Thursday, May 31, 2012

New Chicks on the Block

Last night we went to a neighbor's house to pick up some chicks.  The opportunity to pick up some new ones simply fell into our laps, and they were free.  Since we've been having a run of going down on our chicken numbers, we thought we'd take our neighbors up on their offer.  They had heard of our coyote attacks, and hand wanted to help us out.

They let their chickens roam free around their yard as well.  They don't have a coop, though.  The chickens just find their place among the other animals in their barn.  They don't feed them.  The chickens simply pick up the scraps that the horses and cows leave behind.  They wanted a rooster, and that's where the "problem" started.  They got a big, black rooster and named him "Obama."  Well, Obama got to work, and now every hen in the place is either sitting on a big nest of eggs somewhere around the farm, or has 11 or 12 little chicks running around underneath the hen.  They estimate their chicken count is somewhere over a hundred now, but they're not quite sure.  The reproducing is getting kind of crazy, and they were eager to hand us over as many as we wanted.  We settled on "10."

Collecting them was a group activity.  I stood by our dog kennel with Solveig who was a little unsure of this whole process.  Lena donated her crate for the transport of the chicks.  Then our neighbors and Knut and the 3 older kids climbed over straw bales, and moved around rakes and tried to catch as many chicks as they could.  Actually, with the kids around it didn't take long at all.  Our neighbors were impressed with their ability to catch chickens so easily.

The offered to give us a mother hen as well, so that the chicks could run free around our farm as well without much oversight on our part.  Knut and I debated about that.  I wasn't sure how the mother and our hens would get along, and I worried for the safety of our chicks around our larger hens with no experience with young.  Knut said he had no idea what would happen if we just threw a new adult bird and 10 little chicks into the coop.

In the end, we left with no mother hen, and just the 10 chicks.  We're keeping them down in the barn, contained in a horses' watering trough.  The heat lamp is up, and Silje already checked on their food and water supply this morning.

The chicks are at the "ugly teenage" stage as I call it.  Their down is falling off, and feathers are gradually filling in.  They're all black, as they're all the daughters of "Obama" although the breed of their mothers are unknown, but my guess is various colors of Americaunas.  I'll have to look up a picture of Obama the Rooster on the internet, and see if I can get a good guess at his breed.

I should take some pictures in our dark barn of them under the heating lamp, but I haven't yet.  Honestly, they have some work to do.  They show signs of "wildness" in my opinion.  What I mean by that is I've found that with many of our local friends who have chickens don't handle them a lot, and the birds pick on each other so much.  They peck out each other's feathers and get sores.

Do you remember our friend who accidentally gave us 3 of his roosters, and he had 3 of our hens, so after they were a few months old we got around to switching them back?  His chicks were handled maybe once a week, and all of them were missing their neck feathers.  This was a great animal guy too, and he tried to work on them, but he had an overcrowded coop.  We got them all tamed again, except Princess got the brunt of the bullying, and we had to take some extra steps helping her along.

Well, all of these chicks have missing neck feathers.  Upon closer examination, Silje said "ew...what's wrong with them?"  Now, I am in no way saying that it's abnormal for this to happen, or it's the fault of the owner, because that's not true.  This happens all the time, and I would go further and say it happens most of the time when you have a huge group of chickens together.  I just like my chickens with all their feathers so we work with them.  We hold them a lot, and feed them from our hand as much as we can.

We'll probably have to get out the vinegar again, and douse a few chickens who can't seem to get out from under the bullying.  My goal is to get this brood of chicks in tip top shape before we introduce them to the coop girls.  Chickens hate seeing any weakness, and will attack it with such hatred.  I can't let these little chicks meet the big girls without all their feathers.  I'm afraid it would be a disaster. 

In the mean time, the barn is the cool place to hang out these days.  Those 10 chicks only have to share it with broken snowmobiles, some horse stuff and a lawn mower.

Sorry no pictures yet.  I'll get on that...I promise!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Moving On

Yesterday we woke up with no internet.  So I didn't get to post my "I'm Blessed" for Monday, and I apologize for that.  It felt weird not having that contact with the outside world.  On a frustrating note, I had to print of some contracts to sign and get ready for shipping out with my sweater for the magazine.  Plus, Knut had arranged for me to have a very quiet morning to finish the grading of the pattern.  Unfortunately, several of my notes and charts I stored online...due to my computer being on its last leg...and I had no access to them on a day that was open for me to finish up my work.  So it kinda felt like a wasted day.  It was incredibly relaxing, though, so it can't be that wasted.

Out in the country, we don't have a lot of options for internet providers.  When it goes out, we have to call our neighbors to see if we're the only ones who have the problem.  Once we see we're not the only ones, then we can call the company of laid back guys, who get to it when they get to it.  Normally it's just a few hours before they come out and do a quick 5 minute fix.  Yesterday was Memorial Day, though, so they had some plans that prevented them from fixing it.

I have to admit, I was half annoyed that they felt that they didn't need to fix the internet because it was a holiday.  After all, this was my last day to work on my project, and I only needed one little hour to do it.  I didn't even have the option of going to the library to get the internet.  I felt really left in a lurch.  On the other hand, I think it's really neat that they took Memorial Day seriously....although the annoyed person in me thinks they just had a fishing trip on the calender, and not Memorial Day.  I have nothing to back that up but attitude.

So this morning, I'm packing everything up, and bringing it to the post office.  It's really hard sending off this sweater.  I've gotten quite attached to it, and wish I could follow it to the photo shoot to see how it does, and adjust it here and there if I don't like how it lays.  I guess that's just the control freak in me.  I'm sure they're going to make it look fabulous, though.  You know...being professionals and all.  ;)
I'm sneaking you a peek of the package.  I'm so in love with it.  It turned out exactly how I planned it too, and that doesn't always happen.  Everything went perfectly, and it is exactly as I had envisioned.  Well, they switched colors on me, but how can I argue with the amazing color they picked out?  I love it!  I'll give you a better view when it's actually published.

I have butterflies in my stomach.  I hope they like it as much as I do.  Now off to the post office where I say goodbye. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Funny Kid

I was making rhubarb bread the other day because I was feeling a quick burst of domesticity that has been lacking in past weeks.  I decided to seize the moment and grab some rhubarb from our overgrown patch across the road.  I picked way too much, as always.  The leftover lay on the table while I worked.  Sometimes when Knut comes home from work he grabs the leftover stocks and the slop and brings them out to the compost pile for me.  I've stopped putting the leftover in my freezer, and learned that I never use it in the winter and it just gets frost bitten in my freezer over years.  I prefer to use the winter months to perfect more chocolate dessert pursuits. 

