Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Yarn Along

Well, I'm later than usual, joining Ginny's Yarn Along.  O well.

I included in the picture my dirty windows, so that all you other homemakers out there see that we are all not perfect and no one gets to everything, especially if there are 4 children living in the home.  You're welcome.

In my knitting work in project picture this week, you see a pair of wool shorties that are being sold to a friend of a friend.  They're in some lovely Peruvian Highland Wool and very squishy.  She couldn't decide between the blue and the green.  I already had some leftover blue from a previous soaker project, so I told her that we could just purchase the green, and I could use the blue as an accent color.  I'm planning on embroidering a little baby elephant on the bum in the blue.  Last minute I cast on for a blue waistband as well to make it pull together a bit more.

Yes, you do see that I sometimes use my wedding ring as a stitch marker.  I have lots of stitch markers now, so I don't know why I forget and use it as habit sometimes when I can't find any in my project bag.  In the past it's always been incentive for me to finish a project fast so that I can get it back.

It would normally be done by now, but my arms have taken a toll from working on the Serina Cardigan, and I'm taking more frequent breaks with my knitting.  Knitting in US size 3 needles just makes my hands too tense, and I should have been breaking it up with projects using bigger needles like this one (size US 7 for this one) to make sure I'm relaxing my hands while I'm knitting.  I really want to get the Serina done for Christmas, though.  Cross your fingers for me.

I'm going to blame my arm aching on Solveig a bit too.  She's been breaking in some new teeth and wants to be held all the time...and she's not a tiny baby anymore.  So to be on the safe side to make sure I'm not hurting myself, there are several days that go by where I don't knit, and during the day when Solveig is awake and needy, I either put her in the Ergo, or wear some little arm braces that I got at a drug store a few years ago when the same thing happened when Elias was this age.

I'm finding lots of solutions to help her feel better, but she's still been a bit clingy.  I'm sure it will be short lived as she's getting very adventurous in trying to walk.  I've decided to enjoy her snuggles while they last.  Knitting will be there when she's older.

I still need my fix, though.  When I'm not knitting in the late evenings, I've cleaned out my sewing room and will start pulling together a few last minute Christmas gifts.  I want to make a few outfits for Silje's doll.

I've also been reading my book that I couldn't find at all for this picture.  I'm reading All Wound Up: The Yarn Harlot Writes for a Spin.  I had not heard of "The Yarn Harlot" before but I read some excerpts from this book online and was hooked.  It's a whole book with essays on knitting and she's so stinkin' funny.  Knut will hear me laughing out loud on my side of the couch quite often these evenings.  Although, when he asks what's so funny, I've learned it's not very effective to explain to him a knitting joke.  They are completely lost on him.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Training Time

Over time, my ideas of parenting have changed.  Not so much my ideas on parenting, but my personal priorities of what I consider important.  Early on I discovered that getting down to a battle of wills with a toddler over potty training really wasn't that important to me.  I did that with Silje.  I was determined to have her out of diapers at 18 months as I heard of other people doing.  She was out...for about 2 days.  Then the 9 month battle of dragging her to the bathroom, her refusing to go, etc. started.  O, in the end I least in theory.

With David I decided to wait until he was ready.  I was surprised at how many raised eyebrows and questions I got about it.  I mean, he was out of diapers by 3.  It's not like it was forever.  One day he decided he was done.  Training him took less than a week.  The number of accidents I dealt with were in the single digits.  To me, I discovered that waiting was certainly the easy way to go.

But then people said that changing diapers for that "extended" amount of time was just so much more work.  I just didn't seem like work to me, so I guess it's personal preference.

So I've been digging my heals in when the subject gets brought up about Elias as well.  It's not that he couldn't go in the potty chair, it's that he refused to be bribed or anything.  He decided he hated doing that, and that was that.

So I didn't push it.  Well, I do in a small motherly-passive way.  I call the diapers, "baby diapers."  I talk about how soon he'll be a big boy and go in the potty chair.  He will tell me he's already a big boy, and then I ask him why he's wearing baby diapers.  I told him when he turned 3, he could start using the potty chair all the time, to which he always replied a simple: "no."

I honestly do not have time to push a child daily to do something he has no intention of doing.  Kudos to mothers who can dedicate their day to it, but that's just not logistically possible for me.  On top of that, I'm already washing diapers and changing diapers with Solveig.  It's not like washing/changing just a few more is really hard.

Well, Elias turned 3, and he still refuses.  We were going to have his big, extended party with all the great-grandparents and Knut's parents, and a few cousins, but then David got sick and I postponed it.

So just after Thanksgiving we decided to throw together a little shin-dig and guess what?
I guess he needed a party to go potty.

He tells me when he needs to go potty now and I take him there.  It was just like a switch went off in his head.  Now I'll say: "OK, Elias, it's time to go potty."  (I learned long ago never to ask a toddler to go to the bathroom.  It must always be a statement.)  Then he willingly goes, like it's no big deal.

I still have him in diapers, and that is mostly because I'm lazy.  I feel so guilty over it, but I figure: why not?  We're going potty all the time now, but we still have accidents multiple times a day.  Soon I'll take the diapers away and make it more urgent for him to take care of business.  Soon...

I think I may be the ones digging in my heals a bit.  (Really Elias?  Deciding you're ready in the midst of Christmas preparations with all the baking and parties and warped schedule?  Now you're ready?)

When I told Knut that I think the party was the turning point for him, he said: "We should have done that a year ago!"  to which I replied..."um...we did.  He actually had a birthday last year too.  It's funny how that works."

Monday, November 28, 2011

I'm Blessed

Along with everyone else in our house this weekend, I took a little vacation from blogging.  I figured you all wouldn't mind.  It was such a beautiful, peaceful weekend.  I feel so caught up, so rejuvenated, so rested.

I feel so thankful to have married into such a family.  We got together for Thanksgiving once again, and I just loved it.

I'm so thankful Knut's wood pile is done and he spent so much time inside with us.  Each day the house got a little more caught up.  Each day we read more stories, he measured again and again and stared at the mantel to be finished.  I cleaned my sewing room and he cleaned his office.

I'm blessed with evenings talking and dreaming by the fire.  I'm blessed with someone who likes to dream with me.

I'm thankful for the vitamin B complex I've been taking.  It's like such a fog is lifted and I've been tearing through the house finishing projects like crazy. I feel so myself again and it feels a bit like coming up for air.  I don't know if this made the difference, or Knut helping has made the difference.  I have an appetite again, and that is so helpful in the energy department.  I normally like to hit a problem from every angle I know, and perhaps most solutions are multi-faceted.  Regardless, every tool, every help, every person, every solution was provided by God, and I am so thankful for that.

