Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Yarn Along

I finished my shawl, and am so pleased with how it blocked out.  I actually have been working more on my second one this week which is a deep purple, and I'm making it not quite so shallow for a bit of variation.

I'm going to be doing something a bit different with this pattern, and doing a KAL (Knit A-Long) right away when it is released, which I'm hoping will be near the end of next week.  The first 10 people to post pictures of their finished shawl on Ravelry will get their pattern reimbursed, or have the option of picking one of my other patterns.  I have already seen some interest in this, so that's exciting.  If you want to be ready for the pattern release, you'll need some fingering weight yarn, (depending on size, somewhere between 500-600 yards, but I'm still confirming those numbers as we speak).

Besides knitting, we had Silje's grandparents and great -grandparents and cousins over yesterday to a final harrah to her 8th birthday.  This weekend my parents fly in for the week, and we are looking forward to our huge 4th of July celebration each year that centers mostly around freshly baked pies.

For reading, I've picked up an impulse buy when shopping for Silje this last week.  I totally did not go into the store intending to buy a book for myself, but this one looked too tempting.  It's called Baby Catcher
 and is just a collection of stories from a midwife who practiced as a labor and delivery nurse for many years, and then finally decided to go to midwifery school.  Of all the "midwife/birth" books that I've read, this one isn't so "hippie" as she comes from a midwestern/hospital loving background as me, so I guess you could say I relate to her better than some other books.  Her stories are laugh-out-loud funny, and touching and I have to admit, I have stayed up way too late at nights reading just one more chapter.

I suppose when I'm pregnant, I love surrounding myself with positive birth stories, as opposed to the ones you hear off the street or on cable television.  This book has such a variety, including one scary one that I read where she had an emergency transfer to the hospital for a breech birth and it was so intense.  It's so interesting to see how differently each woman handles labor and works her way through birth.  These charming stories go past that into the fun of each family, from grandpas present at birth and being in the way to older children being entranced by the process, and brought to tears with the miracle of it.  It's my joy reading these days.

I'm linking up again with Ginny this week, who hosts a fun weekly party where people gather together to talk about what they are knitting/crocheting and reading.  It's always bunches of fun.

Monday, June 25, 2012

I'm Blessed

What a weekend.  Silje had such a fun birthday, and we all enjoyed it!  I don't think that we've ever thrown such a party, and I don't think we intended to throw as big of a party as we ended up throwing, but it was so much fun I don't regret it at all.

Silje had everything planned down to how the cake should go exactly.  She told me exactly how the frosting had to go, and which horses were to be placed where, and exactly what color sprinkles had to be used.  In fact, she was a little annoyed I didn't just step aside and let her do the whole cake.  I'm old fashioned in the way where I think one shouldn't make their own birthday cake.  I kept explaining this tradition to Silje.

A few hours before the party started, our friends the Roberts brought the horses.  When Knut was growing up in this house, they had 2 horses in the barn.  When we bought the house, we were both certain that we didn't have the time necessary to properly take care of horses, so Knut's parents re-homed Buster and Star to a family at our church.  They live about 45 minutes from our farm now, and those horses live in the lap  of luxury there with 2 other "retired" horses that the Roberts took in.  They get ridden all the time, brushed and combed and washed with care.  They're probably over 20 years old now, which is pretty old in horse years, but I think behavior wise, they've never been better with all the attention they get.

Of course, the Roberts' children are all grown now, so their heavily hinting they would like Knut and I to take them back at any point now.  We, however, were hoping to wait until Silje was at least 10 so she could help out a bit more.  We'll see down the road...

Anyway, I can't believe how much this family blessed us that day.  I don't know if I thanked them enough, even though they probably heard me say it about 50 times.  They drove Buster and Star, and one of their other "retired" horses, "Rocky" way out to our farm, and the Dad, his son Wynn, and Wynn's fiance Anna came out to help for the whole day.  By the time the horses got settled, and our kids got a super long ride, our party guests started showing up.

