right now and will only bring about worry.  Let's remember, she's not even late.

Think of Abraham and Sarah, and how God taught them about His timing.  The problem is that God is always on time, and we'd all feel a bit more comfortable if he would just err a bit on the side of early.  God doesn't err, though.

I go in between being consumed with wondering when this baby will come, and ignoring the prospect that she's coming at all.  Ignoring it helps me move on and have some sort of life while waiting.  Still, things happen throughout each day this past week with my body and I think "Hmm...this happened the same day Silje was born...I wonder."  or "I remember this happened with my body just the day before David was born."  Seriously, this baby cannot drop any lower, although she's trying her best.  Every time I think to myself "it'll happen the next day or so...I'm sure of it...the signs are all there" nothing happens.  And life moves on...and on.

After the time in prayer and reflection last night, though, I feel very renewed today in the confidence that the timing is all in God's hands.  Had she come 2 weeks ago, I wouldn't have had this opportunity to draw on God's strength for mental stability, or to search Him in prayer, or reflect on His perfection, drawing me to worship.

So now that I've grown through this and learned the lesson You wanted to teach me and am content to wait for Your timing...she's going to come, right?  Right, God?  Sheesh, I must sound like one of my kids to Him.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Yarn Along

Well I met so many sweet knitters last week, that I thought I'd give a yarn along a whirl again, even though I don't have much new to show, but merely follow-up.  (Next week I promise I'll have something cool on my needles!)  The idea of a yarn along is from Ginny's blog "Small Things" where everyone shares what they have been knitting and reading that week.  Really...that's my kind of crowd!  I'm a bit bummed I can't show you the gorgeous (if I do say so myself) Christmas presents that were finished this last week, and will be blocked today.  I can't spoil the surprise, though.  I promise to take pictures of them and post it after Christmas.
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For knitting, I redid the heel and toe of the little one's Christmas stocking that I showed last week.  (Does that mean she can come now?) I can't believe I just went off pattern and finished it my own way like that!  I can't tell you the feeling of accomplishment that gave me!  I also added the little loop for hanging and hemmed down the cuff.  All that is left is blocking, so that along with the surprises, my dining room table will be full of wet yarn today!  The foot part of the stocking was probably redone 3 times, and although the toe looks short to me, I measured it against all the other Christmas stockings we have, and it was right on.  At any rate, I'm washing my hands of this project and declaring it done.  I don't have any more patience for any more frogging.  Then of course, I got the little avatrix hat done this week for the giveaway yesterday.  Photobucket(Congratulations again, Rebekah!)  It was a really quick knit that I got done in one evening from casting on to weaving in ends, so I will definitely be doing this one again!

As far as reading, Silje and I finished a simply sweet book, Mountain Born from her Sonlight curriculum.  This was by far, the most difficult read aloud book that we've done, and was the first read aloud book that we've encountered that is much out of her reading level.  That's kind of the purpose of the read aloud books, most of which she could read with our without me.
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It's a story about a boy growing up in a sheep herding family.  While many of the books we read are silly, or having talking animals or something, this one was very real to life.  What I loved about it was how descriptively it was written.  It would spend pages describing this boy laying on a hillside and staring at the clouds.  Then there was the heartwarming friendship between the boy, Peter, and his leader-sheep, Biddy.  Maybe it's the knitter in me that loved hearing how the sheep were sheared, dipped, and set to pasture.  Then the process of turning those fleeces into a coat for the boy.  The author took her time describing all of this with no hurry, and it was a very peaceful and inspiring book to read.

Silje had to warm up to it, but ended up loving it in the end.  It's just so different from the books she normally chooses, and the chapters were pretty long.  I had to stop at the end of about every page to explain what I had just read, or to confirm that she understood.  However, I will restate that she did end up loving the story in the end.  She's a huge animal lover and  loved reading of the strong bond between a boy and his sheep, and hearing tales of each of their heroics really touched her heartstrings.

I would also like to share one very special treat for me this last week.  You see, Knut and I are at the point in our lives where we can't always surprise each other for Christmas.  I mean, if we're going to spend money on each other, we have to be extra certain that it's exactly what the other person wants, because we simply cannot afford to buy something that won't get used, or will just sit around.  The last couple of Christmas' we've gotten into the habit of just telling the other person what we want to get for Christmas.  I mean, if I were to go into a ski shop and buy wax for Knut, I would have no idea what colors/temperatures etc. he would need.  My head would be spinning.

Likewise, if I were to tell Knut I would want something crafty, he would have no idea where to start.  I told him I wanted a set of interchangeable needles this year.  So I did the research and decided that I'd like the set of small needles made by Hiya Hiya.  (They have a set of large needles too, which I would eventually want, but I thought I'd use the small ones more immediately.)  I hate having to tell him what to get me, and prefer a surprise, but I have to admit...I was pretty excited to get this set.
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So Knut went to the yarn store to pick these up, and the lady there talked him into getting me both sets.  Gotta love a good saleswoman, right?  While it was way over budget, he did it, and even got me one other present at another store just so I'd have a "surprise" for Christmas.  I mean, seriously, my man is awesome.