I'm blessed with this girl:
She helped me with the Christmas decorating, and paused here for a moment to read her Highlight's magazine.  I remember when she first got one the bus for kindergarten.  I felt like I was losing my time with her and it was so good to start homeschooling her a year later.  However, the feeling like she's growing up so beyond me hasn't left.

She spends more time alone.  She's the least needy of all my kids, and maybe that's the way it should be.  Time with her has to be intentional.  She requires so much less discipline than the other kids.  We still have good talks, and learn together.  She's just getting so big and growing up her own way.  It's so bittersweet.  As my oldest, everything she does will always be a "first" for me.

There will always be that tension of wanting to hold her forever, and not wanting to ever hold her back.   She's my right hand most days, and though she occasionally complains, she asks for more to do more often.  She gives me hope so many days when I'm correcting and disciplining the smaller ones like a broken record that it pays off.  It's not that I'm so proud of her, it's that I'm so humbled to see God work in her life.

I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving weekend too.  I hope you've had a chance to reflect on the so many ways God has blessed us.  You can always leave a quick comment naming your blessings, or link to your specific blog post on blessings.  To "link up" simply leave a link to this blog in your post and enter your blog link below.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Yarn Along

My pictures for Ginny's Yarn Along are broken up today.  I thought it might be a bit simpler that way.
 Here's the back of my Serina cardigan pattern in progress.  I'm using Madelintosh Tosh Sock yarn in the colorway "Ginger."  I'm still adding length, sleeves, and front edging.  I'm really hoping that I get it done by Christmas.

I ordered a new book that we've been enjoying the last 2 weeks.  In fact, we like it so much that I may order some more for a few Christmas presents.
Farm Anatomy looked so cute when I first heard of it.  It just came out last month, and I'm normally not that cutting edge.  It's all illustrated so it's interesting for kids, but it's a basically a packed encyclopedia of information.  If I had this book in hands when I met Knut...he would not have laughed at me so much.  Well actually, even he's learning things in here.

Where are the sickles on a chicken?  How do you milk a cow?  How do you make maple syrup?  How do you chop down a tree?  What's a cord of wood exactly, and what's the easiest way to grow potatoes?  How do you trim a horse's hooves?  How do you can tomatoes?  What's the difference between barley, buckwheat, millet and oats?  What kinds of turkey breeds are there?  How do you make cheese?  What's a wether, a shoat, and a pullet?  What's the best position to hold a sheep when shearing?  (You yarn lovers out there would be pleased to know it talks about what sorts of plants work great for dying yarn, and the whole process of yarn being made, as well as quilts, corn husk dolls, flower pressing...) 

Seriously, this is a very, very cool book.  Silje and David are reading through it, and Knut and I have both been looking through it as well and learning things. Silje noticed all the recipes in there...and no one was surprised by that.

It brings me back to the conversation I had with my friend Doug when I first moved up here (and before I met Knut.  He was trying to explain to me what a combine was, and every word out of his mouth sounded like a foreign language.

While I thank Doug for his effort, what I needed was the section of farm implements in this book:
Although, Doug may not actually admit this is a combine on the left because it's not the right color.  ;)  Knut was very happy they had a red combine in here.  Until I picked up this book, I did not know that a combine is called a combine because it combines several parts of the harvesting process in one big swoop.  It was a blonde moment for me.

The Creativity Curse

There's a phrase that started leaving my mouth at a very early age: "I could make that."  Knut will tell you I have the hardest time shopping for anything.  Well, I enjoy shopping, but I have a hard time actually buying things.  I love to go around a store and be inspired to make stuff.  I look at a sweater and say "I could make that."

We've had in on our list to get curtains for our living room.  For the longest time, I thought: "Why buy them if I can make them so easily?"  Well, I did buy fabric, left the fabric near the window for awhile to be sure that it went with the room, finally sewed the fabric into drapes and guess what?  I absolutely hated the color when they were done.  Fortunately, they work really well in the boys room...which was further down the list for curtains.

After picking fabric, actually sewing it up, and encountering failure my sewing-for-home-mojo was lost a bit.  New covers for the couch pillows in the den?  I could make that.  Add it to the pile.  Recover the chair in our bedroom upstairs?  I could do it.  Add it to the pile.  Redo the seats to the chairs in the kitchen with the incredibly dated gold plastic?  I could make that.  Add it to the pile.

Unfortunately for our house, Knut has the "I could make that" issue as well.  I can't tell you how much fun it was when our washing machine broke a few years ago.  I mean, it wasn't fun.  However, calling a repair guy to come out that same day, bring a part, have it done, and be on his way was incredibly fabulous.  It was done immediately with a phone call because it was something neither Knut or I could fix.

I hit a breaking point recently when Knut was swatting a fly in the kitchen.  The fly had landed on the curtains in there, and Knut gave a hard swat and killed the fly and ripped the old curtains.  I've been meaning to replace those curtains, so I wasn't too horrified.  However, it was a really obvious tear right in the middle, and I have no wish to fix something that is on the "replace soon" list.  No, it just moves it up to the "replace now" list.

It was when I admitted out loud to Knut: "I could make new curtains.  In fact, I've been looking for just the right fabric for them for over 2 years.  I'm not any closer.  I am not looking forward to this project.  You know what?  I should buy curtains!"

I know.  Those words hardly ever leave my mouth: "I could buy that!"  After a shopping date with my sister via our cell phones and laptop in front of each of us thousands of miles apart, I picked out curtains for both the kitchen and dining room.

I feel so wild.  I never just buy something. I may or may not have been hyperventilating and needed my sister on the phone to help me click the "place order" button.

Also, I bought a sweater at Target that I liked.  It was even one that would have been so easy to make!  In fact, as I tried it on, I was thinking of what yarn I would have used instead had I made it.  It was one of those "boyfriend sweaters" that are so popular now with some fun leather buttons.  I so could have made it. 

Knut could not be more pleased that I'm checking things off my list like replace a 20 year old hand me down sweater that I wear around the house, and finish the curtains that have been on the list to replace for years and I've just been overly indecisive.

I even bought noodles at the store last week.  Even though I know how to make them.  Mine are better (not to mention cheaper), but it's nice to have something quick to grab. 

It's so much fun to make stuff, but when I'm as behind on everything as I feels better to be caught up than to have made everything myself.  It takes some getting used to, but I'm finding a little balance...for now.

Monday, November 21, 2011

I'm Blessed

It's the week of Thanksgiving, so this week's "I'm Blessed" post is extra special.  I'm really hoping that this week as it is tradition to count our blessings, there will be more link ups with this party than ever before.  If it's easier to link up by just copying and pasting the button, here it is to put in your own post:

I'm so thankful for music.  I've been listening to a lot of music lately.  I got a new Andrea Bocelli c.d. and it just touches the soul.  Turning on old VBS music has been calming the kids down.  I just cannot imagine my life without it.