This little girl has been climbing.
She's become fast, and stealth-like.  In a matter of a few silent seconds, she will have left your side, climbed to the center of the kitchen table and be sitting on her haunches, dumping out cups of water one by one.

On this day, she discovered rhubarb.

Knut likes this picture because it shows how most of us feel should we try rhubarb in it's tart-raw form.  I don't like it because her face had this expression just long enough for me to snap the picture.  The rest of the time she looked content and unassuming.

She tries all food, and has never turned one down.  She loves diverse flavors, from spicy to sour.  Ironically, she was my first child who I never fed from a jar or forced food into her mouth with a baby spoon.  I just fed her off my plate when she reached for it.  Some have some sort of fancy name for that type of parenting technique.  I just called it "busy" and didn't know it was a "technique" until after the fact.

Have I posted the story of how she learned to climb stairs?  We don't have gates on our stairs for a variety of reasons.  Mostly, I feel they are dangerous for my older kids as they easily trip over them and have a tough time opening and shutting them.  I've thought of the latch swing kind, but my kids already don't shut doors or shut of lights (or at least forget often enough).  I figure it's worse to assume it's safe, and have an untrained child AND an open gate.  It sounded like a haunting fear in the back and one more thing to yell at my kids in reminder.

Knut and I have often been of the idea to house-train the child, not child-proof the house.  That's just our style, not hard-holding religious beliefs.  We believe in telling our kids "no" at a very early age.  Solveig has been one of the best so far at listening.  Of course cleaning things are not low...but we clean mostly with Norwex cloths or vinegar and water now, so it's not like we have a lot of toxic things available.  We've always tried to keep a child close and not out of site and gradually teach them what to touch and not touch. We'll use a pack 'n play and let a little one watch us work, though they usually prefer being in a high chair so they can be high up and see what I'm doing in the kitchen.   I will admit, after Elias came, we started child proofing a tad more.  (I put a gate up to my sewing/laundry room with no door because he kept going in there and destroying it.) A few additional steps have been made with Solveig, but not many.

For the most part, Solveig stayed far away from stairs, and it was never a battle to keep her away.  One day when we were playing in the playroom in the basement, she decided to climb up the stairs.  I was right there watching her, and realized that I now had to spend some time teaching her about stairs.  The hardest part is teaching them to go down stairs.  We teach our kids to start out by going doing feet first on their tummies.

Life got hectic, so I tried to keep Solveig close, and kept her in the pack 'n play in the kitchen more often until I had a chance to teach her.  About 3 days after my thought that "I need to teach Solveig about stairs" I witnessed her approach the stairs to the playroom, turn around, lay down on her belly, and slowly back towards the stairs feet first.

Amazed, I asked her: "Solveig!  Where did you learn to go down on your tummy?  You already look like a pro!"

Silje was nearby and said simply.  "O, I taught her how to do it yesterday.  She loves it.  It was fun."

I was 50% proud of Silje, and 50% ashamed of myself for not knowing what was going on, and somehow not doing my job well enough that my nearly 8 year old has to pick up the trail of unfinished things behind me.  We mothers can find guilt in all things...even proud moments.  In my head I was excited that one of my older kids saw a need and filled it without being asked.  That's a DREAM moment that I will treasure.  There's just a part of me that wishes that I weren't the kind of mom that left "needs" for my kids to do.  I suppose it's one of those situations where God takes our weaknesses and uses them for His good.

At any rate, she runs up and down the stairs like a champ...but she's quiet.  We've already started search parties for her around the house twice.  30 seconds is ample opportunity for mischief with this one.  This week I bought our 2nd baby gate ever.  Like Elias liked to dump out all of my diaper snaps and play with them, Solveig likes to go in Knut's office and empty the file cabinets into a big fun pile.

I don't remember the other kids being this quiet, or finding them on top of tables and opening file cabinets.  None of them have ever chomped on raw rhubarb for 15 minutes.  She's a funny kid.  I love her so much.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Law - A Devotional

When talking with fellow Christians, and dealing in my own life, I think understanding God's law and it's purpose can be the most confusing.  It's not just what God asks of us, but WHY God asks it of us.  If we are not saved by works, but through faith in Jesus Christ, than does the law even have a purpose?

I grew up, and have remained an evangelical Lutheran.  Lutherans are big into the "Law and Gospel" when it comes to theology.  Growing up, I had it divided into the "bad and good" parts of the Bible, at least mentally.  The law was bad, and I did not like the law.  The gospel saved me, and I liked the gospel.  Now, I'm pretty sure that is not what my church taught, but it's how I interpreted that teaching.

As I've grown older, I've come to love the law.  I'm so grateful God did not abolish it, but fulfilled it.  I think about it often, and I dwell on Psalms like 119 that goes on and on about how good the law is, and how good it is to meditate on it.

How can we reconcile the law and gospel?  How can the law be good when it condemns us.  Do we cling to legalism, as if it could save us?  It cannot.

As I've dwelt on this thought, I've been given a picture of the whole law/gospel situation, that I'd like to share with you.  It's more like a vision, or parable.  I don't want to put too much weight on it, as it is extra-biblical.  Like all allegories/stories, there will be holes I'm sure.  It's just a thought I've been dwelling on.

Let's imagine we are in darkness.  We are separated from God because of our sin.  Let's make this place a deep mine, under the ground.  It's so dark that we cannot see our hands.  We are utterly lost.  In this desperate state, we start to see these air shafts come to light.  Burrowed down from heaven, God created these shafts to bring us light, and hope.  Each shaft that forms gives we who are in the dark mine a glimpse of heaven...and a glimpse of God Himself.  Light floods the area of each shaft.  He calls these shafts "Law."

We peer through them, and see unattainable beauty---beauty that we've never imagined.  The jewels glimmer...the light flickers against the gold.  We see a place of no greed...

complete holiness.

We see a world and a God we are separated from.  We try to climb through the shafts, or "Laws" and stumble out.  We cannot do it.  We fall.

Some wish the Laws never came and that we'd be better off living in the darkness.  How much worse is it to see paradise, and not be able to get there?  Others try multiple shafts, trying to scale each one, in a tiring, exhausted way.

