Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Yarn Along

                                                                


I've been working on 2 different projects this week.  First, the daughter of the owner of my local yarn store asked me to make her son some wool shorties.  We discussed the size and based on his pounds, I picked a size medium.  However, once it was done, I realized it would not fit at all.
So the next time I saw her I showed her the size medium shorties and we didn't even try them on him.  I measured him actually this time and that lined up with the pattern for an XL.  I refuse to rip out a finished pair of shorties, so when I get around to restocking my store, they'll be a size medium pair of shorties added to the "store stocking to-do" pile.  I got some more yarn and am trying round 2 of shorties for her "little" baby.  I'm just finishing up the cuff on the second leg, so I'm nearly done.  
When compared to the project on the right (dk weight yarn in fair isle) to the shorties project, the shorties have been flying off my needles.  It's so fast!!
My fair isle project of my new sweater pattern is getting me more and more excited.  What was in my mind and what was in my sketch is actually turning out the exact way I planned it.  That doesn't usually happen that easily for me.  I'm not sure if that means the next step of this sweater will give me headaches, or if it means I may be getting the hang of this knitting-design business.  I tend to lean towards the former.
What you see is the right sleeve coiled up and I'm now working across the back.  
Silje and I just started reading Along Came a Dog.  It's actually one of the books of hers that I was able to read this last summer in preparation for school this year.  She's been so antsy to read it, and I've been so antsy to read it to her because I loved it so much.

It would most definitely be in my top 5 favorite children books, and perhaps my top 10 favorite books of all time.  It's about a black dog and chickens. How can it possibly get any better than that?  We're only 1 chapter into it, but already Silje is giggling her way through it.

It is so beautifully written.  It's going to be really, really hard to read only one chapter a night.  We may be done with it by this time next week.

Ski Lesson

 David really wanted to go skiing with someone yesterday, and he didn't have to twist Elias' arm too hard to convince him to come along.  David got Elias' skis on all by himself.  He spent a lot of time trying to get Elias to hold his poles right, and poor Elias who still has trouble getting his thumb in the hole of his mitten had a tough time gripping it properly.

 After a few minutes of frustration, David finally realized that beginners don't start with poles.  So he took Elias' poles away and said he can work up to using them since he's a beginner.  I coyly asked David why he got to use poles.
"Mommy...I've been skiing for 3 years."  (eyeroll)
O.  Right.
 The sisters decided to cheer them on from the kitchen window.  Solveig loved watching them, and Silje loved holding her so she could watch.
 Elias was a bit unsure at first.  It took awhile to figure out how to move with  them on, and whenever they would glide, it would strike him off balance.

 David skied around the yard to show him how it was done.  After he sped around for about 10 minutes, he enticed Elias to leave the driveway and go off into the yard and loop around the playground, chicken coop, and come on back. 
Elias had fun, but was quick to get the skis off after their loop, and plow some snow with his metal tractor.

Just now as I write this, David is out for a quick after-breakfast-ski before his reading lesson will start.  There's not much snow in our yard, but he won't let any of it go to waste while we have it.  Elias is inside this time.  David said he'll give him another lesson later.  For now he just wants to race fast for a few minutes.

He and Silje's first official youth race is just a few weeks away, you know.  He's in training now.
Just like Daddy.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Please Explain to Me (political tangent)

Would someone out there please explain to my why the right to birth control and abortion = automatic funding.  I'm so sick to death of hearing that taking away funding for abortions is taking away someone's right to something.

For instance, I have a right to own a gun.  In fact, most Americans do if they don't have some sort of violent crime record.  Does that mean that if I want a gun, the government should give me one?  Does that mean that someone out there owes me a gun because I have the right to own one?

Let's say I need a gun for my safety.  Let's say my life depends on it.  Let's say I live out in Montana in bear country and I will not be able to go on my daily walk if I'm not carrying a gun.  Will the government give me one then?

What about elective surgeries.  Multiple studies prove that pretty people get more attention, interview better and easily make more money.  Does that mean that everyone who is ugly is entitled to plastic surgery because their future happiness depends on it?  If I am born with a huge nose, it's not enough to have the right to surgery. I shouldn't have to pay for it.

The Obama administration is trying to make this claim.  In order for the right to birth control, abortive medications, or an abortion itself, it should be free.  Well, it should be free to those who want them.  Someone, though, will pay.

The one right which is not looked on too favorably by Obama is the right to practice religion.  You see, if you are a religious organization and have employees, you are required to pay for their "right" to this type of care even though it goes against your beliefs.  In the eyes of Obama, you can believe whatever you want.  It shouldn't effect your actions, though.  Your actions should be whatever he says.  He's not asking for your heart.  He's asking for your cash.

He does not believe that where your treasure is, there your heart is.  He believes you can spend money on something you hate and your heart will not be affected.  He's asking you to believe that too.

This tangent was raised in me when I read this article recently which is a call from the Catholic church saying they don't want to have to pay for health care that covers these procedures and medications that are directly against their belief system.  I'm not Catholic.  I'm Lutheran who is pro-life.  Currently the Catholic church does pay for health care for their employees that omits these controversial, optional points.  They are not against universal health care.  They just don't define birth control as maintaining "health."

In their eyes, (and mine) abortions means death, not health.  As far as medications, the pill is essentially breaking a perfectly healthy organ of the body with the hopes of it being temporary.  The morning after pill is the same exact pill as "the pill" just a higher dosage.  I say "hopes of it being temporary" because even in my small circle of friends, I know a handful that have had trouble getting pregnant after being on the pill for many years, or suffered multiple, "unexplained" miscarriages after coming off the pill...which are both associated with that medication.  How is that maintaining health?

If abortion is a right, and sex is a basic human need, why isn't the government providing sex as well?  If that is a basic human need, they should be making prostitutes available.  What would we say to any man who demanded sex from a woman because sex was a basic need of his, and he was entitled to it?

If going to church is a right, why do I have to tithe?  The government should be paying my pastor to maintain my spiritual health.  Isn't spiritual health important?  It's my right to have one.

In fact, maybe we should be handing out cars to people who get their driver's license!  I mean, they have just received the right to drive.  We wouldn't want to hinder that right based on finances.  Maybe they need a car for their job.  Are you saying they should be unemployed because they don't have a car?

Whether or not I agree with it (and I don't) I simply do not understand the logic.  Why should something be paid for because it is a right?  Why should the government decide what I need and who should provide it for me?  Pulling funding on abortions would no more be damaging to a woman's right to reproductive health than pulling funding for handing out guns to single mothers trying to protect their kids in gang infested neighborhoods.  O wait...

BUT you say, if you hand out free guns someone may get killed or physically hurt.