We invited more girls than usual this year, mostly because many from Silje's list is from our homeschool group, and I was trying hard to make sure none of them in our little group was left out.  Since everyone's thoughts were on the horses, we did some riding first.

 The Roberts family walked the girls around on the horses to their hearts content, and then we went inside for cake, "pin the tail on the horse" and presents.  The Roberts took a quick break and trotted around the "neighborhood", but came back after presents, so the girls could all get one last ride before they went home.  There were some little brothers and sisters of our guests too who got in some last minute rides as well. 

The Roberts wouldn't let us pay them for gas for driving all the way out to our place, but accepted only some supper at our table for walking with the girls and horses probably several miles worth of circles around our place.  I'm told they slept well that night.

Party time isn't quite over, as we're having some grandparents and cousins of Silje's out tomorrow night for some more cake. 

I'm so grateful Knut had the day off to spend with us, and he was such a huge help to have around!  I'm so blessed with so many friends.  I'm blessed with so many exciting things in our future.  I get to go to another prenatal appointment today, which will be sort of a relaxing morning alone.  We moms take what we can get.  ;)  My parents are flying in at the end of the week for their yearly visit.  Knut and I have gotten to have some great heart to heart talks lately after our fun date night last week.  It's so good to bear one another's burdens as a couple, and almost feels like a relief to do so.

Please share your heart in how God has blessed you this last week!  You can leave a link to your blog if you're long winded like me, or just a comment below!  I love reading how God is working uniquely in each of our lives.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Where Have I Been?

I feel like I haven't been blogging that much lately.  Maybe it's just I've become aware of how little I've been blogging over the last few months.  What's going on now?

-I hit the 2nd trimester, which means I'm cleaning my house a lot more.  I'm not saying it's clean, but I am saying I'm cleaning.

-I'm reading...probably too much.  I'm into so many books right now.

-I've been managing the kids doing more chores and schoolwork, yes, schoolwork.  They've been driving me crazy whining about how all they want to do is watch t.v. all day.  Every other suggestion is a whine.  So my newly energetic self has given them each a "chore list" for the day that they must finish before they get any free time.  Things like: play fetch with Lena for 15 minutes, dishes, clean room, put away folded clothes, math worksheet, practice piano for 30 minutes, etc.  Their lists are short, but their achieving their goal of getting the kids to work, and exposing their minds early in the morning to more options than the television. 

This morning, David finished breakfast and asked Knut if he had any chores for him to do.  Knut grinned from ear to ear that his son asked for that instead of asked to play on the computer.  David has been hitting his lists hard and getting done before noon each day, leaving the afternoon open to play.  Silje has been dragging her feet over it all, and I continually find her reading a book instead of finishing her list.  We're still working on that.

-Speaking of Silje, we've been planning her big birthday party for tomorrow.  I remember her 1st birthday very well.  I was very pregnant with David, and this was our 1st child's 1st birthday and I wanted to go "all out" which in our broke state meant buying fun paper plates and napkins.  In fact, I spent about $35 on party things from cups to a "One is Fun" banner.  Knut nearly hit the roof that I just dropped $35 on a baby for just one party.  I held my ground and said she only turns 1 once, and I really wanted all of those little disposable do dats.

The next day, Knut was grumbling at work (he was in management at UPS at the time) to one of his friends that "my wife just spent all this money on our one year old's birthday party.  It's not like she's even going to remember it!"  His co-worker said he knew what Knut meant.  He said when his wife through their child's 1st birthday party, they hired horses, clowns, a magician...$2000 later and the whole neighborhood at their house, he often wondered what the point was.

Knut came home that night and surprisingly told me: "I'm glad you spent $35.  It is a big deal."  Such a change of heart.

Well, he must have changed even further, because for Silje's 8th birthday tomorrow, Knut is bringing Silje some horses...just for the day.  The family that was given the horses that Knut grew up with has offered to drive them over for Silje and her friends to ride for their party.  Silje is so excited.  Excited might be a bit of an understatement.  I can't think of a bigger word right now, but think excited x 100.