Then word comes that God in heaven sent his Son down to the mine, and made safe passage up for us.  He came down in our muddy hole, and found a way out for us.  He rescues us from our mine.  We each have an invitation in hand to go up with Him.  We now wait for our name to be called.

The wait changes things.  Now this God we have seen through these air shafts has made us a way...has given us a promise.  He's given his Word.  Do we think him a liar, and try to climb out through the air shafts again?  No.  Do the air shafts disappear?  No...God made them, and nothing can destroy them.  They remain.  He leaves them for us to study Him when we ache for heaven. 

As we wait for our name to be called...for that moment when we get to leave the mine, and breathe in the fresh air of heaven for the first time, and smell the smells, and feel sunlight all around...we wait.  We wait in faith in the one who made the promise to bring us there when the time was perfect.

What do we do during this wait?  Do we sit in a corner of the darkness?  No!  We cannot stand it anymore...especially knowing where our home is!  This news is so transforming that we run under each air shaft to see it more...see it better.  This is our future home we are seeing...this is our God.  Some sit under an air shaft, and paint what they see.  Some just sit and stare.  Others sing songs about the glory.  Heaven is on the brain, and it is evident with all who see it.  It becomes evident in behavior who has spent time looking through the laws, and who ignores them completely.

We look through the law and try to understand God better.  We know He is our Master and Savior and we just want to know Him.  We look through these light holes and study Him.  Often, we try climbing these shafts to try to just get a better view, and are reminded every time that this is not the way.  We can not forage our way up  there through our strength. 

Over time, we find our favorite laws to stand under and stare.  We form groups under each law, and some even start to declare "Our law is the most important."  "Our law has the best view."  "You can see God best through our law."  We get confused...because all of the laws God made are from Him.  Even more importantly, we should all know that our salvation is not coming through these laws, but through the passage made by Jesus Christ.

Some start to condemn the laws, saying we should ignore them until our name is called.  They only divide.  They only discourage.  They start to call these laws "evil."  They call those who live under them, "legalistic."  Which is a bit of a stretch because the proper definition of "legalistic" in this imaginary world, would describe the people with the climbing gear trying to scale the miles of shafts up to heaven.  They block the light in their efforts, and fall every time.

No, those who spend their days studying the law, and soaking in the light of the law are not legalistic.  They are simply full of hope...and they cannot get their minds off of this heaven, and this God.  While they wait for their name to be called, they want to spend every moment soaking in the rays of heaven.

I suppose what I'm trying to explain is this: God gave us the law as an image of His character.  It is His standard, and though we cannot reach Him through it, it is not evil.  It is His character...His unattainable standard.  We will live this standard in heaven where there will be no tears, no death, no sin, no selfishness...just worship.  If we hate the law, and disregard it as meaningless in a life where Christ has made the way for us...isn't that disregarding the world and God in whose presence we will enter?

My purpose in writing this is not to convict those who feel oppressed by the law.  My purpose is not to make people "more good" because that is not possible.  I do not want people to try to climb to heaven this dangerous way.  My purpose in writing is to encourage and inspire my fellow Christians that: to study the law is good.  To love the law is good.  It is full of encouragement and hope.  We as a generation should not push it aside, and wait in darkness.  The law is not the past...something old that makes no difference.  The law is our future.  It points to heaven, and the One who created the law, and called it good.

Granted, some of the laws, such as sacrifices, have been fulfilled through Christ.  Studying them as well teaches us more about God.  There will be no sacrifices in heaven.  It's part of God's story, though, and we should value it.  There are many parts of the law, and categories of the law.  It is a journey to see how each of them points to the character of God.  I fear sometimes that my own generation casts the law aside, saying it's old fashioned, and it no longer applies, and the gospel (aka New Testament to many believers, although the gospel is found just as freely in the Old as well as the New Testament) well, the gospel is the only "important" part.

I make no claims that we are saved through the law.  I will always stand behind this, though: if it comes from God, then it is good, and it should not be cast aside as meaningless.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

1st Trimester

If I had to pick 1 trimester to skip over it would be the 1st.  It's so hard.  I've been so beyond tired.  I wonder if it was really this bad with all of them, and I look back and realize: yes, yes it was.  The fatigue is unlike anything I can describe.  I don't even think extreme jet-lag would reach this far.  The nausea is constant.  Sun up to sun down.  I'm short of breath without any visible reason. This pregnancy has hit me very hard.  There's a reason you don't see my face in yesterday's picture.  My poor family has been living off of corn dogs and frozen pizza, and the weekly homemade meal from Silje.  Cooking has been very, very difficult this time around.  I'm starting to get through it.  I've started refining foods I am able to look at and smell, so it is getting better. 

We choose not to announce our pregnancy right away, but we've also realized there are some cases where we tell people early.  We found with our first pregnancy that it was very faux pas in our family circle to announce a pregnancy during the 1st trimester.  Sometimes we wait, sometimes we don't.  There's been various contributing factors.  Knut has begun "letting me" tell one or two people early so that I have someone to complain to besides him.  ;)  I normally pick someone way outside our circle so that they're not tempted to tell people.  This time we announced it at 9 weeks.  For those wondering, my due date is December 22nd.

As this is my 5th full 1st trimester, I have to say that while I cannot control so many things I've learned a few tricks to staying on top of it.

-Make time for naps.  When I don't sleep, the nausea is worse.  When I don't take the random nap throughout the morning, I can't stomach lunch. The more sleep I get, the better handle I can have on my stomach...for the most part.  It's important to remember that in the 1st trimester, your body is starting to produce a lot more blood so that it can be shared.  This also makes me feel like I am always short of breath.  Although the baby is not taking a lot of calories from me at this point, my body is working hard to make a great placenta, which is the organ the body creates just for each pregnancy that serves as the life support system for the baby.  Rest well, and let that placenta get good and strong.

-Always eat.  Normally when the nausea gets bad, I used to not eat for fear of throwing up.  I've tried to reprogram myself to see that nausea feeling as actually the "hunger pangs" of pregnancy.  It means I need to eat something.  If I can avoid feeling hungry, and avoid feeling full, then it's easier to stay on top of the nausea. 