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Oooooooo...mystery present!  Now we just need a tree to put it under!
So why, you ask, do I have a picture of the smaller set when it's not even Christmas yet?  Well, it's because there's snow on the ground, and Knut got a new waxing iron from me for Christmas.  He said he "needed" to use it before Christmas, as he certainly wasn't going to wait until after Christmas to ski.  So I negotiated that if he got to use his present early, so did I.  Well, he's only giving me the small needle set early, but that was enough to satisfy me.
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On a quick side note, I love that my needle set is called "Hiya Hiya."  You see, when I was a teenager going on mission trips, I went with an organization where we met under a big tent for a rally every night of training.  We sang songs and there was one song in particular lead by this 80-something year old woman who was the darling of all of us teenagers.  She was known as the "Hiya Hiya" lady as she lead us in a song that went like this:
"Hiya hiya, hiya hiya hiya hiya,
Hiya, hiya...liftin' Jesus hiya."

I have to admit, whenever I see my needles here beside me, her little tune goes through my head...liftin' Jesus hiya.

And the Winner Is...

I went to www.random.org to randomly select one comment, and the person selected was "Ekelund Fam" which is my friend Rebekah!  I'll be sending that along to her this week, if all goes well, and may I add a big THANK YOU to everyone who participated, as it was fun to hear all of your sweet comments.

Monday, December 6, 2010

To Keep Busy...A Giveaway

Well, for those of you following my blog, I have been knitting a lot lately.  Ha!  That's an understatement.  Keeping off your feet and keeping your insanity is tougher than you might think, and knitting helps me a bit in that regard.
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I made this hat with David in mind, as he could use a new ear-flap hat.  I made it in this cool aviator pattern in navy blue 100% wool.  The pattern was, I thought, pretty gender neutral.  However, now that it is done, Knut says it looks like a girl's hat (which is so not true...it's blue, and no lace or ruffles...I don't see how it's girly), and it doesn't even fit David's huge head.  In fact, even though I made it to gauge in size/age 4+ it just barely fits Elias (who is 2), who is not in as much desperate need of a warm hat.  Apparently my children have huge heads... a thought I'd rather not dwell on with another birth looming.

So as this will be too big for the new baby (I'm hoping, anyway) Elias doesn't need it, and it's too small for David and Silje... BUT it's so. darn. cute. and fresh off the needles, that I decided to give it to anyone of you who may want it.  I could put it in my store, but I'm kinda finicky about getting a designer's permission before selling from their design.  I mean, I could "frog" the project and use the wool again, but I really wanted to do a giveaway when I had reached 400 posts, which passed awhile back, and I was so busy that I decided I didn't have time to make anything to give away. This is just too cute to rip up, and I already have gifts in mind for my nieces and nephews for Christmas.  Plus, I think I need the excitement of a giveaway in my life right now.  Everything is so on edge around here, waiting for the baby to come, that a distraction sounds awfully nice.

I am now imagining my readers getting up from their computer chair, and doing a little happy dance at the mere thought of winning this adorable hat.  I can hear the gasping and oohing, and ahhing.  I know you are all excited.  So go ahead...I'll pause for you to do your happy dance.

For whoever wins, you have the option of me sending you the hat as is, and that way keeping it gender neutral, or if you'd like, I'll add a huge flower to the side like this one I made for Silje, with the color options of light pink, red, or cream if you would like to actually make it girly.
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So here's how you enter...leave a comment.  Pretty simple, right?  Leave a comment, and make sure you either leave your email address with it, or at least leave a way for me to contact you in your profile.  Actually, the last giveaway that I did, the person who was drawn left me no way to contact her and I had to draw again.  Don't let that happen to you!

In your comment I'd love for your feedback as to which kinds of posts you enjoy the most.  My blog is kinda all over the place as far as topics, and I'd enjoying knowing which topic has you coming back.  If you are a regular reader to my blog, or would like to be, please let me know by clicking the "follow" button because that's fun for me.  I don't want people "following" just because they want the giveaway, so it won't count as an entry if you do, but I just wanted to throw that out there.

So leave a comment if you'd like the cute little hat, and I'll draw someone's name and announce it Wednesday morning...unless I have a baby.  Or pretending to have a baby again at the hospital.

As Requested...