-I'm knitting and loving it.  I'm doing another version of my shawl, in this deep purple.  I'm finishing up writing the pattern, and this one is going so much faster.  I'm reading my friends blog, and keeping an eye on what my other patterns are doing online.  I've been having several jumps in sales, and turns out several big sites are starting to feature them.  I enjoy lurking around online discussions of my patterns because it seems like the best way to get genuinely honest feedback.  My favorite read probably wasn't this big forum discussion, but the first finished Serina Cardigan other than mine that I know of.  I've sold several of these patterns, but this is the first one that has been reported as finished...and it's GORGEOUS!  I love the yarn she picked, and may need to make my next cardigan that color because of it.  She finished it just as she arrived in Dublin.  You can read her little blog here.  I don't know her, but I enjoyed reading it.  You know, who doesn't like hearing their ego stroked by someone they don't know. I hope she knows those pictures made my day.

-Knut and I finally got out on a date this week.  We try to get out just the 2 of us once a month, but it might have been about 3 months since we last went out.  So we went all out. We ate at a restaurant, went to the theater and saw "Avengers" and then hit Cold Stone Creamery.  We had to drive about 45 minutes to get to all of that, so we got to chat in the car a bunch too.  I feel so refreshed.

Well, I have some party planning/shopping to do!  Expect some pictures of a very happy girl riding a horse to follow in the next few days!  (And pray that the 20% chance of rain during the party will not amount to anything!)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Yarn Along

~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs.  I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading? Take a photo and share it either on your blog or on Flickr. Leave a link below to share your photo with the rest of us! ~ (Ginny's blog)

I think I've settled on an edge for my shawl, although I went through about 2 or 3 initial ideas before I realized they didn't look good on this particular edge at all.  So I hit the stitch dictionaries again, and came up with this.  I'm anxious to get the binding off complete and get this blocked so I can get a better idea of how this edge lays.  If I'm satisfied, then it's just writing up the pattern, photography, pattern layout, then off to the tech editor, and then testers.  You know...almost done.

As for reading this week, I finished Naya Nuki, and loved it.  I started going through teacher manuals for next year and taking deep breathes.  I've always felt excited for the upcoming homeschool year, and this year is a bit more intimidating for me.  I've really been stressing out over how to manage 2 students, like most moms stress out when you're having a second child.  You finally got a system down with 1, how in the world do moms of 2 manage?  Of course, as a mother of almost 5, I now know you just get through...sometimes with a new normal that will soon feel comfortable.  I'm hoping that rule remains true with homeschooling.

I think I've gotten over a hump, though.  My biggest worry has been David's language arts program.  I bought a great, advanced language arts curriculum when Silje started 1st grade.  She basically started at 3rd grade level in this subject as it's her best subject.  I nearly bought the 4th grade for her, actually, and I think she could have handled it.  David does read very well for a little boy going into 1st grade, but I really don't think he's ready for a 3rd grade level in this subject.  I've been trying to avoid buying yet more curriculum, and have been planning to just go through the 3rd grade level slowly.

That preliminary decision has not been sitting well with me at all.  I looked into getting the 1st or 2nd grade curriculum, and then talked to Knut who talked me out of that.  He pointed me to the shelf of language arts curriculum that we already owned, and said I should look at it all over again.  So last night I went through and realized that I have everything I need for him in this subject...more than enough.  The only thing I don't have is a daily schedule that pieces together these various elements of what I have.

So I just need to put together a work schedule, and that shouldn't be too hard.  I've got a great grammar program, which I think I'll modify a bit for him, a great phonics/spelling program, as well as handwriting.  We have a ton of books from old McGuffey readers to our bookshelf to the library to get his readers from.  I think I'm going to put off the 3rd grade LA curriculum for awhile, which I know will disappoint David as he was looking forward to those books.  I remember an education professor I once had say that the basic premise of teaching is finding out where the student is, and bring them to the next level.  I know that sounds pretty elementary, but that has stuck with me.  I settle down my nervousness pretty quickly when I realize that I just need to continue his learning from where he's at, and we don't need to make any leaps.