My point exactly.

added 2/1/2012:
I want to thank those who have chosen to comment.  I've actually been surprised that the comments for the most part have been pretty respectful on both sides.  There are many I disagree with, but have left up because I think they are made with the intent to discuss the issue.  There are some that cheer me on, and I most definitely left those up!  There has been a small handful that I deleted and that's because they were either on the verge of being nasty, or just made me want to throw up or shout at someone.  It's not that the person doesn't have the right to their opinion, but this is still my blog and I have the freedom to be the judge of what to leave up and what to delete.  On this particular page, censorship is my right.  If someone wants to exercise their freedom of speech, I suggest they start their own blog and write as much as they like.)

I'm Blessed

Yesterday when I was teaching my little Sunday school class, our memory verse talked about hiding God's word in our heart.  We talked awhile about what that meant.  One aspect of that is memorizing the Bible, which is something I've been trying to work with them on this year.  I talked to them about how once we put God's word in our heart, no one can take it from us.  They could take the Bible and burn it.  They could steal the Bible.  They could make owning a Bible against the law, but no one could take it out of their hearts.

Then we talked about how God's word helps us to not sin.

It didn't take long before the kids asked more about why someone would ever take a Bible, or make owning a Bible against the law.  None of the kids in the class (my own Silje included) had ever heard that in some places of the world, it is against the law to own a Bible.  Silje told me later she knew it happened before from history books, but did not know it was still going on today.

None of them knew about the persecution of Christians going on in the world.  Somehow we got talking about things around the world, and none of them knew that people actually starved to death.  They all thought that was something in history.  They tried to problem solve: couldn't they just grow some food,  kill an animal, go to the store?  These precious, innocent children could not imagine a world where Jesus was hated, the ground was too dry to grow food, and there were no animals to shoot.

I've learned so much this year teaching Sunday school on how much I assume the kids know, and am surprised they have never heard.  Only one kid in my class knew John 3:16 in my class.  None had ever heard the story of the Good Samaritan.  Now, I realize our curriculum has been covering mainly Old Testament stories.  They're only 7-8 ish years old and there's a lot of Bible to cover.  I don't expect them to know each and every Bible story by 2nd grade.

It is amazing to see kids hear these stories for the first time.  It is so amazing to see them grasp Biblical truths for the first time.  Truths I figured everyone knew, and have become so dull to me.

As for the I'm Blessed list, I think you may know where I'm going with this story.  I know there is always stuff to complain about in our country, and even things to really fight for and we will always have to fight for.  Now is not that time.  Now is the time to be grateful.

I'm Blessed:
-to own a Bible.
Several copies in multiple translations.  Also, Bible study materials like concordances, Bible dictionaries, commentaries...(I used to work at a Bible bookstore in college and it sort of shows on my bookshelf).

-to be able to meet with other Christians at a church on Sunday.
So many Christians around the world have to meet in secret, and at the risk of their lives.  We can drive up in our minivan in broad daylight, stay the morning, have a potluck, and discuss church business in an annual meeting afterward.  Just like that.  No soldiers, no secret handshakes, no fear of being discovered.

-to be able to teach God's word to children daily.
The Bible is big and there are lots of questions that sometimes take a lifetime to answer.  Kids won't get it all in a day.  They don't get it in a sitting.  Discipleship is a continual thing.  To see those light bulbs go off over and over, without any fear that they may tell the authorities on us, or mistakenly talk about Jesus in public and be removed from my home. 

-to have to explain things like starvation, hunger, homelessness, alcoholism, and persecution to my kids.
They don't have to live it.  They get to have to wrap their minds around such ideas, but the don't have to live them.  They can learn these things through words and books and not personal experience.

If you'd like to participate in this "blog party" by leaving your comments, I would greatly appreciate it.

Also, while I'm at suggesting you do stuff, if you have kids you may be interested in www.kidsofcourage.com.  It's the kid's website for Voice of the Martyrs and has lots of resources for teaching kids about the persecuted church.  I may be going through that this week to see if there is some things I can bring to Sunday school next week.  I shouldn't need to say this, but be sure to preview the stuff first and make sure your child is mature enough to handle it.  They've got lesson plans, VBS materials, activity books, and an up to date blog.  I just so barely found it Sunday evening, so I'll be diving into their resources this week to see what we can use for our family.

If you want to participate with your own blog post please follow these simple steps:
1. Write a blog post on how you have been blessed.
2. Either grab the "I'm Blessed" button to your right and stick it in your blog, or leave a link to this blog somewhere in your post.
3. Post the link to your specific blog post below.
4. Leave a comment.  Well, this one is optional, but I'm sure if you have a blog, you know how much fun it is to get comments.  ;)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Great Hair

Despite what people might say, there's an amazing advantage to drooling and having your fingers in your mouth, and then tugging at your hair when you're sleepy.  When you're in this phase, you wake up from your nap with the coolest hair do. It's all organic hair product.
Just ask Solveig.  She'll tell you.

Midnight Musings

I didn't get my weekly homeschooling post done Friday.  Sorry about that.  There are so many thoughts that have been running through my brain.  Well, it feels like so many thoughts because the thoughts are never allowed to finish, therefore you have to start them all over again, or remember where you left off.

Solveig's getting big.  Will she be my last?  Some days, well...many days my kids have me climbing the walls beginning right around 4:30-5:00pm.  In other words, things start falling apart right when Knut gets home.  Then he tries to get them out of my hair as I try to pull together supper or set the table.  Then we eat supper while constantly telling David to sit in his chair, and Silje to pull her hair out of her food, and telling Solveig to sit down.  (That girl is a little magician with the high chair.  Most evenings it's just less effort to just let her eat in our lap.)

The good days are when naps go as planned, and supper is something prepped already from the freezer and I can sit and do crafts with the kids and when Knut gets home we all sit in the living room and read books after supper with the kitchen clean before they go to bed.  Those days aren't often enough.  I think I need to put more meals in the freezer again.  I'm a bit low.

Ironically enough, I felt the same way with 1 kid.  I felt overwhelmed starting the same time of the day.  I just wanted my space, I just wanted a moment to think...some things never change.  Would 1 more really make life more difficult?  It's my weaning-my-baby train of thought.  There is no rush.

Well, things actually change right around midnight.  The house is quiet and you check on all the kids and they are sleeping so peacefully.  You have many moments to think and type in front of the computer and one of the kids comes down from bed at midnight and says a sleepy: "Good Morning, Mommy."
"Honey, it's not morning.  It's still night."
"Oh.  Do I have to go back to bed?"
"Yep."
"Can I get a hug first?"
"Of course."
And then their hug fills your joy bucket to the brim and instead of craving your skin to yourself and just to be left alone... something switches.  You just want to hold that child as long as you can because you know in the morning he will be bigger.  The frustration of the day is forgotten and your house is full of sleeping treasures.

Night is such a gift.  That's probably why I can't sleep sometimes.  I just love wandering around my house when it's quiet.