Pick Snacks Strategically.  I try to pick snacks that are easy and full of protein.  Crackers are traditionally good, but I can't handle a lot of salt when pregnant.  For some reason it dehydrates me twice as fast as usual.  I really do well with unsalted nuts.  They keep me full enough to take away the hunger-induced-nausea, and for a decent amount of time.  I also follow the BRAT diet on bad days.  Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, and Toast.  Of course...not all at the same time.  However, these foods always settle my stomach in the 1st trimester, and renew a bit of the lost energy.  I was told about the BRAT diet by a pediatrician when one of my kids was sick with the stomach flu, and have found that it works for morning sickness too.

-Splurge on the good vitamins.  This is something new I'm trying with this pregnancy and so far I'm blown away by the difference.  In every previous pregnancy I've been anemic.  Every doctor I've ever had has prescribed an iron supplement for me on top of a prenatal vitamin that has a lot of iron as well.  My low iron levels have shown up in the form of testing, constant fatigue, and has caused excess bleeding after birth.  My iron levels barely budge with supplements.  One nurse told me during my 4th pregnancy that it should be taken with orange juice, and I should avoid milk around the time I take it.  Well, that would have been helpful information 3 pregnancies ago...

Anyway, I've learned that if I want my body to absorb any vitamins, it has to be through food.  I have to increase my iron in my diet, as no supplement has really helped with that significantly, although I will admit the orange juice did help a bit.  The supplements didn't raise my iron significantly, but having "Cream of Wheat" every morning raised it up super fast.  So based off of that history, when I was at the natural food store the other day and saw a prenatal vitamin that was all food based, I took notice.  I wondered if the difference of food based compared to "the mystery way" of the the pharmaceutical tasting vitamins would make a difference.  It was 3xs as expensive as the vitamins at Target, but I thought I'd give them a try, as it still boiled down to about $11/month, which I think is still reasonable.

It wasn't just me who noticed the immediate difference.  Knut noticed the next day after I switched out vitamins that my energy levels were better.  I take the pill at night, and the next day my fatigue is still there, but not so bad.  Before the vitamins, I was hugging the couch every morning until noon, when I decided I didn't feel any better but I'd have to suck it up and get stuff done.  We'll call that 10% of normal energy level, which is pretty normal 1st trimester for me.  After the vitamins, I'm functioning at, I would guess, 80% energy level.  I'm not my normal self, but I can actually get some stuff done. 

I'm still trying to maintain a healthy diet full, but I feel like I've got a bit of a safety ring around me with these.  For those wondering, this is the vitamin I got: Rainbow Light Prenatal One Multivitamin, and I see from linking it up to Amazon, that while I spent $33/ 90 day supply at the health food store I went to, they're only $23 /120 day supply on Amazon.  So there you go.  It's the first Prenatal vitamin I've ever taken that makes my stomach feel better, not worse.  Probably because it also contains ginger juice and probiotics.

Go to bed early and take a warm bath.  You normally don't need to argue with a woman in her 1st trimester to go to bed early.  I'm used to going to bed around 11pm or midnight.  I'm a night owl.  Except now I go to sleep sometime between 9-10pm if I can.  Sometimes my body is so tired, but I can't fall asleep that early and will lay awake for 1-2 hours.  So during the 1st trimester I often take a warm bath before bed.  I know HOT baths are not good for pregnancies, but there's nothing against VERY WARM baths.  Also, I don't stay in the bath long...just enough to settle down the brain and calm my fidgety limbs.

One friend told me she couldn't stand a second pregnancy because 9 months of cold showers was just too much to take.  I was trying to figure out why on earth she was taking cold showers, and it was because her doctor said to not take showers that were too hot or go into hot tubs and she didn't want to take any chances.  I couldn't bring myself to tell her that I had a warm bath often in my pregnancies as a way to manage nausea, and normal aches and pains.  I take a bath before I take Tylenol.  It's my pregnancy cure-all.

I suppose I do a lot of "risky" things like that.  I heard during my 3rd pregnancy that pregnant woman aren't supposed to have soft-serve ice cream, and yet I was at Dairy Queen weekly in previous pregnancies.  I'm more of a "everything in moderation" sort of pregnant lady.  I also like to think that a weekly trip to Dairy Queen in 2nd and 3rd trimesters is moderate. (I can't stand soft serve earlier than that.)

Reconcile with Suffering: Notice that all of the things I've learned have helped me manage nausea and fatigue, but don't eliminate them.  It's probably impossible to do, but I think mentally I had to reconcile to that as well.  I've learned that when my head is spinning, I can still control my thoughts and say a little prayer for my baby.  I've learned that the goal of the pregnancy, or life for that matter, is not to try to obsess about ridding yourself of all suffering but to ask God to draw you near during the suffering.  Some things can be eliminated easily, and it's good to do that.  Sometimes God doesn't let you eliminate them, and that's okay too.  Let me tell you, it can be an amazing spiritual journey.  I can hear God's voice in my heart so much more clearly when I can manage nothing besides prayer.  Prayer time feels so much more productive. When I'm forced to lay on the couch, and even sitting up makes me run for the bathroom, I lay there and start talking.  I love that part of the pregnancy, and I know I lack the discipline to pray that way and that often should I not be sick at all.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Turns Out

Turns out God has decided to use my body as His own personal knitting space...again.

Project due around Christmas

"For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  
 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well."
 Psalm 139:13-14

I'm Blessed

Well, we survived the weekend.  It was a crazy weekend; perhaps the craziest in a very long time.  Things shouldn't cease to be crazy until possibly June.  That's not that far away.  I hope we can make it.

Saturday I participated in a garage sale with some friends of mine in town.  Sunday we had Sunday School, church, church pot luck, church meeting, Silje's piano recital, and tacked on the end, a birthday party for Knut's brother.  If you notice in there, I never said the word "nap" even though we still have 2 children in the house that take them.  Most of those events required that I bring some food along too, so it put a bunch of cooking on my plate after the garage sale on Saturday.

As a homebody, I usually dislike days like that.  I like staying home and having the world leave me alone.  Unfortunately, I can't always have my way, and sometimes we have to do what is best for everyone, and not just me.  Every part of yesterday was a blessing.  Whether or not it felt like a blessing, depended largely on my attitude and control over my emotions.  I was thinking about that this morning: blessings are not defined as such based off of emotions.  They are blessings because they are from God.  Whether I enjoy them or not, often depends on how much I'm listening to God.

For starters, the kids had so much fun at Sunday School, and I got to sit and relax in the adult class instead of teach.  I normally teach the lower elementary class, but since it was the last day, the "board" did a bunch of fun games and even included little Elias and Solveig in them and they all had so much fun.  I got to enjoy some really great teaching that I normally miss during that time.  That worked out nice, since I had to be in the nursery during church.