When I start stressing out on how I'm going to combine Silje and David's school day, and teach them from the same "core" curriculum of history etc. and how that's all going to be juggled, I try to pause and remind myself "just keep them learning."  I'm at the point where I need to remind myself that they don't need to learn everything in the world this year.  The perfection of the order of it all, and may not be as important as keeping their feet moving in the "learning journey."  At least I hope...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Reality Show: The Coop

Here's a reality show idea: put 9 hens and lock them in a coop for 3 days with 9 older chicks who have lost all their down and have their teenage feathers all in. Give plenty of food and water, and see how they get along. Well, on today's show, as I peek in to see how it's all going, it's laying time. The "old hens" like to lay most in late morning, and are normally done laying by around 3pm.

So as I check before lunch, I see them going through their normal fight over the favorite nesting boxes. We have 4 nesting boxes, but only 2, sometimes 3 get used. You see, the ladies pick their favorites, and they don't budge. They're stubborn ones, as you see when you peek in the coop and see 3 of them piled on top of each other, squaking up a storm so you can hear them from the house. They all need to lay right now, and they all need to lay right there. Well, that was going on with 6 of the "old hens" in 2 of the nesting boxes when I checked on them.

The other 3 old hens are climbing up and down their perching ladder. They're upset I'm looking in the window, and I can tell they're disturbed by the 9 teenagers huddled in the corner. I make sure all 9 teens are there, and none of them have been trampled. They're all fine, if you include "terrified" in that definition. They were far outgrowing our makeshift brooder, and ready to escape it at a moment's notice. I was time for them to join the coop, like it or not. It would risk their lives if they were to escape the brooder by chance and not know where home is.

The teen girls are huddled in the corner, far from the food and water. I'm not sure if they don't feel like venturing to it, if they've already had their fill, if they're scared of the old hens, or if the old hens have threatened them. Or, it could be the constant thunder we've had all night, and continuing on today. So I'll continue to check on them If they can make it 3 days, I'll feel comfortable letting them all out to free range again. By then the teen girls will know where home is, and the old hens will know them. I just hope everyone is getting along...

Seriously, I think I need a camera in there to see what's going on. I think it would be the best reality show ever. You'll never know how funny chickens are until you have them! I could watch them all day!

Monday, June 18, 2012

I'm Blessed

Whew!  We made it!  What a crazy weekend.  VBS program, family in town, Father's Day and Knut's 32nd birthday, our first Sunday at the lake, and playing with new toys kept us pretty busy.

I'm blessed that because of all of our work over the weekend, my house is now about 2/3rds clean, as opposed to crazy-messy, and I have leftovers that will last our family for about 2 days.  That's a great way to start a Monday.

I was so blessed that Knut had his first non-Sunday day off in ages last Saturday.  He weeded the whole vegetable garden for me, and was so helpful in getting me caught up inside too.  I'm looking forward to the prospect of having him home for supper more often in the next few weeks, as the farm is over yet another seasonal hump.

Knut and I are both blessed by the new Ipad he got for his birthday.  We needed a new laptop, as our old one was getting to the point where it needed to be rebooted about every 15 minutes, along with a host of other problems.  We're becoming more painfully aware of how behind we are in technology, or maybe we're just foreign to having an Apple.  We're trying hard to learn new ways, and trying even harder to remember our passwords for different programs as we set up all our stuff on the new computer.  I haven't figured out how to put my pictures on the blog from there, but I'm sure I can figure it out.  I just need a bit more time.  So today I write to you from the desktop in our basement. 

I'm blessed Elias has now been keeping his underwear dry for a few days.  That's big cause for celebration, especially through the busy-ness!

Sunday was crazy as we said goodbye to my cousin and her family before church, brought some treats to church because it was our turn, then rushed home to get our lake things and the cheesecakes I made to share for Knut's birthday.  Out at the lake we grilled hamburgers for Father's Day, and the kids played in the water for literally hours.  Elias had no nap, and Solveig napped for about 30 minutes for the day.