I have a kitchen remodel I'm sorting out in my head.  It won't be for awhile yet, but I think I've realized that an island won't fit well.  We'll have to stick with a peninsula.  Except I want to get rid of the cabinets over the peninsula and widen it.  When the time comes everything will be gutted from our kitchen, but the end result will probably be a wide peninsula with no overhead cupboards in that spot.

At night you can eat cookies and you don't have to share.  You don't even have to eat them over the stove with your back turned to everyone.  You can sit down. 

Our pastor's wife fell today (actually, I think it's yesterday now).  I'm thinking of her now as she's in the hospital.  She has MS and has been down such a road the last few years.  She had a bad fall today(yesterday) requiring surgery.  I really haven't been updated all that much, but just enough to sit and pray.  Just 2 days ago she called me and we talked for almost half an hour.  I told her I couldn't commit to the ladies Bible study because I've haven't been able to make that work with homeschooling and something just had to give.  She totally understood and we chatted with such ease.  She never covers her struggles, has such an open heart, and clings to the Lord sometimes with such desperation.  It's what I love so much about her.  She said she really wanted to get together with me for coffee some time soon.  I told her I would love that.

Part of me wonders if I should bring her some good coffee in the hospital and have our visit.  Surgery was just today (yesterday), and I'm sure she's not up for that.  I'll just pray that God's Holy Spirit would just hold her heart tonight, and these coming days...weeks...months.  Lord give her strength.

When I've been praying for her throughout today, the same phrase keeps going through my head: "The joy of the Lord is my strength."  Sometimes I hear Twila Paris' voice sing it and it was stuck in my head for awhile.  I pray that the joy of the Lord be her strength and that she does not get discouraged.

I should go to bed.  Knut will get up with the kids tomorrow, but it's not like I've got the day off.  We're going to take down our Christmas decorations.  Then maybe I'll work on sending out our Christmas letter.  I haven't quite gotten to that.  Well, the letter is written but the pictures aren't printed, and nothing is addressed or stamped.  I wonder if I should skip it this year.  I've wondered if I should just send out "Family Valentines" instead.  Then I'd actually be ahead.

I think I need to buy another Russian novel for nights like these.  Knut and I have a date planned for Sunday.  Maybe after supper we can stop by a bookstore and I'll pick up The Brothers Karamazov.  That one has been on my list for awhile and all the books I have right now are too interesting and just wake me up more.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Not a Single Flake

 Not a single snowflake
 has gone to waste
in our yard.

We finally got some snow this week, and the kids have spent so much time outside.  Knut has been able to do a bit of ski training on a few lakes around here.  Finally!  This weekend I think he's going to drive a bit to find some cross country trails with some hills.  It seems that winter finally came.  
Cold weather is no fun without snow.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Yarn Along

This week for Ginny's Yarn Along blog party I'm sharing the same sleeve.  Actually, I'm sharing another version of the sleeve, as this is the 3rd one  Last week was the first version...I think.  It's not that my calculations were wrong, it was that my knitting in the fair isle technique looked terrible when not knitted in the round.  I conveniently hid the ugly looking parts from you in last week's post.  The purling side caused these huge gaps on the edges and I just detested looking at them, which is not a great start to a handmade garment.

So I decided to work it in the round (conveniently eliminating the need to purl), and therefore started with the cuff this time.  I'm content now and hope this project starts getting some traction.

As for reading, I have you lovely Yarn Along ladies to thank as this week my reading was a result from numerous recommendations of this book.  I absolutely love reading history books, and I'm intrigued about Russian history because I know so little about it.  I've tried to get into Russian literature in the past, and found it useful for getting through those many nights of insomnia when I was pregnant.

Normally a book does not put me to sleep but awakens my brain...except if it's Russian.  It took me 5 years to get through Anna Karenina and she got me through 3 pregnancies.  1-2 pages of that book put me straight to sleep.  On really bad nights I'd get almost 5 pages done.

Still, Russian literature seems to be so lofty and "brainy" to me and I'd love to understand it so I could feel smart.  That's what keeps coming me back: my pride.  It's not a very good reason, but what can I say?  Sometimes the more you know about at topic the more interesting that topic is.  I wish I were more interested in Russian literature so a good step to get there is to know more about them.

This book, though, Nicholas and Alexandra: The Classic Account of the Fall of the Romanov Dynasty is not difficult to get through.  In fact, I'm learning so much about the context of Tolstoy's writings that it becomes that much more fascinating.  I finally picked up this book last weekend when Solveig was sick and I spent many hours holding her on the couch with her sleeping on me.  I couldn't manage knitting, so reading it was.

I got through about 80 pages on Sunday and I am in history heaven.  The author paints both sides (the Romanovs and the revolutionaries) as very human, and I love it when historians do that.  I hate it when historians paint one side as "good" and the other as "bad" when it's just a bunch of humans doing stupid or smart things.  Alexander never wanted to be Tsar, and his father sheltered him from knowing anything about the job.

His wife was a German princess who married Alexander in a time of mourning his father (a week after the funeral) and was basically thrown into her role knowing very little Russian.  Then she had multiple pregnancies requiring bed rest, after which she insisted on nursing and caring for all of her children herself...which was very unroyal.  It separated her from her people and they could not connect with her because she was never in the public eye.  She was caring for her children instead.  Would I have done anything differently?

I know how this story ends so I'm a little sad that I'm connecting with these characters so much.  That's what makes it a great book, I guess.  Now I'm starting the part about Lenin's history which is a bit creepy, and a bit sad. 

Of course, I have only managed about 5 pages since then.  Everyone is feeling well again, and that pretty much means I'm back to nibbling at books instead of taking great big bites.  You may see this book on my Yarn Along posts for awhile.

The Baby

I may have mentioned that Solveig had a tough weekend.  For the most part, it was just that she had a small fever at night, and was sleepy and not feeling herself during the day.  We just brought her back from the doctor where she got some shots, and she just wasn't herself.  Sunday morning I kept her home from church, and also discovered a new tooth had broken through.

So much for my progress in weaning.  I had gotten her down to 2 feedings a day, but Saturday and Sunday turned into marathon feedings where all she wanted to do was nurse and since it was the only thing that seemed to work in making her feel better, I just let her sit and nurse all day long.  The Tylenol just wasn't doing it for her.

I'd like to get into my vaccine tangent.  I really would.  We'll save that for another brave post.  Cliff notes and quick position: We do most vaccines.  We opt out of some.  I showed up at the clinic and there was 2 vaccines on the list that I knew nothing about (it seems that with each new kid of mine, there is a handful of new vaccines that go with them.  You know when I was a kid there was about 8 vaccines given to kids and now it's over 30 and most are completely optional but are definitely not presented as such) and I felt rushed through the whole process and the older kids were being loud and I just said "go ahead and give them to her" and when I got home, I read through the papers they gave me after the fact (how's that for informed consent?) and realized there was one I would have opted out of, and on top of that I HATE giving a baby 4 vaccines at once because it takes them a week at least to feel themselves.  I know better and was kicking myself for just taking the easy way out of the doctor's office and not making the rushed doctor and noisy kids all sit there while I read the given information, and asked every question until I was satisfied.