The potluck was delicious, and meant I didn't have to drag my family home and throw a pizza in the oven, which is the normal Sunday afternoon dish.  It was so good.  There were dozens of hands that willingly helped with the kids without me even having to think of asking them.  I love that in our church there seems to be a fan club of 10-14 year old girls who follow my kids around for fun.  Now, that's a blessing.

We didn't think we'd have time for the meeting, but they started early enough that Knut and I were able to stay through the voting.  We voted to hire a youth and family ministry pastor, and it is the first time our church has added on a 2nd ministry position like that.  The man we hired is so completely perfect for the job, and it's so evident that God has been preparing not only him for this exact purpose, but the elders and budget to be prepared for such a change.  The guy we hired is so fun loving, but so very grounded at the same time.  I cannot think of a more perfect fit, and I'm so excited that God has worked this whole thing out for our church.  Huge blessing.

We made it to Silje's first ever piano recital.  She did 10 times better than any practice, and the teacher gave really detailed explanations about why each student picked each piece.  I was especially excited that one of the songs Silje had picked was in the middle of one of the books she just barely started.  Her teacher thought it might be beyond her, but allowed Silje to practice anyway just to see where it went.  Silje threw her heart into it and it sounded so pretty.

Silje made a new friend who also takes piano lessons with this same teacher.  She only lives a mile down the road, and I'm really excited to have a friend for her so close!

David had no intention of sitting through the recital.  Neither did Elias.  They were pretty much ready for naps/quiet time when the recital started, which means they were running around and being loud.  In the eleventh hour, David surprised me.  He came and sat at my feet, listened and enjoyed every song played by every student.

This morning, I was blessed to wake up with happy kids, who slept in after the exhausting day.  I got to smile when I saw Elias got his "George" slippers on all by himself before he came downstairs.  He normally carries them downstairs in his arms.
 Lastly, I'm blessed with this little girl who hasn't stopped giggling since she woke up this morning.  She's running so much that I can't seem to get a good picture of her that's not blurred.  She's just so sweet this morning, that I had to throw in one little semi-blurry one just for good measure.
She just melts me.

If you want to participate this week in sharing how God has blessed you this last week, you can leave a comment with your thoughts and/or leave a link to your own blog post on the subject.  Simply write a post, put a link to this blog within that post so people can follow you back, and then copy and paste the address to your post in the box below.  They are a joy to read, so thank you to all who share.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Random Thoughts

I have just one sleeve left on my cardigan before I send it in.  I'm very pleased with it, but I may have to ask Knut for another afternoon at the library while I finish up the writing of the pattern without distraction.  I need to get this thing in the mail soon!

They finished planting last night.  I'm so glad that phase is done, and it's always interesting to see what they do each day from here on out.  Each day has a new and different job.  I'm just hoping we get to see him in the evenings a bit more again.

Things are going to get busy this weekend.  Today we have swimming lessons, and tomorrow starts a garage sale in town that I get to be apart of.  Saturday is Silje's rehearsal for her piano recital, which is on Sunday, after a church pot luck (that has nothing to do with the recital at her aunt's house).  I need to make something for the pot luck, and treats to bring to the recital.  I need to figure out how this whole garage sale thing is going to work, and I should probably start marking my items.  I need to make sure that if I have to be in town at the sale, that Silje has a way to her rehearsal. doesn't slow down.  I think during a busy season like Spring planting, I just hold my breath until it's over, and then find out that it's still pretty busy on the other side.

Can I tell you a bit about one of our big announcements coming up that I alluded to earlier?  Knut and I have been spending some time researching where to go for our 10 year anniversary this year.  When we first got married, and the one part about our prospective farm life that worried me was that I wouldn't see much of the world anymore.  I traveled a lot, growing up (I was the daughter of a pilot) and even more when I was a teen and went on a few international mission trips.  I made Knut promise that on our "decade anniversaries" he would take me someplace that we have never gone before.  We'd go someplace just the two of us.

Our first thought was Norway, since we wanted to go there on our honeymoon, but couldn't afford it at that time.  The more we looked into it, we realized that it's really tough to go anywhere in Europe for only 1 week.  I was really stuck on 1 week, because I think the little kids in the house are a bit too little to leave for more than 1 week.  I just wouldn't be comfortable, and I doubt I'd be able to enjoy myself being separated from them that long.  So we decided to postpone Norway until the kids were a bit older.  Maybe for our 20 year.

I was thinking a cruise because neither one of us have been on one before.  We were thinking either the Caribbean or Alaska.  When we talked with our travel agent (who is another talented cousin of Knut's) Knut through out the idea last minute to look into Hawaii as well.  It didn't appeal to me at first, because I really wanted to do something international, and even an Alaskan cruise stops through Canada.

However, the more we looked into it, the more we got drawn in.  From the hotels, to the nature and history opportunities...I think we might be sold.  I think Hawaii it is.  I can't believe I'm going some place as "luxurious" as that!  Since I was the one who put the "demand" on Knut all those years ago, I was trying hard to keep the trip as inexpensive as possible, which is why a cruise was my first option.  I didn't know that Knut had some other plans, and had done some other saving to make a big deal of it this whole time.

We're not big trip people.  A normal vacation for us is piling our kids into our minivan with 195,000 miles on it and driving to see my parents.  My kids have never been to Disney, although I'm sure someday they will.  We never stay in hotels...we always stay with friends or family, and bring food in a cooler to reduce eating out costs.  This is going to be so different. 

I'm getting so excited.  One week in a fancy place with my love in Hawaii.  The only thing left to do before we book this trip is finalize what our kids will be doing.  You know...checking the dates with the grandparents might be a polite thing to do.  ;)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Winding Down

School has been winding down.  It's been winding down for awhile.  Some days we skip it all together, and some days we do half days.  It's actually been a few weeks since we've had a "full day."  I always feel the need to explain that because I have no idea who is reading this, and what sort of perspective you reader are coming from.  It always leads to some comparison saying "We never took days off during the year, when public school took time off all the time" and I'll talk about which part of the curriculum we finished, and which part I intend on doing part time through the summer.  I hate defending myself via comparison with the public schools because I believe comparing those two types of schooling is like apples and oranges, and is therefore not ever quite accurate.  I hate feeling that somehow the government has the perfect standard that I'm still comparing my children's education to.