I'm thankful for one on one time with the kids that is so precious.

I'm thankful for my friend who came out to visit me on Saturday.  She brought along brownie mix and Oreos and made me Oreo brownies in my messy kitchen without a second thought.  
I'm so thankful for her.  I don't come across friendships like the one she has given me that often.

I'm thankful for lefse.  It's a Norwegian treat that we get on holidays, and once again Knut's grandma who is either 90 or close to it still makes it for the whole family and it's so good it brings tears to the eyes.  I'm so thankful for Knut's grandparents for 1,000 reasons, and this is merely one small way they are so cool.  She made it for Knut and I once at our old house and showed us all her tricks.  We video taped it, but ours still doesn't hold a candle to hers.
I'm thankful for times when David says "Mommy, I miss Great-Grandpa M.  I hope he likes heaven." like he did this last week.   His great-grandpa M. died almost a year ago, and David still talks about him.  My kids know 6 of their great-grandparents (well, 5 now...) and the ones in town they know pretty well.  How many of us know our great-grandparents pretty well?  It's so amazing to me.  

I'm thankful for evenings around the fireplace like this last Sunday night when Knut, the kids and I just sang songs, and were silly.  I think Knut and I are finally starting to relax.  Finally.

I'm thankful for my in-laws who drove the 3 younger kids and me to church yesterday while Silje and Knut were in the big city for the weekend.  I'll have to tell you more about it later, but I ended up being stranded at home without our van, and they gave me a ride without even thinking about it twice.  

Once again, this Thanksgiving I'm stunned with how much I have to be thankful for.  Through life's ups and downs, Christ is a constant.  "Because He lives, I can face tomorrow."  When I go through a mental list of all my blessings, what it always boils down to is this: God's grace.  I do not understand it, no matter how I try.  I do not deserve it, and only I and He knows how deeply embedded my sin is.  (Well, maybe He knows more...)  How does one wrap a mind around a debt forgiven like that.  I feel like not only has God forgiven my debt, but he's given me richness of His Spirit heaped on top.  Isn't it overwhelming?  It's good to dwell on this.  It's where I always try to 
direct my mind when I'm struggling with unforgiveness.

Well, I'm starting to ramble in my thoughts, so that means it's time to stop and give someone else a chance to talk.  This week, of all weeks, share how God has blessed you.  Either leave a message, or leave a link to your blog post on how God has blessed you.  Don't forget to link back to this blog, or copy and paste the code above into your post for the little linky button.

Thank you all for continuing to be a part of this Monday party.  It is such a blessing to me.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real

round button chicken

I've been wanting to join along with this mother/daughter blog for awhile, and it seems appropriate to join them this week.  The theme is: "Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real" and you're supposed to post a picture for each one of those words.  I've been needing some incentive to get the camera out in search of beauty, so this was a fun project.  I kinda didn't realize it was Thursday until just now, so I'm just throwing it together as a nap time pick me up.


The wind has blown most of the leaves off the trees.  The temperature has dropped, but it's still pretty sunny most of the time.  Although I miss my flowers so much already, and I'm too afraid to slowly kill a plant indoors like I seem to do every winter, I see that there is still beauty to be found...with the right eye.

Our wood pile.
Knut has been spending hours each day stacking wood.  Last year he gathered wood from the "little wilderness" behind our house for the firewood we used all winter long.  This year he went to an abandoned little homestead/clump of forest on farmland we use about 1/4 mile from our house to gather fallen trees.  He's been chainsawing and stacking away for some time now.

Seeing a big pile of stacked wood is a happy thing.  It brings to mind evenings next to a fire curled up with a good book, or a good knitting project. 
It's like finding an egg.
Getting a letter in the mail.
Putting on a Winter coat and finding a $5 bill that you left in there from the previous Spring.
It just makes you smile.

I brought David to the doctor this last Monday because he's been having a sustained, although controlled fever, and a bad cough.  He was diagnosed with having pneumonia in his right side, and swollen tonsils that might be the beginnings of strep.  We got a hefty antibiotic, and a challenge to help David rest.  I rented Cars 2, and let him watch it as much as he want so at least he wouldn't be begging me to go outside on our new (to us) swing set or run his normal laps around the house.

So he obediently stayed on the couch, as you can see in this picture above.  I'm happy to report that as of day 3 of the antibiotic, he no longer has any fever to treat, and we just have about another week of the antibiotic.  Besides some coughing, everyone else has been healthy.

Sorry for the grainy picture.
There seems to be a challenge getting the house clean all at once.  First I spent some time cleaning out the 3 season porch, and I took out my dress form that was left out there the last time I was taking pictures of Clara cowls because that room has the best lighting.  She (the unnamed dress form...she really ought to have a name) should go back to the laundry/sewing room, but it's so messy and so low on my cleaning priority list that she has just remained in the dining room as we've been doing school.  It's odd to walk past her when the room is dark at night.  We've kind of gotten used to her being there.  She needs to go back to her room.  I'll get there...
Also, this last section is formatted funny with lots of spacing and won't be fixed.  And that's just the way it is. 


I'm sorry for the lack of fun pictures in the last few posts.  As I alluded to yesterday, I've been procrastinating in many areas, including taking pictures.

In all honesty, I'm in a funk.  Whether it's things piling up on me that I've been ignoring, or my hormones adjusting once again, or a hint of postpartum depression, I don't know.  I've lived through depression before, and I don't think this is it, but it could be if I don't start taking care of things.

It hasn't ever gotten to the point of taking anti-depressants before.  It's not that I'm against them as a whole.  I know they have helped many people.

I have reservations about anti-depressant for me for 2 reasons: 1) medication of any kind seems to effect me to the extreme.  I tend to get all possible side effects.  I don't know if it's because I'm small, or what.  From many experiences, I've learned to take medications very, very cautiously as they have not always made things better.  2) The one time (back in the big city) when I discussed with my doctor the funk I was in, he whipped out his prescription pad and wrote me a brain chemistry altering medication faster then I could explain all that was the matter.  There were no tests to see if I was vitamin D deficient, if I had thyroid issues, if I was getting enough nutrition and exercise.  I was a bit uncomfortable with that.  If it got to the point of medication, I'd go there.  I'm not convinced that should be my first move without ruling out some other things.

I'm glad Knut is home more often because he's really the key to getting me back on track.  We found a system a few kids ago that seems to work for us.  He's learned the hard way that saying "try harder" isn't very helpful.  We normally tackle my slumps as a team, as I'd like to think I help pick him up when he's down as well.  His job is simple: make sure I'm eating enough, getting exercise, getting enough sleep, and getting outside at least once a day.  Once I'm pulled out, I can manage these things on my own again.  For awhile at least, Knut will need to boss me around/baby me a bit.