I guess that wasn't so short.

I've made new resolutions about how I'll handle that situation in the future and I'm sure it won't happen again.  I'm switching my kids doctor anyway, and I plan to call ahead and get the names of the recommended vaccines before I go so that I can look into them before we arrive.

Anyway, Solveig wasn't herself when it comes to the energy and smiles.  When it came to cuteness, she was still knocking us over.
So Sunday morning while Knut took the other 3 to church, I snuggled Solveig at home.  She wouldn't be put down for a second, but took about 4 cat naps that morning.  My arms got tired so I got out the ring sling that I used to use with Elias before I got the Ergo.  The Ergo is still my favorite carrier, but the ring sling is great for a snuggly baby in a ball.

On Monday she was much more herself, but has still been running a slight temp (right around 100 degrees) in the evening.  She's also started carrying around our "Abby" doll.  Silje got her at a garage sale for $.25 a few years ago and carried it around forever.  David never showed interest in dolls, but Elias cared for it for a few months, though never carried it around, and now it's Solveig's favorite.  Who knew that a garage sale doll with markers drawings on the head, little-to-no stuffing left and clothes mislaid somewhere in the house would still be the favorite?

We have way cooler dolls, I promise.  Why we ever got the way cooler dolls, or still have the way cooler dolls I've yet to figure out.  Abby seems to be all we need.

About Eggs and then Granola

In this last cold snap, we've come across a new issue with our chickens.  We heard that they don't lay much when it is cold, but ours keep popping out those eggs.  Unfortunately, those eggs freeze.  It's amazing, I learned, that when eggs freeze, it is the shell that cracks...not the membrane.  So when the shell cracks, we've been letting them thaw in a bowl to be sure they're not leaking at all.  The ones that go right back to normal, go in the carton.  The leaky ones get thrown out.

Although, we have learned as we have started to cycle through eating these once-frozen eggs that the yolks are a bit funny when used.  Maybe they're fine to eat, maybe not.  They look gross and we have eggs coming out our ears, so we threw the funny yolk ones out.  (Not all the frozen ones had funny yolks...just a few.)

I'll have to research it a bit to see if we should go ahead and scramble those ones up.  I do know that eggs freeze well when you crack them into ice cube trays.  I've done that with eggs that we've blown out and haven't used right away.  I've also heard it's a handy thing when a recipe calls for 10 egg whites (like an amazing angel food cake) and you don't want to throw away 10 egg yolks.  Just throw those yolks in an ice cube tray, and sprinkle a bit of sugar or salt on top (depending on their intended future use).  Some recipes like cheesecake call for just the yolks.

So I need to look into what to do with the frozen-in-shell eggs.  At any rate, we've started checking the coop 2-3 times a day instead of once a day to stop the problem there. 

Our chickens never sit on their eggs after they are laid.  We got very non-broody breeds so that they wouldn't peck the kids (or us!) when we tried to take the eggs, but I'm afraid they would all make very bad mothers.

On another food related topic, I thought I'd share my favorite new breakfast:

I've been making granola from the recipe in Katie's ebook: Healthy Snacks to Go with my own tweeks.  I really need to try some of her recipes for power bars in there.  The ones Knut gets for when he's ski training are so stinkin' expensive.

We've been using it with yogurt, or I prefer just a handful throughout the day as a quick and healthy snack as I'm passing through the kitchen.  Lately, I've started pouring milk over it and eating it as cold cereal.  Seriously, Kashi has nothing on me.

I'm wondering if granola is one of my favorite foods now if I'm a card carrying hippie.  I mean, I'm breastfeeding past a year, I use cloth diapers, we raise our own eggs, I just bought a bulk bag of unbleached all-purpose flour for my breads and it was organic.  I like to birth naturally and...

yeah...Knut said my shipped sailed loooooong ago.

Anyway, if you want to know what goes into a batch of granola, here's what I do.  (As always, I at least make a double batch, but this is the recipe for the single version.)
3 cups oats
1/2 cup nuts (I use slivered almonds)
1/2 cup coconut flakes (I don't like coconut but it really works here)
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup honey
1/6 cup water
1 tsp vanilla

Of course, like I said I've tweeked it, and left out the sunflower seeds.  I like them, but Knut doesn't.  Also, I add dried cranberries to mine.  The kids like to mix their granola with yogurt and sweeten it with jam.  They don't like the cranberries messing with their jam stuff, so we keep the "generic granola" in a jar on the counter top and we each add what we like.

Katie's instructions are much more detailed, so I'll just leave you with: mix it all together put the wet with the wet and the dry with the dry, and then mix the wet and dry) and spread out on a rimmed baking sheet.  Cook at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, then stir.  Then cook it some more but stir and check on it every 5 minutes until it looks done.  With my oven it takes about 20 minutes total, but really varies on how thin I spread the granola on the pan, and how big my batch is.

I need to try her soaked granola soon.  She keeps talking about soaked grains and how nutritional they are.

Monday, January 23, 2012

I'm Blessed

My list this week will be short, not because of the lack of blessings, but because of the abundance of them (namely 4 in particular).

I'm so thankful my house is clean because of company this weekend.  I wonder if any one else's husband strategically invites company over about every 2 weeks.

I'm so blessed to know a family that just butchered their steer and did not need all the meat and "sold" me some at a "please just take this so we have room in our freezer" price.  We're going to be eating pretty good the next month or so.  We went over for a visit and had no idea we'd be coming home with a box full of roasts and ground beef (and a few steaks!)

I'm thankful for a warm fire on these cold days.

I'm thankful for snow that covers the ground.  So many people in this house have been waiting for that for so long.

I'm thankful for all the snuggles I've gotten with Solveig lately.  She got another tooth this week and has been running a small temperature.  I'm not thankful she's been feeling crummy, but there is always an upside, and the upside is I'm privileged enough to be the one she wants to snuggle.  Babies don't just pick anyone, you know.

I'm thankful for a mom who not only supports me as a mother, but loves Knut like a son.  I wish she lived closer.

I'm so blessed with a husband who gets the kids breakfast after another tough night with a baby who is waking often because of these teeth (and some recent shots).