The weather has been good, and there's been lots of playing outside.  There's been a lot of t.v. watching too, if I'm honest.  There's been lots of piano practice in preparation for next weekend's recital.  There's been a few year end parties with homeschool friends.
(used with permission from The Family Man)

Like many of my homeschooling friends, our school winded down for the summer not when the curriculum had run out, or we had reached a certain date on the calender.  School was done when I burned out.  Since then we've been on my summer plan: some school on some days, depending on our schedule.  So far, that's been working fine.

There were some subjects that we did well with this year, and there were some subjects I didn't do so well with.  I think for the most part, when things got tough, we stuck to the basics and dropped some electives.  I still feel badly that we didn't get through subjects like 'Latin' because for awhile it was just a lot to do.  I keep telling myself that there's always next year.

We didn't finish one of our history books.  We're perhaps 3/4 of the way through it.  Yesterday I ordered the audio version of it, and we can listen to it all over again this summer.  I've heard the audio version is really good.  We didn't do as many history activities as I wanted to.

So it's time for a break.  We're still going to look for opportunities to learn.  We're still going to practice piano, and there will still be about 3 math sheets per week.  I think we'll be doing some science here and there too.  Not because I feel we're behind, but I want a habit of learning with the kids.  If anything, I think Silje and David are still ahead in the comparison game, but if I'm not playing the comparison game, than it doesn't matter if they're "ahead" and I can make happen what every teacher wishes their kids would do: not back track and forget everything over the summer.

I really need to spend some time regrouping.  All of the materials for next year are assembled, and I need to start organizing my mind around all of it.  I think the transition for David from kindergarten to 1st grade is going to be significantly different.

First, I'm going to finish writing the knitting pattern due at the magazine at the end of the month.  I was hoping to have it done 2 weeks ahead of time so that I'd have time to spare.  It could be done in less than 2 days if I didn't have children, but since I do, it may get closer to that deadline.  So I'm going to work on that for awhile.  I'm just doing my bit day by day, and I'm pretty sure once I'm done all those little bits will come together beautifully.  So far the project is going according to plan, which isn't always the case.  So I need to start devoting some more time to that.  That and the garden.

We finally got the garden planted, at least seed-wise.  There's still some plants on my porch that need to be transplanted to the ground.  Silje was a huge help in getting the seeds in this year.  I think she cut my time out there by a third.  She loves being in the garden so much.

This wonderful weather has been taking Knut away from us.  I think Spring planting started right around the time I started burning out.  The kids have been going on lots of tractor rides with him this last week.  First Silje got to go, then David.  The next day, it was Elias' turn, and I wish I had a picture of his face when I told him that Daddy had chosen him to spend time on the tractor with him all morning.  It was surprise and glee, and a sigh of relief that Daddy actually remember him.  The kids have each been having a great time having that one on one time with him.  When each of them returns home, it's like their reset button has been set and the bickering goes down...for a few hours.

Monday, May 14, 2012

I'm Blessed

I'm going to join other mothers out there and say I had a great Mother's Day.  Silje and Knut got up really early and together made me homemade beignets, which I guess are French donuts.  The pastry is very much like a donut but it's square, and has no hole.  It's deep fried and then sprinkled with powdered sugar.  So yeah...really good!

I was blessed with roses, and lots of kisses.  We went to church and then Knut and I took turns getting a nap in the afternoon.  Then it was off to Knut's grandparents for the annual Mother's Day cookout.  It was a beautiful day.

I try to remind myself this morning as Knut left the house for work a little too loudly at the crack of dawn, waking up all the kids, that we're blessed he has a job.  I'm blessed to have kids.  I'm blessed to have food to feed them when they wake up.  I'm blessed it's leftover beignets.

I'm blessed the lily of the valley outside my house looks like it will be blooming today.  I've been watching it the last few weeks in anticipation.

I'm blessed to be served pretend tea on plastic dishes this morning by a precocious 17 month old who loves to serve pretend tea these days.  My eyes weren't very open, and she was wide awake.

I'm so blessed.

If you want to join in on "I'm Blessed" today, you can leave a comment saying how God has blessed you, and/or write a blog post so we can all go see it.  To arrange that,
-Write the post, and be sure to include a link to this blog.
-Copy and paste the address to your post below.  Easy Peasy.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Teacher Notes

Last night Knut came home from work around 9pm, and said he had to go straight to bed because he was due back at work at midnight.  I heard him get up then, and finally heard from him just before 9 this morning that he got to come home for a nap in an hour or so.  I'm glad at least they're able to plant.  The rain has pushed them out uncomfortably long.

Last winter I bought this package of stackable pencils.  The kids somehow found my stash, and Elias has been taking them apart and putting them back together.  Don't tell the kids, but the moment these lose interest, I'm throwing them away.  The little pieces are ending up everywhere.  For the moment, though, it's keeping Elias busy during school, so they get to stay.

Solveig has been given her own notebook to color in and she's been loving it.  It's just a cheap ruled notebook, but she likes to do school now too, so she gets to rip out pages or scribble over it as much as she wants.  She feels very important doing this.  She also likes to carry her blanket around and "make the rounds" seeing what each kid is doing.  Currently, she's pulling Elias' hair.

Silje is on her last reader of the year "Toothpaste Millionaire."  So far she's liking it.

David is improving, and learning the tough lesson that school needs to get done when he'd rather do something else.  He spends a significant amount of time each day trying to tell me that he'd rather do something else.  It's starting to sink in that he can either spend the day arguing and being punished, then doing school, doing chores, and have no time left to play.  Or he can just do his jobs in a few hours and have the whole day to play.  He doesn't like the "everyday" aspect of school, and the novelty is certainly gone.

I wouldn't say he didn't like school, though.  His interests have turned from math and onto reading as he's really getting traction in that area.  He's starting to read during his free time, and he really enjoyed our last read aloud "Gooney Bird Greene."

This week we started a new read aloud, which is one of my favorites: "Mountain Born."  Even though I personally think this is a beautiful book, I have some reservations with it.  I think the reading level is almost above what I would normally be reading to him.  Each time I've read this, I've wondered why Sonlight has put it in a core for such young kids.

Silje had a tough time with this book last year, and she was a stronger reader than David is right now.  The vocabulary is just so high.  Not only that, but it takes many chapters to really get into it.  I debated about skipping this one for now, but then I decided to push ahead.  This was for 2 reasons.  First, I really like the idea of exposing the kids to new vocabulary.  I have to read it with a lot of feeling so they can get it, but I really think it's a great way to learn vocabulary: in context.