Well, I've just recently admitted to him that I'm really not right and can't stand the thought of it getting worse. I've been "worse" before and it scares me.  He's already started pushing the vegis and supplements.  Honestly, someone handing me my vitamin every day picks me up more than you'd think.  Eating vegetables and fruit takes more thought now that the garden is done.  He's been waking with the early risers in the house and letting me sleep in.

There's also some unwritten things on my mind.  Living so far from my family makes some situations hard.

Weaning Solveig is also on my mind.  She's 11 months old, and I'm assessing whether or not I should wean her soon.  Here's my nursing history for those dying to know:
Silje: breastfed for 5 months.  I got a severe case of the stomach flu, got dehydrated, and could not get my milk supply up after that.  I remember feeling like such a failure having to rely on formula, which in hindsight was silly.  She was so fat, so healthy, and no one doubts her intellect.

David: 12 months-ish.  His last feeding was a week or 2 after he turned 1.  I was at the point in my parenting journey where nursing him longer than that felt "weird."

Elias: 11 months.  I intended to feed him longer (I was open to 18 months at that point) but he had a biting issue I couldn't resolve.  As my lactation consultant friends says "He has bad table manners."  I weaned him a month earlier than my goal and have no regrets.

Solveig: I'm still open to the 18 month range.  However, I do not think that will be the best thing for our family.  Knut and I want to take some time this winter for just the 2 of us.  It is much overdue, and I do not want to bring Solveig along.  She is probably the best nurser that I've fed from the very beginning.  Although she's starting to try some gymnastic feats while nursing, she really is a joy the vast majority of the time.  I feed on demand, and she still nurses a lot.  She eats solids a lot too and drinks from a cup, but she's showing no sign of wanting to give me up.

Weaning was easy (and sometimes accidental) with my other kids, but I'm nervous that will not be the case with Solveig.  It's still awhile off.  On the other hand, Knut and I don't get away that often.  We could really use this time to regroup, and I think that a parent unit (marriage) in sync and on the same page is more valuable to my kids than extended nursing.  I want them both, but their priorities are not the same in my mind.

I used to think "ick" with extended nursing, and that somehow it was a sign of lack of boundaries with the parent and child.  However, now that I've seen friends and some extended family who have perfectly normal relationships with their adult children, I see that I've been wrong.  I have been a mother long enough to realize that kids turn out fine whether they've been nursed for 2 years, or 5 months...or only on formula.  The question that is now important is not what other people think I should do, what some study says I should do, or what any experts say.

What matters is what Knut and I believe is best for our family given the information that only we have.  Isn't it clever how God gives authority to make these decisions to the people who have the most information about the situation?  However, what I want, and what I believe our family needs, are not always the same thing.  That is a really tough part of being a parent.  Nursing my baby is a good thing.  Ignoring my husband for a non-necessity for one of my kids is not only bad for my husband, it's bad for my kids.

The only place I've gotten with this whole debate in my head, and talking it out with Knut is I won't start trying to wean at least until after Christmas.  There's no point in taking away breastfeeding during the stress of the holidays.  I keep reminding myself that maybe then it will be easier.  I've always stressed at this point unnecessarily as the kids have given me up easier than I anticipated.

Maybe by then I'll have come up with a plan that I'm satisfied with, because there isn't one settled in my brain yet.  Maybe by then I'll have adjusted to the idea.  Maybe then my brain will be working better anyway.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Yarn Along

As expected, a week is all I can stay away from Ginny's Yarn Along blog party.  This post will be about 2 of my favorite past times: knitting and reading.  Pardon the poor picture, I took it at night.

As for knitting, it's been on my mind more than I'd like to admit.  The Buttercup soaker pattern is finished, and is merely awaiting editing before I hand it over to the testers.  I have no idea why this editing isn't done yet.  I've literally set aside evenings to do this editing, and I've spent my time procrastinating.  I have no idea why this step is so hard for me.  It's not the editing that's hard, it's the handing off of a pattern to another human being and leaving myself open to hear their opinion on it.  It's terrifying, I tell you.  When my editing is done, I have nothing left standing in my way to email it off to them.  Fortunately, the testers are all being patient and sweet with me.

The same story goes with the Dirk sweater.  That one is written and edited, but needing a bit of size grading done, and I was planning on doing that after the Buttercup soaker.  I am determined to get those 2 non-knitting but all about knitting projects done this week.  I need some sort of accountability partner in this, and not my mother.  (No offense, Mom.)

So what have I been doing when I'm procrastinating?  Well, that's what you see in the picture above.  I've finally got the top portion of my own Serina Cardigan down to the armholes finished, and let me tell you, it's been a journey.  I've learned that I'm wingin' it a bit too much, and I need to go back to the graphing paper and calculator and get it perfect.  So I did, and it is perfect.  I'm so excited not to be ripping out this work because it feels that's all I've been doing lately.  My next project will definitely have to be from an already written pattern, otherwise I may burn out in this designing thing.  (P.S. the yarn is Madelintosh Tosh Sock in ginger.  I've been looking forward to this project and this yarn for months.  It is seriously as delicious a yarn as everyone says it is!)

I have these picked out for my next "quick" project to reward me for finishing all my pattern writing.  I think I may cast on when the 2 projects I've been procrastinating with are done.  I've got some chocolate brown wool I'm going to use.  They'll be my chocolate bunny slippers and my very first felted project.  I'm slightly nervous about that felted part.  However, I've felted sweaters before by accident, so it can't be that hard if it can be done accidentally.

As for reading, all I really have been able to manage is some Bible reading.  I've been skipping around the gospels.  It's been awhile since I've gone through the words in red.  Daily devotions are not as common for me as I wish they were.  I used to be in a Bible study with other women at my church during the day but decided that I cannot fit that in with homeschooling.  I used to rely on that for my daily study, and feel a bit on my own.  I'm feeling a little dry for some depth, and too exhausted to dig.  Sigh.

I can't throw in the towel, of course, so I thought that just because I can't do a deep study, maybe I can just read something every day.  I haven't picked a book or area, or chapter.  I know I should, but lately it's considered a good day if I just get it in my hands and read something that looks interesting in the gospels.  Even then, I find my brain wandering, or completely glazed over.  Maybe I should pick up a Bible study guide to help me dig even if it's on my own.  I don't want to read what someone says about the Bible, I actually want to dig in the Word, but maybe I'd be getting more out of it with a book to focus me.  Hmm...I just thought of that while I'm writing.  I think that may be a good idea.

My Buddy

We've come so far in 3 years!  It's been ages since I've spent some quality hospital time with our little boy.