If you want to join the "I'm Blessed" party, go ahead and leave a comment, or if you're a blogger, you can leave a link to your very own "I'm Blessed" post for us to go read.  Just be sure to put a link in your post to this blog.  It's good to share the specific ways that God has blessed us.  He knows our needs and our deepest desires and blesses us in so many unique ways.  It is good to remember and reflect on what He has done.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Teacher Notes

*Sigh* We had a good week.  Getting back into school after vacation was really tough.  I didn't say before, but one day we didn't do school because I thought it was Saturday, and didn't realize it was actually a Thursday until I was getting ready for the next day (which I thought was Sunday) and realized I was all mixed up.

I wanted to do some flower disection with Silje this week, but I couldn't seem to remember to buy some flowers when I was in town.  I'm really looking forward to that for the main reason that it will bring fresh flowers in our house.

Silje passed a huge milestone in Chinese this week.  She was extremely excited about that.  She's probably more excited about a Valentine making party I suggested we have with her little friends from homeschool group.  The party planner in her is coming out in full force.

We finished reading together A Door in the Wall which honestly is the first book we have read on our homeschooling journey that we both didn't like.  We're now onto Robin Hood and it's a bit better.  We're submerged in medieval times right now.

We're going through a huge change because this week was the first week that David was doing school work everyday.  He's in kindergarten, and we've been working pretty much when he's in the mood.  That sounds so "unschoolish" for me, but I've been waiting for him to mature a bit to handle the work.  Even so, for a kindergarten-er, he's reading fairly well, and doing 1st grade math so we've got time to wait for his maturity to catch up.

This week, though, has been amazing.  We've gotten into a great routine that fits us both and he does way more work than he needs.  He does about 4 lessons of Saxon math a day (a grade level ahead) and then I require that he does one lesson from his McGuffey reader a day. (Last fall I required he did 3 lessons a week, and I fit them to when it worked.  He's fully capable of every day now without any battles, so that's what we do.)

He's also been reading aloud to me Adventures of Little Bear which might just be his favorite book of all right now.  He is loving Little Bear and his friends so much and sometimes has to stop reading because he's laughing so hard.

Even so, he does not read on his own time like Silje does, but asks to do math pretty much all the time.  When he doesn't have a worksheet in front of him, he asks me to quiz him and I have to think of addition and subtraction problems (still in the single digits) to try to "trick him."

We've also started doing a little Bible together, just David and I.  Silje really excels in this subject, and where she excels he normally doesn't put forth any effort so I've decided to split this subject up for the time being and work with them individually instead of as a group.  I just don't want them to be competitive in this subject.

I've been trying hard to keep all the kids close.  I'm still so inspired by the woman at Raising Godly Tomatoes to keep my kids close and not push them off or try some way to occupy them away from me when I'm annoyed.  I don't think I follow anyone else's parenting plan to the letter because my own family is unique.  However, sometimes I think we younger moms need the wisdom of mothers like her who have a bit of wisdom to pass on. 

Elias has been in our classroom/dining room all the time.  It's been great because we've actually been able to devote some serious time to potty training, although I'm a bit discouraged how that's been going. 

I brought the Pack 'n' Play into the classroom/dining room so Solveig can be forced to stay with us since she's always on the move now and I don't like her disassembling the bookshelves as often as she likes to do.  Actually, she's started listening so much lately it's been fun.  We've been doing a lot of "games" together where I tell her "no" when she is out of the Pack 'n' Play and walking near something I don't want her to touch like the dictionary.  She'll smile and step back, and wait for me to say with a smile "now come here!" and she walks to me in the fastest pace she can muster. 

I can tell she's really sensitive because even when I tell her "no" I have to do it in a sweet voice.  If there is any firmness in my tone at all she bursts into tears and comes to me for a hug.  She'll obey the sweet voice, so we'll stick with that for now.  I prefer that anyway.  We know not all of my kids are like that...

So that's what our school has looked like this week.  Today we're going to go in search of some skiing and friends, and may bring some school along. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Warm Project

Since Knut finished the fireplace mantel this winter, I've been having fun decorating.  I'm still playing around with it, so it might change often while I find my favorite ways to do it.  I thought I'd show you a picture of how it was for Christmas:

I found on Pintrest some chalk boards as decoration on a mantle, and then remembered there was some old slate boards salvaged from an old one room school house around here and left in the summer kitchen before we moved here.  Knut got one of them cut down to fit nicely, and it's my backdrop for decorating. 

I am SO in love with the slate board.  It's so easy to write on compared to a modern chalk board, and the fact it's a salvaged antique just makes me love it even more. 

The window is one I got at a garage sale about 3 years ago for $2.  Knut rolled his eyes when I brought it home but he really likes it here.  I got a little wreath to hang from the knob on there, but the red was too strong and clashes with all the other reds in the room, so I am looking for a replacement for it. 

Last night I finally erased the Christmas message, and have started work on a new board:
I think we may try to get our Christmas things down today.  I'll have to figure out something new for the mantel.  For now I'm putting up new writing, and on this cold, cold day (-20 F air temp!  Yikes!) I'm going to draw a little snow flake, step back so my pants don't set on fire, wait until I get cold again, and brave the extreme hot for a few minutes more.  (It's heavy slate, and not something I'll brave taking down and moving away from the fire to draw on.)

It's a wonderfully warm job for such a cold day.  I'm thinking of moving off the Christmas-y things and moving over some more snowmen things, maybe some silver candlesticks.  The wreath needs to go in a different room, and I'm on the lookout for a new mini wreath.  Shopping will be for another day, though.  That is not a warm project.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Yarn Along

Coming in a little late, this is me joining Ginny's Yarn Along party.  I love knitting and reading, and it's not hard to write about either of those 2 things that I love.

This week for reading I'm going through my new copy of Joy of Cooking.  With my resolution to make a new recipe a week, I thought I'd need some help.  I wish I would have seen this cookbook earlier in my homemaking career because it is about 50 cookbooks in one.  I don't need a separate canning cookbook, or freezer guide, or so many other things.  I think this book will keep me busy for the next 30 years or so.

I'm actually making notes of recipes to try first and am filling a notebook full of ideas.  Knut is so excited.

As for knitting, I'm currently working on this sleeve for a cardigan for me.  It's one of my own designs, and I'm debating at this point if I have given myself enough ease.  It seems to be a problem when I knit for myself, and I want this one to be really cozy.

So far I really love how the color pattern is working out, and plan to stay with that!  It is puckering a little more than I would like, but I think it will block out quite nicely...I hope.

Monday, January 16, 2012

I'm Blessed

I'm so blessed.  This week I've been loving the time at home.  This little girl has been wearing me out a bit, but that's what happens when little ones grow up.  They grow into moving little ones, and not sleeping during the day as much little ones.  She worked on 2 molars over Christmas, and I believe 2 more are working their way through now, hence a stuffy nose to boot.

But she completely wins my heart about every moment of every day.  Earlier this week she woke up (after a full night sleep!  Yeah!) around 6am (not-so-much yeah!) and so I brought her back to our bed in hopes that she would coo quietly as I just rested my eyes for a few more minutes.  She was so hyper, though, and just crawled between Knut and I giving us each big slobbery kisses.