After posting about our advent calender, I got a few comments and emails asking for details.  Let me point out that I was probably in the nursery when my mom made hers at whatever preschool group she belonged to.  I have not researched the meanings behind any of this, I'm merely copying what my mom had.  I don't have any knowledge who came up with all of this.  I DO know that you can do your advent calender however you like.  I've seen this calender with glitter, with sequences, with different colors.  My mom's tree is stuffed with polyfill, and I decided to leave mine flat.  There are no hard and fast rules here, but if you want to see what we do...even though I'm unsure of the origin, I'd be happy to share.  I'm also unsure if our descriptions are from memory, or if my sister actually got a hold of our original readings when she typed them out for me.  I add all of this ahead of time before the emails start flooding in saying "Actually, the real origin of the candy cane is..." or "Wreaths actually come from the pagan practice of..."  I honestly have not researched it.  It's just a little fun activity to keep our minds on Christ during this season that has been in my family for years.  Since you asked, here are the details of what we use:
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Day 1: Trumpet
The trumpet is used to gather the people to proclaim a very important announcement from the King.  The trumpet reminds us of the great announcement God our King made when He announced the birth of His Son.

Day 2: Candy Cane
The candy cane is red and white to remind us of Christ's blood shed for us.  His purity, and His gift of redemption so that our hearts may be pure as well.

Day 3: Candle
A candle is used to light the way.  Jesus is the Light of the world, and when He comes into our hearts, His light shines in us.

Day 4: Cross
The cross represents the very reason Christ came to earth as a baby.  He was born to die for us.  This should cuase us to be very grateful.

Day 5: Circle
The circle represents something with no beginning and no end.  God has no beginning and no end.  He is truly sovereign.
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Day 6: Blue Diamond
A diamond is a very precious gem.  Even more precious is the baby in the manger who came that we might have life.

Day 7: Apple
The apple reminds us of Adam and Eve and their sin, which we are all born with.  Thankfully, Christ came at Christmas to take away this sin.

Day 8: Snowman
The snowman reminds us of the purity of fresh new-fallen snow.  Isaiah tells us that God promises to make our hearts as clean as snow if we just come to Him and reason together with Him.

Day 9: Blue Stocking
The stocking reminds us of gifts we receive at Christmas.  The color blue reminds us of the vastness of the sky.  God's grace is vast and is greater than all our sin.  This is the greatest gift of all.

Day 10: Wreath
The wreath reminds us of the crown of thorns that Jesus wore for us while He was nailed to the cross.  It also reminds us of the crown of righteousness He will be wearing when we go to be with Him in heaven.
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Day 11: Toy Soldier
The toy soldier reminds us that we are soldiers in God's army.  We need to make sure we are wearing the whole armor of God, so we can be prepared when Satan attacks us.

Day 12: Train
The train reminds us of the little engine that could.  If we submit our will to God's and persevere, we will have success.

Day 13: Red Stocking
The red stocking reminds us of the blood of Christ shed for us to give us everlasting life, the greatest gift of all.

Day 14: Bell
It is said that in England, bells are rung every time a King is born.  This bell reminds us of the birth of Jesus, the King of Kings.

Day 15: Drum
The little drummer boy had nothing to offer the Christ-child except his gift of playing drums.  This Christmas, our gift to Jesus should be ourselves, our talents, and our will.
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Day 16: Teddy Bear
The teddy bear is a soft, cuddly, huggable toy.  It represents the giving of love.  Let us share the gift of love to those around us this Christmas.

Day 17: Gingerbread Man
The gingerbread man reminds us of the special goodies prepared at Christmas to celebrate the birth of Jesus.  Let us not forget why we are celebrating this Christmas.  Let us focus on His birth.

Day 18: Dove
The dove represents peace.  Christ came to this world to bring peace on earth and good will toward men.

Day 19: Star
The star reminds us of the star of Bethlehem, shining over the stable, pointing the way for the shepherds to our Savior.

Day 20: Angel
The angel reminds us of the special messenger sent from God to announce the birth of our Lord.  We need to be messengers of God as well to let the world know why Jesus was born.
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Day 21: Heart
The heart reminds us that we need to search our own hearts and make sure they are yielded completely to Christ.  It also reminds us of the great love flowing from God's Heart to us.

Day 22: Lamb
The lamb reminds us of the sacrifice of the Lamb of God so that our sins could be washed away.

Day 23: Lion
The lion reminds us of the King of the Jungle.  In The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, Aslan symbolized Christ, who was all-powerful, yet gentle and kind, willing to give up his life for his people.

Day 24: Church
The church represents God's body of believers, His family, who will someday be gathered up with Him to live in heaven.

Day 25: Merry Christmas, Baby Jesus! (The little baby is put in the manger on this day.  We use a miniature plastic doll.)

I hope this is somewhat inspiring for you to make your own advent calender for next year!  Remember it doesn't have to be just like this one...put your own mark on yours!  (And yes, you did see the candy cane on top of our tree!)