Happy Birthday Elias!  He's 3, although when you ask him if he's 3, he'll shout "no" which pretty much sums up this age in a nice, neat little package.

He continues to be a goofball whenever he sees the chance.  Like his siblings, his heart is so big.  He loves to give hugs and get hugs.  He's a bit more tenderhearted when it comes to the dolls and pretend puppies in the house.  He cares for any little creature that comes his way.  He refers to Solveig as "my baby."  He feels so responsible for her happiness and safety that he takes her looking after very seriously.

The tough part about living with Elias is his constant...we'll call it talking.  He'll ask for more milk 6 times before you have a chance to answer him.  He repeats himself over, and over, and over and over.  It can literally drive you up the wall.  It's constant correction.  We're still working on his verbal skills as well, and it's getting easier to understand him and he adds new words to his vocabulary all the time.

The fun part about living with Elias is he's so funny.  He's such a charmer.  He says "You're boo-ful Mom." in a very matter of fact way nearly every day.

If you ask him if he's a big boy, he'll say: "No!  Ee-why-is!"
If you ask him if he's 3, he'll say: "No!  Ee-why-is!"
That's our Elias.  He is who he is, and he isn't anything else.

Monday, November 14, 2011

I'm Blessed

Happy Monday!
...or at least we hope it will be soon!

I'm taking yet another one of my kids (David) to the doctors this morning for a continuous fever and bad cough.  I expect another diagnosis of bronchitis, and another prescription.  In view of these circumstances, I'm thankful that we have access to medical care, and modern medicine.  In addition, I'm grateful this corresponds with a monthly event where the 2 littles get to have a day of play at a local church while I run errands with the school aged kids.  Of course, this isn't the errand morning I was planning for, but it does mean a doctors visit without the baby and toddler.  I'm sure you have some idea what I could possibly mean what peaceful bliss it is to be in a waiting room without those babes.

I'm thankful for my family perhaps more than usual.  Whenever I come to this post every week, I have to stop myself from going on and on about my family even though many days I hide from them, get overstimulated by them, or run from the house.  It's easy for those little ones and the husband to be the object of complaint so often.  However, when I reflect on what I'm thankful for, they always go straight to the top without hesitation.

I'm thankful for a steady, though still small, supply of eggs.
The white one is actually a pale blue, which is tough to tell from the photo.  It's just so pretty in real life.  The second one from the bottom is a bit smaller than the other, and I'm wondering if this egg is another "first egg" from a new layer, but there's no real way for me to know.
I'll have to get a picture of the new pale blue shade we just started getting.  I'll add it to this post later today if I ever make it home and have 2 moments put together.  If you never see the picture today, well...I maybe could use a prayer of patience.

I'm blessed with a steady rhythm of sleep that's covered our house.  Solveig doesn't get up at night as often.  The kids get up early, but not in the middle of the night anymore.  Knut's comings and goings no longer stir us.  We're starting to adjust to daylight saving.  I'm starting to remember what it feels like to have normal sleep patterns.

I'm blessed to see so many opportunities for our kids.  Whether it's music lessons, horse back riding with friends, endless resources of books and music at the library, raising chickens, playing fetch with the dog, knowing their great-grandparents well...I'm amazed at their life.

If you'd like to count your blessings with me.  Whether it's specific or general, we should "Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name" as my class talked about in Sunday school yesterday.  It's not just about the season.  It's about today, right now, in this moment.  Leave a comment, or I'd love to see a link to your blog (be sure to link back to this blog in your post) with your post on blessings/ how God has blessed you.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Homeschool Friday

I had a big, long, elegant post ready for this morning.  However, I'm questioning what I said a bit, so I'll just hang onto it until I can own my words fully.  So you'll have to settle for last minute rambling.

I tried a new experiment this week in our little school.  To explain, we live in an old house with lots of little rooms.  Well, perhaps not little, but with a lack of the "great room" that is so popular with modern building.  Somedays I miss the old days at our old rental with just one living room.  The main floor consisted of a living room and kitchen.  My kids were always in one of those places.  It was very simple.  At this house, I have to track down the kids constantly, and see if they're still remotely on task. 

What has been happening is I'll work on school with Silje in the dining room, and everyone will be around us until Solveig is ready for her morning nap.  Things work really well when everyone is nearby because I don't have to leave Silje often to deal with fights, etc.  When Solveig goes down for her nap, I try to get everyone to be relatively quiet because somehow she has managed to be a bit of a light napper.

So as soon as Solveig gets down for her nap, I come back downstairs to find the t.v. on.  So I turn the t.v. off, deal with the weeping and gnashing of teeth to follow, and try to continue on school.  This is where things get a bit crazy.

So I've tried unplugging the t.v.  I've even tried putting the wires all back in incorrectly so they can't just plug it in.  David has a way of figuring it out.

So this week, I've changed things up by bringing our school down to the playroom in the finished basement.  Silje has a little play school desk down there anyway.  When I'm down there all the time, the boys don't dare sneaking on the t.v. and there are plenty of toys for them to play with.

I'd like to say it was a raving success, but not so much.  We got some school done, but it was often too loud down there for Silje to concentrate, so I'd let her do her reading upstairs.  So when she would do reading upstairs, I would sneak upstairs too to do a bit of laundry or dishes.

Then for the last part of the week, David has had a bit of a fever and still won't be still, so I've let the t.v. come back on in an effort to entice him to rest.  So there goes all the work of forbidding it in the beginning part of the week.

In the move someplace, I've completely fallen off my spreadsheet.  As in, I have no idea where it is.   School has become, "OK, Silje, I think you should read a few chapters from this reader."  "OK, Silje, why don't we read some of our read aloud.  How much?  Um...until we feel like stopping."  "Silje, why don't you do about this much of Latin."

What has been lacking this week is our usual technical element of language arts.  Silje has been doing a TON of reading, so it's not like we've been lacking it all together.  When the day has been crazy, she just goes to the library pile, sits herself down, and I don't hear from her for 3 hours.

I was grateful for my homeschool mom's night out last night.  I was discussing with another mom how Saxon math with David has been dragging and it's been hard for either one of us to want to do it.  He hangs around me when I'm cooking, and I've been giving him a pile of pistachios and letting him use those to help him figure out math problems while I'm cooking.  "So David, if you have 5 dollars, and you want to buy a toy for 4 dollars, how many dollars will you have left."  Then he fiddles with his pistachios, and triumphantly gives me the answer.

I told my friend that he's been learning more math with me quizzing him with pistachios than our Saxon math level K program.  She said that she always skipped Saxon K with her kids, and went straight to 1st grade because she found it too slow and unnecessary.  I told her I liked that idea, but the 1st grade program uses workbooks, which the K level doesn't have.  His writing is not at a 1st grade level, and I think having to write in a workbook would turn him off to math for a long time.  He just can't write yet, so I don't see how he could fill in the answers and would very quickly be frustrated.