She's really into giving us kisses lately.  She means it too.  She'll grab your neck, or hair by your neck and pull you in for a good face to face press with her mouth wide open. 

Anyway, it was dark and she sort of missed my face one time and we hit heads and I yelped "Ouch!" and she thought that was funny and tried the sound of that funny word, "aaaa-ch."  We laughed at the clarity of it, and she's been saying "Aaa-ch" all day ever since.

I'm so blessed.

I'm so blessed by David who has been just a gem lately, especially with Elias.  (Not only that, but he just begs to wear a tie every Sunday.  We give in sometimes.  He doesn't have a lot of shirts that go well with ties.)  Anyway, he's been playing with Elias all the time and has been so patient with him.  It's nice when the fighting is at a lull and the play time is long.

I'm also blessed by this guy.

He's had a bit of a cold but his whining has gone WAAAAAYYYY down this last week.  I've been trying really hard to get down eye to eye with him.  It's a bit of a leg workout, but I'm finding that his whining comes to a halt when I do this, and I think he was just worried that we weren't hearing him (even though we talked back to him always, and answered him always.)  It's like when I get down to his level, he feels like we heard him wholeheartedly, and then he does what we say (even if it's the opposite of what he wants) without any fuss.
Elias: "More cookies!"
Me: "Elias, that was your last one.  You may not have any more cookies."
Elias: "COOKIES!!!"
Me (getting down to his eye level): "Elias, I said you may not have any more cookies."
Elias: "OK, Mommy."

It's never worked like that with my other kids.  Goes to show each one is different.  It's nice to finally skip the other methods of discipline, and he's even using his pleases and thank yous more.

I'm so blessed to have found something that works...for now.  And I bet I'm getting some sort of leg workout thrown in.

Then there's my Silje.  This girl has been hiding herself lately in books more than usual.  I snuck up on her for this picture.  She was that focused.  She's been having a tough time lately with listening, and Knut and I have had several conversations about how to soften her heart.  I worry when I see her harden herself towards us, or to her siblings.

So this weekend Knut and I worked out for Silje and I to have some special 1 on 1 time together.  Silje and I had cookies and tea (she loves tea parties) and talked about all that was on her mind.  I don't think it was anything huge, but she seemed stuck in an attitude funk. (Don't we all get like that?)  We talked.  I gave her a project to work on that she's really excited about and has stopped moping around.

I'm so blessed to be able to disciple her.  I can't think of a better word for our relationship sometimes.


Lastly, for my hubby.  If I ever submit him for a "sexiest-man-of-the-year" contest, this might be the photo I submit:
Seriously people.  I'm so stinkin' blessed.  I love this man so much.  O, does he ever put up with me and lifts me up when I feel like I'm drowning sometimes.  I don't see this sight often, but when he is home and is able, he does take a crabby baby or a chore that normally is on my list. I know he's saying "I love you."  I may just print this off and put it by our old love letters from college.  When I'm annoyed with him I'll take it out and look at it to remind myself that he does help out, and he's really not so bad.

Thank you, Jesus, for letting me live with these sweet people.  I'm so blessed.

If you want to share how God has blessed you, either leave a comment, or if you blog, leave a blog link to your blog post about blessings.  Just be sure to have a link to this blog in your post.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Teacher Notes

We're back at school this week in full force.  It's been an adjustment, but truly not as difficult as I anticipated.  The kids were more excited than I was, in fact.  Silje is now totally immersed in her reading again.  I need to get on top of some craft activities for her.  We've resumed doing our read aloud books after the other kids have gone to bed, and I've added to that our history reading.  It's just so much easier to get through the couch reading when the little ones are in bed.

Solveig is trying to convince me she only needs one nap a day, so our normal afternoons of getting some history reading done is a little tricky these days.
 David has really surprised me with his creativity this last week.  One morning when his basic reading was done, he made Elias and himself these pirate hats based off of our art book that he was looking through.  He did it all himself without any prodding or help from me. 

He's normally not one to pick up paper and scissors (although he is a fan of tape...).  They found themselves swords and started pirating the whole house (which mostly consisted of running and occasionally stopping to say "Argh!!"  O, and they also built a pirate ship out of couch cushions in the basement and sailed to many far off places.)
 I'm really trying to catch up in our grammar program.  Shurley English in my opinion is very detailed and advanced.  It's why we love it.  I didn't learn half the stuff in there until college, and some trains of thought might even think this type of grammar is not necessary until you are passed elementary.  Still, we like it and continue to use it.  I have been frustrated with it lately, though, and that is the main reason we are behind.  I find myself saying (accidentally out loud) "Uh...that's stupid."

You see, there are some grammar rules that are hard and fast grammar rules.  They are universal.  A noun is a noun, a verb is a verb.  This program has a few rules that are there for organizational reasons and they are actually not very helpful.  So after trying to get Silje to understand what they were saying I have started to tell her to skip those parts.  That has opened up a whole can of worms because now she has started asking a little too much: "Do I have to do this part?  Can I skip this part?"  So I'm trying to be clear.

We're moving into multiplication in math which she was very intimidated by, but was pleasantly surprised she has no trouble understanding. 

Choir has started, piano lessons have resumed, and homeschool group starts next Tuesday.  Knut is teaching gym this month and so I'm anxious to see what he comes up with.  I don't at all feel caught up yet personally from our break, but doing school each day has been a welcome routine...even if the suitcases are still out.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Laundry

You may remember awhile back (7 months to be precise) I wrote about how I was going to try making my own laundry detergent.  Well, I made it 7 months ago, but I've only been using it for 6 months as I was using up other detergents I had in the house.

I thought I'd write a bit on how that went.  First, my clothes were noticeably brighter with the first wash.  It actually made me blink with shock.  Second, my diapers instantly started not working as well.  They came out soft and clean, but I started getting leaking and smelling issues.

I looked a bit online and saw that others had some issues with this as well, and some did not.  The general consensus is that the Fels Naptha is the evil ingredient "clogging" my diapers so they didn't work so well.  I read (although I did not confirm) that is because it is petroleum based, and petroleum clogs diapers.

I first fixed my diapers by boiling them to strip them, and then for regular laundering, I tried to counteract the residue that the Fels Naptha in my detergent left by adding a "glug" of vinegar to the fabric softener section of my washer.  This fixed the problem and I haven't had an issue since.

Still, it was annoying to have to add the vinegar to every load, as that is something I had only done occasionally in the past, as vinegar is great for making diapers or washcloths work better and is really the only fabric softener that I use.

I talked with my friend Melissa who also makes her own detergent and also cloth diapers.  She pointed me in the direction of substituting Goat Milk Laundry Soap for the Fels Naptha in my recipe.  She said it made an enormous difference in her detergent and is not petroleum based and does not leave any residue.