She was happy pretty much all day, though.  She just loved being with all the grandmas and grandpas out at the lake.

We learned that she loves charging into the lake with no fear.  Fortunately, she didn't mind holding Silje's hand while she charged.  Then she was re-directed to making sand castles.  O, the kids were so tired!

Most of all, I'm blessed to have God prepared this work for me to do long ago.  We were able to do everything that we did because God arranged it and prepared it.  He prepared our kids for it, and prepared our bodies.  This week for the first time, I come into a Monday without a paralyzing amount of things to get done, and can move forward at a nice pace.  My house is vacuumed, and all the sheets and bathrooms are clean.  Today I need to make some more laundry detergent so I can wash all my maternity clothes coming out of storage, and maybe figure out the whole picture thing on the Ipad, and knit. 

I'm so blessed.

I've decided to open up comments as suggested to this "I'm Blessed" post instead of the linky.  If you would like to leave a link to your I'm Blessed post in the comment section, you are welcome to.  If you just want to type in how God has blessed you this last week to share with all who read, then please join us that way!  Thank you so much for joining in!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Busy Week

Elias has been at preschool VBS this week, and today is his last day/concert.  He's loved it so much.  He's said he wants to go there everyday again, and again, and again.  We picked Silje up from camp yesterday.  She wasn't overly tired like last time, but so happy to have gone, and so happy to be home.  She looked older, but I thought that was just my eyes.  Knut mentioned the same thing, so maybe it's not just me.  Her skin is sun-kissed in such a flattering way, and she has so many stories to tell.  She liked talking about kayaking the most.
(This is the boys playing "carpet ball" as we dropped Silje off last Sunday.)

Going to town every day this week has been tiring, to say the least.  My kitchen has never been cleaner, and as I pause and feel good about this, I then realize that we've been eating so much instant/fast food because I haven't been home to cook, that there are very few dishes to do.  That makes me feel not so good.  With this realization, I may try to be proud of my messy kitchens in the future.

Last night, in an effort to redeem myself, we ate salmon, rice, and creamed spinach.  The spinach was a new recipe, and ended up looking like spinach baby food...that tasted really good.  The kids weren't too thrilled about trying it, but once they had their first bite, they quickly asked for more.  It did look weird, though.

In the garden, now several strawberries are starting to turn red.  They're not ready to pick yet, but soon.  There was one lone ripe raspberry, and this is the first year that our bushes are producing raspberries.  It was so good.  Silje was upset I didn't save that lone one for her.  I'm not sorry I ate it right there on the spot.  Overall, I don't think our production of strawberries will be that great this year, or anywhere near last year's because of the great transplant of the patch we did earlier this Spring.  Next year, though...

In my opinion, our chicks are big enough to join the big girls in the coop.  I plan to "home them" by shutting them in with the others for a few days so they associate the coop as home.  I was thinking of putting them in there this weekend, but then realized we have company coming, and I'm fairly certain that the little girls who will be staying with us will want to play with the chickens.  So it won't be the best time to shut them in for a few days.  So now I'm thinking next week sometime.

Sunday is Knut's birthday, Father's Day, and our first Sunday of the Summer out on Knut's family's lake cabin.  Every Sunday, all summer long, his extended family gathers together for a huge pot luck at his grandparent's lake cabin.  It's a fun tradition, that's sometimes exhausting with little ones.  Well worth it, though.  The kids have been begging to get out there already, and I think the weather might be in our favor this week.

And here I thought Summer was supposed to be relaxing.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Yarn Along

This week, I'm working with some stash yarn that was intended for another project.  That project was frogged, and I was left with 2 skeins of this gorgeous yarn in hopes of one day finding it's match of the perfect pattern.  The yarn is Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in "thyme" and I've loved it since I got it.  So I'm making a shawl.  I'm trying once again to work through designing a shawl pattern, and I'm hoping this time will be a charm.  I'd say "3rd times a charm" but that would seem to jinx the time I'm on now.