"So, what if you use the 1st grade program, but you do the writing for him.  The K program doesn't have a workbook because most kindergarteners can't do that.  So if you did the writing for him, it would be on par with his abilities for writing, but at least give him a challenge in this subject."

That thought had not occurred to me, but I kind of like it.  I could start out writing for him, and I'm pretty sure that eventually he'll be asking to do it himself by the end of the year.  It's so nice to have a group of moms who have been doing this longer to give me advice on ironing out the little problems.

Other moms in the group suggested that I just focus on "everyday" math that we've been doing with the pistachios.  This program covers calendars and a bit of time as well, but that would not be too hard to teach off curriculum.  Many homeschoolers skip kindergarten altogether, like suggested the Better Late Than Early approach (which is a book I've been meaning to check out). 

I arrived at Mom's night last night feeling pretty lousy for falling off my spreadsheet.  I confided in another mom that I've been so out of it I had no idea if we were on track or not.  She asked me what we've been doing all day.  "Well, we've been reading a lot.  We've been talking and discussing a lot.  The kids draw.  David has been building a lot with junk in the recycling bin.  I cook, they ask questions about what they're reading."

"Do you have any idea how much your kids are learning!"  She exclaimed.  She told me about how many days were like that and now that her older ones are approaching high school and they're having to take some serious subjects, they're handling it like it was a piece of cake.

I left mom's night feeling good about our days.  I would like to find the spreadsheet with our "schedule" and find where in the world we are.  I may just print off a new one.  I'm glad to know that if our days are filled with learning, we are on track.  The spreadsheet is just my made up security blanket, but not our success. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Three Hens

We have 3 hens laying out of 17.  It's been every other day: 1 egg, 2 eggs, 1 egg, 2 eggs.  I expect it will be slim pickin's like this until Spring.  When all of our chickens are laying consistently, we should be getting 5-6 dozen a week. 

This picture represents 3 different breeds.  I got the privilege to witness one of the black ones lay the one in the middle.  (Well, I saw her sitting on it for a few moments until she got off very kindly to let me take it.  It's very strange holding an egg still warm.  Our hens are obviously not very broody.

I saw one of the Amaracaunas sitting on the one on the right, but she hadn't laid it just then.  So I'm wondering if the spotted one on the left is from a black hen, or maybe from one of our two "Dotties" as I call them.  I'm trying to remember the name of that breed.  Wellsummer perhaps? 

Aren't they beautiful?  I ended up blowing out our first egg to keep as a keepsake.  It turned out very well.  I used the egg in a chocolate chip bar recipe that we all enjoyed. 

This is fun.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Work In Progress

Well, I'm normally Yarning Along with Ginny, but this week I'm taking a bit of a pass.  Sorry internet people.  I'm busy.  Well, that and when I'm sick and tired of showing pictures of the same projects, I can only imagine how you must feel.

I did finish the sweater.  I need to block it and take some pictures.  I'm still behind on my pattern writing and editing, but have made huge strides and am probably hours from being done.  That has to count for something.

I'm thinking of broading my horizons on the blogging front to keep it interesting.  For instance, I may not write about knitting on Wednesdays.  I'm such a rebel.  What's funny is this is actually my version of rebelling. 

Mondays will still be along the "I'm Blessed" theme.  I'm not as committed to the Homeschool Fridays, so I'll no longer put the linky up for that.  I do still plan on writing about homeschooling at the end of the week.  I didn't get this far in my last homeschooling post, but as Silje is starting to read my blog from time to time I want to be careful to not share anything that may embarrass her, you know? 

She's getting to that age where I could completely humiliate her and have no idea that I've done it.  So the posts that involve my kids might be gone over more than usual to make sure they would approve.  If I don't have time to go over it, it may be late in publishing, or I may not get to it at all.  *gasp!* I know.  We'll all be fine. 

Well, talking about potty training with Elias, and Solveig's random poop stories are probably still fair game.  I mean, I need some good stuff documented while they're still at the age of not caring.

So on other quick news:

We had another 2 egg day.  I had to buy another carton of eggs.

Designs for new patterns keep getting entered in my sketchbook.  I so should not have opened up this can of worms in my head.  It just won't stop.  If you ever wonder why I don't scrapbook: this is it.  It's not that it doesn't appeal to me, it's that I would take it to the extreme and it would take over my life.  So far I haven't let pattern making take over my life, but it so easily could.  I had to make some pretty specific rules for myself even for making these patterns.

Knut says he's still recovering from harvest.  I know the real reason for his restlessness is he needs to ski.  The sun goes down too fast for roller skiing after supper now, and there's no snow for the real kind.  There's some really good things on the horizon with him though, so he's starting to pick himself up.

I bought an antique darning egg at an antique store today.  I have no plans to darn anything, but I think just having one is darn fun to have on display.

Yes, I did just say that.

Monday, November 7, 2011

I'm Blessed

This week:
We had our first 2-egg day on Sunday.  We know that when the chickens are laying at full speed we could get 5-6 dozen a week from them.  We're told that as they're still young, and the daylight is shortening and the weather is cooling, we probably won't see those numbers until Spring.  I'm still excited and feel all warm and fuzzy inside whenever I find each one, even though it's just one.

I finally got the toy clutter destashed in the basement.  It's like a huge breath of fresh air to see big trash bags leave our house.

I'm enjoying the little baby cuddles as long as they last.  Solveig does this thing where she nuzzles her nose right into my neck, and then I put my face on her neck, and we just breathe and smell each other's skin.  There is nothing like it.

We're enjoying the smell and colors of Fall in their full abundance.

Knut got our new playground up.  For some reason there are not as many bolts putting the playground up as taking it down at his aunt's house, so we'll have to wait for a trip to town to pick up some more and get the swings up.

The chickens have not shown any interest in the playground yet, hence, have not pooped all over it. If anything would entice us to fence them in, this might be one of them.  (Although Lena promptly pooped at the end of the slide.  Sigh.  Way too much of my life is about dealing with poop.)

 I was so overwhelmed with the number of people who showed excitement for our first egg.  I had no idea the extent of people waiting for our chickens to lay.  I should have had a pool going.

Knut and I are finally getting used to him being around the house more.  There's always an adjustment period after harvest ends.  He needs to remember that communication with me looks different than it does with the other 4 farmers he works with.  I need to remember I'm not the only adult and decision maker in the house when he's home.  We're starting to get back into step.

I got to chat on the phone for a long time with my Aunt who is a constant encouragement and kindred spirit.  I don't know how the farm wives in the "days of yore" went weeks, and sometimes months without any communication with their families.  I'm so blessed to live in an age where they are all just a phone call away, wherever we live.