So I ordered some of the laundry bar soap, and just this week I whipped up another double batch that will easily see our family through until this summer sometime.  I've modified the recipe I used and changed pints/quarts for cups because I measure pretty much everything in cups.  My own instructions based off of my own experience are included:

This is for a single batch for a 2 gallon bucket.  I double this and fill a 5 gallon bucket and not fill it to the top.

6 cups of water (the more I think about this, you wouldn't have to use 6 cups when doubling.  It made my pot too full.)
1/3 bar (2/3 cup grated) of Goat Milk Soap
1/2 cup of washing soda (NOT to be confused with baking soda)
1/2 cup of Borax
4 cups of hot water
Lots more hot water

Grate up the Goat Milk Soap (it grates beautifully) and put with the 6 cups of water in your pot and heat on the stove until boiling.  Add the soda and Borax and stir until it seems completely dissolved.

(Note: if you are like me and you are using an OPEN box of washing soda left over from the previous detergent batch and you happen to have stored it in a humid room or climate, it may have solidified into a big block and need to be chipped to get it out.  If this happens and you pick something like metal tongs to help you chip, be sure to chip away from your face.  If you chip while you're looking in the box, the powder can easily fly up into your eyes.  If this happens you'll likely have to run to the sink and run cold water over your eyes.  While you enjoy that simultaneous feeling of burning eyes and freezing water, you may remember that you have a little eye wash in the first aid drawer upstairs.  

Note: if you do run upstairs to get the eye wash, be sure to turn the stove off first.  If you do not, the soap boiling on the stove could easily boil over all over your theoretical glass top stove.  When the stove top has cooled and you are cleaning up this mess, the cooled soap mixture looks like long strings of clear snot and it's pretty gross.  So don't do that.  Just sayin'.)

Pour the 4 cups of hot water in your bucket.  Then add the mixture in your pot into the bucket.  Then bring the bucket to the sink and fill it with hot water.  Cover and let it sit for 24 hours before using it.

Use 1/2 cup per wash.  It will look gloppy.  It will work great.  I use a front loader HE and love it.  If I had a top loader I'd probably use some dry powdered mix recipe online as those are even more simple.  My washer isn't a fan of the dry detergent, though.

Here is an update on laundry cost comparison:

Previous cost of store bought detergent.  Cost per month: about $12 worth x 6 months= $72. (roughly)

First double batch of homemade detergent...lasted 6 months=
1 Fels Naptha bar soap: $.97
1 box of washing soda: $2.77
1 box of borax: $2.98
Total: $6.72

Second batch of homemade detergent=
1 bar of Goat Milk Soap: $7.50
soda left from previous batch: free
borax left from previous batch: free
Total: $7.50

(I still have enough soda and borax for about 2 more double batches...at least.)

Savings for 20 minutes of work every 6 months: approximately $65.  (Well, it may be an hour's work if you didn't follow my instructions and have to spend time washing out your eyes and cleaning your stove.  Learn from me, people, or it's all in vain.) Notice that the Goat Milk laundry soap is more expensive than the Fels Naptha.  However with the money that I'm saving, I think it's worth the luxury.

Next math problem is how much chocolate can I buy with the money I saved...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Yarn Along


It's Wednesday, and that means knitting and reading with Ginny.  This week I finished, or almost finished a few projects for myself.  I finished a hat that I've been aching to make since I saw the pattern over a year ago.  I started on New Year's Eve at my parents house and sadly ran out of yarn while I was there.  I was certain that there would be enough of the red leftover from another project, but sadly I had to go back to the yarn store and buy yet another skein.  Really it's not all that sad.

I made great progress with my hopsalot slippers.  I wanted to get the felting done at my mom's just in case I had to use her washer as mine is a front loader.  The pattern says to hand felt it, and various project notes said that they threw them in the machine and they ended up felting way too small.  I ended up throwing them in the washer not once, not twice, but three times before I felt they were felted to the right size.

They are supposed to be bunny slippers, and I just need to get the ears and face done.  It's starting to dawn on me that I will have to take them off in order for that to happen and I've been literally living in these since they have gotten done thus far.  They are without a doubt the most comfortable slippers I have ever worn and I will probably make them 2 pairs at a time in the future when these ones wear out.

There are a few other projects that I finished for Christmas and haven't had a chance to share about them yet.  Solveig just woke up, though.  So it might have to be another day.

Real quick, my reading didn't make it into the picture, but I've been reading through Streams in the Desert again, and it is all new to me all over again.  This is my 3rd time through this devotional and it speaks to me just as much this time as it did previously.  This might just be my favorite all time devotional.  So well done.

It's All Okay

I seem to always find myself prepping the family for the next season.  For instance, when we went down to Arizona for Christmas, it involved an awful lot of preparation on my part.  From getting the house clean, and picking out clothes for everyone to bring down, planning out how the road trip would go and distractions to have for the kids when they were tired of sitting in the car.

My mind is always reeling for how our family will handle the next thing on our plate.  In this season where we're still recovering from the holiday season, I'm keenly aware that the ski season is (sort of) upon us.

I say sort of because we have no snow, and none in the forecast either.  This concerns me because Knut is supposed to be training for his Birkie race in Wisconsin right now.  It's a little tricky to train without snow.  There are things to do, but they are not nearly as exciting to do as ski.

With the trying to find ways for Knut to have time to train, the question of Solveig has still been weighing on me.  The plan is to have her weaned and stay home with the other kids while Knut and I travel up to Wisconsin for the big race for the weekend. 

I've weaned kids before, and I haven't ever had much trouble with it.  It's not just the nursing that's on my mind.  Solveig has been waking up at night now for months.  She just got 2 new molars and during that time she woke up about 3 times a night, and that was when she had Tylenol even.  Now that those teeth are in, she's reduced that to waking up once a night just for the snuggle factor.

Here's the thing.  I don't mind getting up with her.  Getting up at night used to be such a big deal for me.  I need my sleep.  However, getting up with her at night has just become a routine.  Sometimes I take her back to bed with me, but since I don't sleep well that way, I've started enforcing the "go back to bed" system I did with the other kids.  They're allowed to come back to my bed after 4am, and then after a few weeks, after 5 am, and then after a few more weeks, 6am. 

Solveig is at the 5am point.  Anytime after 5am she can snuggle with me in bed.  Anytime before I sit up in a chair and nurse her and then lay her back in her own bed.

In all reality, breastfeeding is the ONLY thing she wants at that time of night.  Believe me, I've tried other things but that is the quick fix.  She's 13 months old now, and I've never nursed a baby this long.  I was planning on being done, and I've only begun the weaning battle.

That's the thing.  I see it as a battle right now because she's fighting me on it.  I have a plan to make this trip to the Birkie with Knut and Solveig is clinging to breastfeeding with all her might.