Second, we do our read aloud as a staying-up-late privilege.  The 2 older kids get to stay up late as the "little kids" go to bed.  However, it's not a crazy time when they're awake with me.  The rules are that if they stay up late their behavior has to be pristine.  If they start running around, interrupt often, or just can't seem to sit still they have to go to bed.  I'm really strict on this because it's the time of day where I'm d.o.n.e. and my tolerance is just not there.

The chapters are not long, so far.  Maybe 6 pages.  However, it's really hard for David to sit through it, and it's a good exercise for him, because he wants to stay up late so badly.  Last night he interrupted 4 times (within about 1 minute) and I immediately sent him to bed.  (The interruptions were: "How many more pages?"  "Is it almost done?" "Is this the last page?" "How much longer?" If he would have asked about the story that would have been fine.)  He was so disappointed to go to bed, because if he does a good job for his book, I allow him to stay up even later for Silje's book.

I've learned that I have to be consistent or it all falls apart.  I have to stand by my words, or they question them even more.  I'm sure when we sit down and read it next, he'll control his tongue a bit more.  I've sent him to bed while reading twice before, and each time was followed by about a month of pristine behavior at bedtime.

David has always struggled with sitting during church as well, and we normally have to take him out at least three times as much as Elias.  Lately he's gotten better at sitting still, but every 30 seconds he asks either of us, "is it done yet?  How many more minutes?"  It's extremely distracting.

I'm sad, as always, when my kids don't like a good piece of literature, and I hate that I'm using this one as extra practice for sitting still without interrupting and an exercise in patience.  He knows he doesn't have to read it.  He can choose to go to bed at any time.  I think that lessons like this sometimes are the most important.  More than a great handle on literature, I would like my kids to have a great handle on patience and self control.  If a piece of great literature is the avenue for it this time, then so be it.  Normally the books have him so much in a trance that it's no struggle to get him to sit still.  This one is slower, and that's ok.  It requires more attention than some others.

By the way, Silje is loving going through "Mountain Born" again.  She said she didn't like it at first, but now it's one of her favorites.  She was very excited to get to sit there and listen in as I read it to her once again. 

For those wondering, Silje made "Connecticut Supper" for her meal-making-chore this week.  It's just a basic, yummy casserole.  She didn't have the ingredients for the dessert this week because she forgot to put a few things on her grocery list.  It was her first time browning ground beef and for some reason she was really nervous about it, and wanted me to check it about every other minute.  It turned out delicious.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Pardon the Small Talk

Some of you who know me, and many who don't may guess that I write as a way of processing.  It's my way of thinking and recording and documenting.  I like to be as honest as I can be because otherwise it is without purpose.  I don't think that I owe the world an explanation of my life, and I don't think it's bad to keep things to myself.  However, not sharing something that I desire to write about is very difficult.  If you can picture all the words floating around my head, it's like there's a big elephant standing right in the middle of all these words getting connected.

So imagine what it's like having multiple elephants standing in my head, and how difficult that has made writing.  One elephant is of course designing a big project that is due at a magazine at the end of the month.  I want to write about that process, and I will...just not yet.  Then there's a few elephants roaming in my family life that are really big, and I can't wait to tell you all about them, but they're hinging on making sure we've finished getting everything prepared for those announcements.  There are favors to be asked of people, and permissions to still come through etc. etc.  So I have to wait, and while I'm great at keeping other people's secrets, I'm terrible at keeping my own.

Then there's one elephant I'd love to talk about but am too chicken to.  Plain and simple.  Talking about it will put me into some sort of mothering camp, and I hate mothering camps.  Some mothers do things this way, and they sit in one camp and throw stones at the other mothers doing things a different way in the other camp.  So if you start rattling off some place, or belief you have arrived after a journey, people say, "O, you've arrived in 'This Camp'", then all the mothers know which category, or camp you belong to, and it's just annoying because I like having mom friends in all camps.  This day in age it's tricky to do because each camp only sees the genius of their own philosophy, and sees the flaws in the philosophy at all the other camps.  Sometimes I feel like keeping my mouth shut so I can walk in between camps and glean knowledge from each of them without someone thinking I'm in their camp to judge because I obviously belong in a different one.

So I sit down at the computer and my words get all jumbled up, and I wonder what in the world to write, so I write little.  I am not enjoying that because it feels like I'm making small talk with a good friend over coffee.  I'm not into small talk and have the habit of getting to deep subjects so quickly I think it makes people uncomfortable sometimes. 

All those elephants are surrounded by all these little rabbits and they go running off on their little rabbit trails, and I cannot follow any of them.  I like rabbit trails too.  They're fun.

So to follow the advice of Mrs. Dashwood in "Sense and Sensibility", if I cannot think of anything appropriate to write I should restrict my comments to the weather.

I spent all afternoon a few days ago planting some flowers in pots and setting them around the garden in the rocky places.  That evening, a storm came through and in the morning, all my work was ruined and the pots were broken.  It was very discouraging.

Now that I'm on a roll, I'll try to list as many things as I can tell you that are all true.  We'll call it a writing exercise.

 -Solveig hasn't taken her afternoon nap in 2 days now because of the kids' schedule bringing them here and there and she falls asleep in the car for 5 minutes and then calls that her 2 hour afternoon nap.  I'm very frustrated by this.  She falls apart every day around supper because she's so tired.

-Solveig has started waking up at night too.  I think her sleep schedule is off during the day and that's why.  Still, knowing why doesn't make it any less tiresome.

-I'm tired.

-I should be planting the rest of my garden on this fine day and I am not.  I have no acceptable excuse for this, and for some reason, I'm fine with that.

-I moved all of the new school books, the ones in storage boxes on and around the dining room table onto the cabinet space (since the bookshelf space isn't done) in the new, unfinished built-in that Knut is working on in his spare time, even though they don't belong there.  I can move them when the place they belong is built.  This built in is designed for storage of our school supplies and growing school library.  O, and for Knut's imaginary new t.v. too that he thinks he's getting.

-Knut doesn't have any spare time.

-Another round of swimming lessons starts tomorrow.

-We have made rhubarb crisp twice now this season.

-I've given up coffee...again.  So now I just get caffeine through chocolate, therefore I'm now eating much more chocolate.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Coming Home

Knut really hasn't been gone that much yet for planting season.  He's only missed a few bedtime prayers here and there, and a few suppers here and there.  With all the rain, I don't think he's been gone all that much as he could have been.  There's only been a few days open to push "hard."