How has God blessed you this last week?  The absolute highlight on the blog for me each week reading your comments and your own blog posts.  It makes Mondays better, and Mondays can use all the help they can get.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Homeschool Friday

Hmmm...last week I had to cut out half my post because I was rambling too much.
This week I have no stinkin' idea what to write.

I'm starting to feel this conflicting pull when writing about homeschooling.  The fact is, most of the time I'm talking about parenting just as much as homeschooling.  Until I started homeschooling, I did not realize that's what homeschooling was.  It's parenting 24/7 for what feels, some days, like forever.  It's insane.

It's setting up house and home and getting really cozy in crazy town.  When people say: "O, I could never homeschool.  I need that break from my kids."  Yep.  Me too.  No argument whatsoever.  You do go crazy when you are around them this often.

So we decided to be crazy, and live crazy.  It's...well... *surprise* crazy. 

My intent with writing about homeschooling on Fridays is to somehow sort through the crazy.  Reflect on the crazy, and somehow make it a little more sane.  My only problem is that when I read back through the weeks, I guessed it.  I over-analyze the silliest things.  I sound so unschoolish in one post and so extremely structured in another.

I wonder if it's good for me to reflect on what we're doing like this so much, but as I'm reflecting on whether or not I should reflect, I realize that reflecting is a good thing.  It keeps me on track.  It keeps me honest with myself and keeps me on track with the goals set out for the year.

For instance, Silje finished the first half of 2nd grade math this week.  She's so excited about that, and is very bummed that my answer to "Does this mean we don't have to do math again until after Christmas?" was "no."

Last week the part that didn't get published was me having all sorts of doubts and then circling back to confidence and then around that whole argument a few more times on whether or not David is "on track" and if we're doing the right thing in regards to him.  I'm firmly in the "yes, we're doing the right thing by homeschooling him" camp.

It's just, when he acts up choir, I wonder if it's because I didn't teach him to respect his teacher enough.  I wonder if it's because a classroom setting is so foreign to him.  I know eventually he'll need to learn how to conduct himself in a classroom, but does that need to come now?  Every book, every expert, and most importantly, my gut, says "classroom-smassroom."

It's not that we're not working with David on this.  I spent more time last week getting David to sit while eating than I did working with his reading.  It's not that we're reading that little, it's that we're working on him sitting that much.  I know I need to continue setting a high bar for him, and I know that he will get better with maturity.  I even know that if he were in a different school, we'd be facing the same issues with him.  I worry so much what other people think, though.  I know I shouldn't, but I do.  When he gets excited and can't sit still in some public place, I think everyone around me thinks I'm doing my son a disservice by homeschooling him.  I wonder if everyone thinks that I'm not doing a good job, and should leave him to professionals.

The thing is, I see him improve.  I know he's doing awesome at home.  I see the lights go on, and his heart grow big.  I know this is what we should be doing, but at this point, I feel like everyone's just going to have to take my word on that.  I wish I could show off my perfectly well behaved children in public, and everyone think I must be some amazing teacher and mother. Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way.

What I'm struggling to say is that when my kids act out in certain scenarios, I really want to say, "I know it doesn't look like we're on top of this, but trust me...we are devoting our life to this" but I never do because I know how crazy it sounds.  They don't understand.  They don't live in crazy town.

So this tension...this feeling like the kids are thriving doing what we're doing, and my struggle to relax and enjoy the crazy makes me sound laid back and hip "whatever" attitude combats my need to control everything.  Then the events happen where my child does not perform on cue, or do my bidding (which always seems to have an audience) and I want people know that we are all over it.  It's stupid that I want people to know this, when this is none of their business, and they're most likely not thinking the thoughts I think they're thinking anyway.

Whew!  Good therapy session.  See you next week.

Need to unload your school week?  Want to share any highs and lows from teaching your kids this last week?  I'd love to read other homeschool blogs, so please share with the class your "Homeschool Friday" post.  Or just leave a comment below the little linky thingy.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

And Now, What We've All Been Waiting For...

Knut was the one to find it.  It wasn't there when I checked on them this morning.  I told Knut over lunch today that I was worried that the temperature has dropped so much that they won't lay now until Spring.  I was wondering if they were getting enough light in the coop when they were shut in all day.  We decided to let them have their afternoons back in the yard again, since they obviously weren't laying in the woods.

He let the chickens out when he went out to rake, and sent a picture text to my phone.  (We just added texting to our phone last week...I'm pretty sure that's not how Ma and Pa Ingalls communicated that a chicken has laid an egg back in the day.)

The black hens are supposed to lay this dark color, so it was one of the "Rubies" as I call that breed because their combs are so bright red.

It's fairly small.  Maybe about the size of a medium at the store?  Here it is in our egg carton next to the larges from the grocery store.  As you can see, we were running low on eggs again and I didn't want to buy them, again.
O, it's so pretty!  I'm just so happy.  So, so, so, so happy!

It's about time!


It seems that this last week or so has been busy for our postman.  Christmas is not here, but the catalogs and items in stores have already arrived.

I love Christmas, and I won't lie.  I get giddy when Christmas music comes on the radio and I see rows of tree ornaments in the stores this early.  We've been starting to get catalogs directly marketed for Christmas presents (although this vast industry rarely ever says the word "Christmas"...don't get me started).  We're getting hit from every angle.  From the American Girl doll people to a place we get some homeschool stuff...we got 'em. (There's some really cool educational toys in that catalog that mommy has been drooling poor kids.)

I have let the kids look at the catalogs because I remember paging through them as a kid too.  I could spend hours looking through a JC Penney catalog and decorating my room, picking out outfits, and of course jewelry.  Maybe I shouldn't, but the kids love to go through these catalogs.

Fortunately, materialism and requests for stuff didn't take over our home, and I think that was because we just recently got another catalog.

We got in the mail a gift giving catalog from Food for the Hungry, a charity that my mom works for.  Knut and I have a huge respect for them.  Just ask either one of us and we'll talk your ear off about how they don't just give things to the poor, but they allow the poor to maintain their dignity.  We'll tell you how careful we have seen them use donations, and how they come up with programs that are smart.  They deal with both emergency situations, and community development.  I love hearing about their community development programs because they're so careful to make sure that the community they serve does not become dependent on them.  (I told my mom I was probably going to blog about it so she told me to put a link to their Facebook page.)

So I looked through the whole thing, and then just left it on top of the pile along with all the toy catalogs.  I just waited until the kids found it.  It didn't take long.

Silje came running up to me to tell me about the importance of clean water, and what water filled with parasites can mean for people who are already on the verge of starvation.
I know.  I'm the mom who leaves literature lying around the house about parasitic worms for her children to read.