The "bad" thing is I don't mind.  I don't mind still breastfeeding her.  When you have big kids swarming all around you, it's nice to have a quiet moment with the littlest one.  I don't mind getting up with her at night.  The house is so still and her snuggles touch my heart and renew me for the next day.

I've begun to wonder if this is a battle that is worth fighting.

There are some battles that I will always fight with my kids.  I've learned that my 'yes' must be 'yes' and my 'no' must be 'no'.  That means if I say clean your room, I will fight them to clean it.  That means if it is a matter of obedience, I will fight for them to understand that we are looking out for their best and our words may be trusted. 

Obedience is important to me.  Trust is important too.  In my mind, those meet an essential need with my kids for consistency in their life and knowing what to expect.  If I say "do this" and they can whine and I say "never mind" they know that my words are easily swayed.

I don't mean tyrannical rule.  I get down to their level and try to hear their heart in the best way they can manage to communicate it with their words.  We talk about the "why" we do things.  But there are only 2 adults making decisions in this house.

There are some parenting fights that are important to me because of my personal preference and have nothing to do with "moral parenting" as I see it.  For instance, I'm a bedtime nazi (as Knut calls me).  Bedtime is at 8 and that means that at 8pm I am walking downstairs with everyone tucked quietly in their bed. 

I'm also a stickler on table manners.  We do lots of pleases and thank yous and taking your plate to the counter when you're done.  Cups go in a certain spot, and so do forks.  When at all possible at big group events, we let the elderly go through first unless the group insists upon the kids going first.  We wait to be served, and we say thank you and not complain even if it's not your favorite. 

I know some very godly families that have no bedtimes for their kids and just snuggle with them all night.  That is just fine and nothing wrong with that. 
What I mean to say is that I pick battles with my kids based on 2 criteria: it is morally right, and it is my personal preference (aka need for sanity).

As I was considering my preparation for the Birkie trip and Solveig's eating/sleeping issue I considered whether or not it was something that should be done, or something that I want done. 

I then realized it didn't fit into either category.  It's not more moral to wean her, and I plain don't want to.  At that point, my only concern was what Knut would think of it, as it effects him too.

The more I thought about it, the more I tried to figure out some alternatives.  Should I stay home from the trip this year?  It's really not a big couple weekend.  It's Knut stressing over how to wax his skis the night before, and then debating which layers to wear for the race that will allow him to be warm without being too warm.  After the race he's thrilled but exhausted.  My only purpose there is moral support and his aunt and uncle (who we stay with) could easily support him in that way.

I knew he needed me at the finish line, though.  I thought of him at the finish line last year on how he needed to lean on me to get to the soup tent and was literally shaking all over with frostbite on his nose and snowy frost extending his goatee by 3 inches.

I couldn't get past that finish line problem.  He needed me there for that part, there was no doubt.

So that left two options: force Solveig to wean and hope that will solve her sleep issues as well.  Perhaps let her cry more, even though that wakes the other kids and makes for a generally crabby household all around.  Or I could bring her with.  She's more mobile now, and this is supposed to be our kid-free weekend.  She came last year because she was only a tiny baby and made no fuss anyway.

So tentatively I asked Knut last night if it would be okay if we brought Solveig along.  Not only do I feel like the buck stops with him when it comes to parenting decisions as I see him as the head of our house, but I feel like in general it is both of our jobs to keep the other one from making stupid decisions.  He casually looked up and said "weaning not going so well?"

"Well, no.  But it's not just that.  She's getting up at night and I don't think it's fair to ask your parents to get up with her that often.  I don't mind doing it, but I feel uncomfortable leaving her when she hasn't slept through the night in a few months.  I've tried cutting out a feeding with her, but whenever I cut one out during the day, she adds two more back in at night.  I've tried shortening the feedings, as worked well with David.  She won't have it and screams in hysteria if I take her latch off too early and then she won't be soothed.  I mean, if we decide I need to do it, I can.  It will be a lot of tired arms and a lot of screaming and a lot of lack of sleep for a few weeks, but we can do it.  I just am really wondering if it's worth the fight at this point."

Without skipping a beat he said "Sounds good to me."

"You mean you don't mind me bringing her along?"

"It sounds logical to me.  Solveig is so easy to please.  She's not a tough baby and asks for so little.  It seems silly to take away the one thing she asks for when it makes the whole family run more smoothly and you don't mind."

You see, it would be an issue if what she wanted was bad for her, or bad for me, or bad for someone else in our family.  The fact that no one minds makes it silly to turn it into a battle.

So that decided that.  She may still wean before the trip and be able to stay.  She may start sleeping better now that her molars are in and our family isn't running places as much, at least for a little while.

But it's okay if things stay as they are right now.  It's okay with him.  It's okay with me.  It's okay with her.

And that just washes the stress right off me about the whole thing.  It's all okay.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Family Pictures

This year before Christmas, Knut and I had the honor of our friend Sara to come out and take pictures of our family.  The last time we had professional pictures taken of us, we only had 2 kids and it was done for $9.99 with a coupon at JC Penny and Silje is the only one who looks cute.  I thought I'd have her take some of each of the kids and save me a trip to get their yearly pictures done too.

We were planning on doing most of them outside, but due to my late-in-the-year-planning, and a strong South wind in our yard that morning, that was just not possible.  The wind would have blown us down, so we headed over to Knut's parent's house which boasted great lighting. 


In addition to our bit of venue change, the kids weren't exactly at their best that day.  It wasn't that they were all being bad, it's that they were taking turns being naughty and I was beginning to believe that we'd never get one of us all together that was anywhere near halfway decent.

We did our best and she said she would send us the pictures in the mail within 2 weeks.  The package arrived right on time, but since we left for Arizona a day early, we just missed seeing them.  So Knut's parents (who were looking after our house) sent the package down after us in Arizona so we could share them with our family down there. 

Ironically enough, the package arrived in Arizona the day after we left to go home. 

So after my mom got to go through them and pick out the ones she wanted, she sent them back up to me, and I finally get to share them with you.  Sara got so many more great pictures that day than I ever thought possible.  With Silje over-posing, David biting his lip and limping through each picture, Elias giving his whiny face, and Solveig...well every picture of Solveig turned out.  She was just delighted over the whole thing that day.  Anyway, it turned out great.

I got a little note from Sara saying she'd like to give us a complimentary reign check on our outdoor farm pictures this Spring since we didn't get to get many outside ones.  Sweet!!!




At some point we stopped trying to get the perfect picture and Sara came up with this one, which just might be my favorite.

Well, we did try to get a handful by going to the North side of our woods where the wind wasn't so bad, but the kids were pretty done then.  Really done.

This is just a taste of the pictures.  Oooo, this is going to be a fun naptime today going  through them all.