I'm working this one from the bottom up, and I'm going off of a lace stitch called "Versailles" therefore I'm trying to think up a good French name for this pattern.  It's really pretty, but I'm realizing I should probably pay more attention when working lace.  Already I've had to start over after 12 rows, and then after starting over, I got to row 16, and set the shawl down, and one of my kids (who I assumed wasn't tall enough to reach it...) pulled the needles off of about 4 stitches, and it unraveled about 3 rows back.  I tried so hard to figure out how the lace stitched twisted and turned for those 3 rows in that one little section.  I tried to make do.  I tried to at least get the stitch count at least right, and not worry about that horrid spot in the lace that didn't look right.  Then I ripped back 2 rows tediously, thinking that would be enough.  It wasn't.

So now, after spending 2 evenings of knitting time ripping back stitch by stitch and double checking that I have ripped back enough, I think I'm back on track.  This is why I like to use amazing yarn.  It gets you through the tough times.

Don't ask me what this shawl is for, or even if I wear shawls, what on earth I'd wear it with, or if I plan to keep it or give it away.  The point is I had pretty yarn, and I wanted to try my hand at designing a shawl.  So I'm knitting one.  All those other questions will work themselves out later.

Knut asked me if I'm enjoying knitting/designing without a deadline again...finally.  My answer was a big fat "YES!"  Although it was so much fun working on the magazine design, I'm ready for a no pressure project.  That's not to say I'll never submit another pattern again...because I fully intend to...down the road.  ;)

I think after this shawl I may work on some baby things, or even this sweater pattern that my aunt on Ravelry just gifted to me because she saw it in my queue and thought I'd look nice in it.  Isn't it fun?  More practically I should do this one instead since I have already bought the yarn for it last winter. 

For reading, I haven't finished my fun books from last week, but I have started going through school books for next year.  One of the books on our reading list is Naya Nuki: Shoshoni Girl Who Ran which I was really excited about because I think it was my favorite book in 3rd grade.  I remember it being the most suspenseful book I had ever read up to that point, and laid awake at night thinking about it.  I'm reading about 3 chapters a night, and I'm so excited for Silje to experience it for the first time.  It's soooo good.  In theory I should be reading the books for next year that I haven't read yet.  However, I'm rationalizing that I'm just getting my feet wet in the whole prep-for-next-year summer project, and why not start with my favorite.  Plus, the last time I read it was in 3rd grade, so the details are a bit fuzzy.

Thank you, Ginny, for once again hosting the always-fun Yarn Along.

Monday, June 11, 2012

I'm Blessed

This week I'm contemplating whether or not to continue this "I'm Blessed" journey.  I like doing it, but it's time to renew my subscription to the Mr. Linky gadget, and looking back over the last year, I'm not sure it's had the impact I had hoped.  The "I'm Blessed" posts are the least read on this blog, according to my stats, and participation has been minimal.  So I'm debating about bowing out gracefully.  Just thinking.  I haven't decided yet.

This week is bittersweet because my Silje is not here.  We dropped her off yesterday at Bible camp, and we won't see her again until Thursday.  It might be the longest I've ever been separated from her, and I hate to admit I already miss her.  Although she's by far my most helpful child, I'm not missing her help just yet, although I'm sure I will.  I just miss her face.

On the other side, I'm so excited for her being out at camp.  This is her second time out there, and she started counting down the hours last Wednesday.  She knows this time how awesome it is.  She had her packing list organized by Friday, and basically did most of it herself.  She's so excited for 4 days of doing no dishes.  It made me laugh, because that's something I would have said at her age...or if I got to go to Bible camp too at my age.  ;)

I'm so blessed my kids get to go to Bible camp.  I'm so excited Elias gets to go to preschool VBS at a local church this week.  It should be a week of growing for my kids, as 2 are learning so much about God, and 2 (David and Solveig) get to spend a lot of time with just me.