She took the information on worms very easily.  It was much harder for her to understand how a cute little bunny could provide "nourishment."

What I loved was her immediate connection to the other catalogs.
"Mommy, did you know that for less than the cost of a new American Girl doll, we could by a goat for a family who didn't have enough food.  That goat would give them milk that they could drink, and they could sell some and get the things they need.  For less than the cost of 1 doll!"

With all the animals in it, this is the new 'in demand' catalog with the kids.  Silje, David, and even Elias will take turns looking at it.  David will often ask Silje to read it to him.

They have not asked for 1 new toy since this catalog entered my house.  Suddenly the list of things they're saving for is changing.

I'm just thought I'd share this new revelation this year of the blessing of the FFH gift case any of you other mothers like me are dreading the bombardment of marketing to our children in this upcoming Christmas season.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Yarn Along

Well, for this week in Ginny's Yarn Along you're still seeing the Dirk sweater, and the Buttercup diaper soaker.  I can't believe I'm still on these projects, but it's just the way it is.  The Dirk Sweater is now in the "Ninja Phase" as I like to call it.  My goal was to get this sweater done for the pattern pictures by October 31st, and I missed that mark.  I haven't been knitting as much as I like, but I'm still getting pieces here and there.  I think there's a very good chance that these sleeves will be done by next Wednesday's knitting post.

The Buttercup soaker in size medium was done, but after I had Solveig wear it for a day, I didn't like how it gapped a bit by her back, so I'm making some slight changes to the waistband to make it more elastic.  There's strings everywhere by the waistband and it isn't ready to look pretty for the camera so I covered up that part.

As far as the reading, A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns is my high literature these days.  My mind has been too full of things that when I sit down to read, it's not a story or a magazine, but paging through hundreds of stitch patterns.  I've started making notes on many pages, and ideas in the margins.  It's been my daydream time.

After harvest ended, Knut knew I really needed to get out of the house without the kids for a little bit.  I brought up that I miss going to the knitting night at our local yarn shop.  So last Thursday I got to sit and knit, while surrounded by lovely yarn and fun ladies.  The new manager there kept calling me "the designer" and wants me to help teach a class on the Clara Cowl sometime.  She also helped me get it set up to sell my one paid pattern there, and any others in the future that come out.  I was so flattered.

The owner's daughter stopped by and they told her about the wool diaper covers I knit.  She had been searching for some wool covers and ended up ordering some custom shorties for her little baby, and picked out the super soft yarn you see in the picture.  I need to cast those on soon.

Hangin' On

Yesterday for Halloween, I had a major mom-fail.  We were going to carve pumpkins.  We were going to do a pumpkin craft.  I had all of these great plans.  None of them happened until Knut got home and we went to a fall festival party and then went trick-or-treating to a few neighbors who expect us each year.  (Great-grandparents, etc.)

Solveig was still recovering from the overstimulating and routine crushing weekend.  I don't regret the weekend, but it's often the little ones who pay the price.  I tried all morning to get her down for her morning nap.  We have a routine to get a fresh change, swaddle her tight, nurse or snuggle her, and then lay her down.  I did our routine and she would not sleep.  So I snuggled her longer.  She started getting drousy so I laid her down and she was screaming once again. 

I worked with her for over 2 hours.  I have let my babies cry before, but I don't like them crying if I can avoid it.  What mother does enjoy crying, really?  Sometimes crying lets them sort themselves out.  Sometimes crying gets them more worked up and crazy.  After 2 hours of fighting her to sleep, I let her cry for about 30 minutes.  She did not fall asleep and the other kids were desperately needing me at that point.  So I brought a sleepy, cranky baby downstairs and tried to get the other kids what they needed from me.  At that point I did not feel it was wise to bring out the mess of pumpkin carving, as Solveig would scream whenever I put her down.

She's normally a very happy baby, just so you know.  She's not sick, she was just overtired.  Overtired is a very frustrating place to be.

Then came afternoon.  Normally her afternoon nap isn't as good, but since her morning nap was non-existent, I figured she needed to sleep.  So we did the routine.  I laid her down.  Then I let her cry.  I didn't know what else to do, but I did not have my whole day to hold her to offer her.  Hearing her cry shook me to my core, as it should have.  Not that it's wrong to let her cry, but it almost feels like I feel what she feels, and that way she's not as much alone.

If she would have been contentedly in the Ergo, I would have held her.  She was at the point where she was crying when I was holding her just as much as she was crying when I laid her down.  She was just so tired.

She never fell asleep.  By the time Knut got home for us to go to all of our activities for the night, I was physically shaking.  She wasn't crying that whole time, but she was very clingy, and so sleepy.  The other kids were acting like their mom was just making do with them for the day, and I was crying because I, who hardly ever plan fun activities, had planned a whole day of fun activities and had been able to do none of them.

Well, Knut helped the kids into their costumes.  I was looking forward to using the swap a face out in photoshop to fix a few expressions, but this was actually everyone's best. 
The evening was lots of fun.  From left to right: dragon, dancing tiger, cow(horse), and firefighter.  I say cow(horse) because the package said horse on it, but this horse had no mane and had the tail of a cow.  I guess some of those costume people don't know the difference between those 2 animals.  City people...

This year Silje's costume was pulled from the dress up box which includes dance recital outfits from cousins.  (I think she's worked that black and pink dress into the last few years' worth of costumes.)  David's costume was from the after-halloween costume box that I bring out this time of year.  When the costumes get really cheap after halloween, I pick up  a few for the following year, or for our year round dress up.  Elias' costume was $4 from Goodwill, and Solveig's was an after Halloween sale for $1 last year.  It was a bit snug on her.

Today is much better.  Solveig is actually playing on the ground, and the older kids have been so helpful, besides the fact that they're asking for candy every few minutes.  There was one morning meltdown when the answer to "can I have candy for breakfast" was "no."

Today is Tuesday, and that means errands in town, homeschool group, and choir practice.  As much as I want so badly to stay at home, I know that what the older kids' need is to go in.  I know we need groceries.  They've been hanging with me through all the craziness, that they should get their "fun day" and I can't bear to take it from them.

Today I'll actually get our weekend unpacked, diapers washed and house picked up.  At least I'll try.  "This is the day the Lord has made.  Let us rejoice and be glad in it."  "His mercies are new every morning.  Great is Thy faithfulness."  Somedays it's good to recite Scripture.

An egg would really help in the attitude department today.  Today our chickens are 6 months old.  Yesterday when I checked on them I saw that they had pushed the fake eggs out of each nesting box that I was told to put there to entice them to lay there.  They had somehow moved all the fake eggs over to the door, so when I peeked in, I saw a small collection of eggs.  Nice try girls.  You can't make bail with fake money.