The kids have a very different opinion on that and have started clobbering him the moment he walks in the door.  

I'm trying not to take it personally.

 Solveig is usually first in his arms as she runs for the door as soon as she hears the door to his truck shut.  Elias is normally next.  The older two get so engrossed in what they are doing, that they normally come running only when they hear his voice.

I think he has to eat in his car more than the other guys because his lunch breaks at home are normally spent untangling himself from the web of arms and legs wrapped around him.

He's a good daddy.

Monday, May 7, 2012

I'm Blessed

Sorry for the slowdown in posts lately.  I skipped a few last week.  I'm sure you've figured out that the lack of posting has to do with things I can't post about (aka pictures of my secret project) and/or things getting incredibly busy around here.

I try not to be too busy to not do this part, though.  For this morning I am thankful for my new little nephew, Leif, born last week.  I can't wait to hold him, although I think it will probably be some months.  I was blessed to celebrate birthdays with  my mother-in-law, and another niece and nephew this last weekend.  Family is good.

The main thing I'm thankful for is that my kids have been hanging in there with the craziness for the most part.  All the running around, and I think also related to some diaper rash, Solveig hasn't been sleeping the best lately, thus I haven't been sleeping the best lately.  Days have been really hard for me, and the older kids have really been helping out...most of the time.

I love finally making it to the stage of parenting where asking your child to do a chore is actually helpful.  For so many years they want to help, and there's nothing they can do.

I'm blessed that even though my to-do list is busting at the seams, it's all with stuff I love to do.  It doesn't get much better than that.

If you want to share too, here's the drill:
-Write a blog post about how God has blessed you.
-Put the link to that post below.
-Be sure to link back to this blog in your post.
-and/or leave a comment.  Comments are super cool too.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real

I have a huge backup of pictures that I haven't posted in awhile, so it must be time for "Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real."  Beware, that a lot of it is Solveig.  She's lovin' the camera lately.

It's a fun blog party, hosted by a fun mother/daughter blog:

round button chicken


Do you have any idea what it's like to wake up to this face?  The smiles and giggles that she gives out freely mostly all day, and certainly every day are so, so pretty.  She has every member of this family in a spell when she flashes a smile.  If anyone wonders who runs the show, it would be her.  She runs it so sweetly, though.


Daddy catching some quick swinging time during a lunch break.



 The fact we have a slide, but it is rarely use the proper way.  Our kids think it's merely a challenging way up to the fort.  I actually heard Silje say, "I got hurt.  I was going down the slide safely on my back, head first with my feet in the air, and David pushed me so I went too fast."  We had to go back over what the word "safely" meant.

David has recovered from the death of "Gimpy" and has found a new favorite chicken to carry around the yard.  The funny thing about this picture is it's only about 60 degrees outside.  David has now decided that anything over 50 warrants taking off his shirt to play because it's so hot.  Since I'm from Phoenix, I find this hilarious.


Silje is joyfully getting a dose of reality since I've offered to her the job of making the family lunch once a week.  It's a job she squealed with joy in getting.  Wednesday is her day.  By Monday morning, she had to give me her meal plan, and grocery list for things needed that we didn't already have in the house.  It required going through cook books, going through the cupboards, etc.  Tuesday night she made dessert, and Wednesday morning she worked on the meal.  She picked scalloped potatoes and ham, with a fresh fruit salad on the side, and black-bottom cupcakes for dessert.  

I kept my mouth shut when everything she picked besides the fruit salad was more complicated than she had made before.  Black-bottom cupcakes are a 2 part cupcake (one part chocolate cake and one part chocolate chip cheesecake) and she's never peeled a potato before, let alone cut several up.  It was her first time working with a sharp knife, first time peeling a pile of potatoes, etc.  She even set the table and had everything set up by 12 sharp.  She did amazing, but I know none of you are surprised by that either.

She did mention that scalloped potatoes and ham, one of her favorites, was way more work than she had anticipated.  I don't think she regretted it, though.  We sure didn't.  It was delicious.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Today's Rambling

The rain is messing with my plans in the garden, and Knut's plan on the farm today.  I got so much done yesterday out there, but the kids started falling apart so I had to stop.  I wasn't involving them enough, which is usually the problem.  For some reason most kids don't respond well to "Go away so I can get this done."  I could have easily given them each a job but I was on a roll.

By supper time, all 5 of us had had it, and Knut wasn't going to be home any time soon.  I heated up some leftover spaghetti as they were all pulling at me or crying because someone looked funny at someone else and someone stuck their tongue out, and someone was hungry and didn't want to wait until the table was set, and someone didn't want leftovers, they wanted cereal...etc....etc...etc.

It was then that I put Solveig safely in the pack n play, although she was not thrilled with that idea, and blasted on the c.d. player some of the kids' favorite music, and grabbed myself a spoon, peanut butter and chocolate chips and locked myself in the bathroom.  It only took about 3 minutes for the kids to settle down out there and start singing along to their favorite songs, and I came out of there with a spurt of a sugar high and a bit more patience.

Knut came home for just a few minutes to eat a quick bite when we were done.  Then he had to leave again and Silje started crying because she thought he would be home for the night.  It was the first time this year that Knut has had long hours, and it kind of jolted the kids.  He normally makes it home at least for bedtime.  Last night he was able to sleep just before midnight, which is pretty easy in comparison to harvests.

Today it's raining.  Knut is in limbo and is not quite sure if he should start anything at home, or if he should find something else to do.  So he's doing stuff in the home office.  Solveig is taking advantage of her only time today to nap.  Elias is playing with mini bears on the school math scale.  Silje is doing her independent reading, and David is running around in a transformer costume terrorizing all he can find. This afternoon we have homeschool group and about 98 errands.

The BIG news today is my sister-in-law, (Knut's brother's wife) is having her c-section today, and we should have a nephew in not too long.  So we're staying by the phone, saying lots of prayers, and checking Facebook a little too often in hopes of catching a glimpse of that sweet little boy across the country, or any updates from the hospital.  I feel bad that she was not able to get the VBAC that she wanted.  She's the most patient and most non-complaining pregnant lady I've ever met, and I feel like if anyone deserves a birth the way she wanted it's her.  We're all excited to meet him, though.  I'm sure his Mommy, Daddy, and big brothers most of all.