I'm blessed with all the roses blooming in front of my house right now.  It's sure a sight...and a smell!  I'm blessed to have sneaked the first strawberry of the garden while weeding.  It was ripe far ahead of any others, so I just took it as my weeding treat.  The taste pulsated through me and could be felt through my whole body.  How does one explain the flavor of fresh food from the garden?  It's not like grocery produce at all.  I needed it, too.  I've been feeling like a failed gardener already this year, and I needed a reminder that it's worth it.

I'm blessed that the kids are now acting more normal.  When I was not feeling well in the past few weeks, they sort of ran wild around the house as I let them eat, drink, watch t.v. and play computer at their leisure without very little direction from me.  I just wanted to keep them all alive until Knut got home...which was usually after they went to bed.

As I've been feeling better, rules and structure have returned.  It has been most welcome for Knut and I, but I wondered if the kids wished me sick again.  It's been an uphill battle, especially with the boys, to return to some normalcy of limited summer rules of 1 hour of screen time a day, the return of chores, as well as manners.  It's good to "be back" but it has been a frustrating 2 weeks at home.  I'm so blessed that the last 2-3 days have shown me we might be over that fighting hill.

If you want to be apart of "I'm Blessed" this week, simply leave a comment saying how God has blessed you, and taken care of you, or leave a link below to your own blog post on the subject.  To do that, simply put a link to this blog as reference in your post, than copy and paste your post address into the box below so we can all read it.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Down At the Barn

Down at the barn, we visit our chicks.  Well, at least that's what the kids say they want to do.

Really, it goes more like this:

Boys jump on the old snowmobiles in storage down there...a bit held together with duct tape.

Girl snuggles some baby birds.

Then joins her brothers for the ride.

Update in our chicks:
They're looking much better, and growing like crazy.  One died early on, without reason.  That's one thing I've learned: chicks just die and they rarely have a reason.  So there's 9 in there now.  It was the chick the kids handled the most, which made me drill them all again on proper handling of chicks.  I wasn't too hard on them because the chick was handled the most because she was the easiest to catch...very slow.  I can't be sure she just wasn't sick to begin with.

Last night Knut found one perched on top of something outside the empty water barrel they're living in.  So they now are big enough for a cover, and the older kids are no longer allowed to go down there and visit them without me, because I'll have to remove the partial fence for them that Knut laid over the top.

I have gotten a chance to observe these girls. (I hope they're all girls...I have my suspicions that a few are roosters).  They're behaving really well.  I'm wondering what they're going to do when they soon outgrow our makeshift brooder right now.  Knut and I agreed they weren't ready to meet our hens yet.  My guess is in another month or so.  Only one now has bare splotches on the neck, and even that is getting much less severe.  Still, they're little.

My current plan is to let them get as big as we can manage in the barn, then transfer them all to the coop in the evening when all the other hens are in there.  Then we'll lock them all in there together for about 3 days, and let them sort out some housekeeping.  (Well have to check on them, of course.)  When we had the other hens, we put them in there for a few days without roaming just for the sake of ingraining in their minds that this was their home, and they were to return there to roost.  It worked, so I suppose we'll have to do that with the new girls, and the old girls will just have to go along with it.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Yarn Along

I'm finally jumping back into the Yarn Along with Ginny.  I've actually gotten to knit and read again, so it's good to do.

For knitting I'm just finishing up a little sample of my "Little Pearl Vest" pattern that was requested for display at my local yarn store.  They're selling my pattern, and were wondering if I could knit up a quick display with some of their yarn.  Since it was them, and I love them, I said yes.  I have realized since, that it is no fun to make baby clothes that will never be worn by a baby.  The nostalgia is just not there.  Anyway, it was quick and is now done.

I've been going between 2 books for reading.  The first is one I ordered awhile back that was recommended to me by several people: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.  It's the story of a family who moves from Tucson, Arizona, out to a farm near the Appalachians to "live locally" for one year.  For one year, they were going to live off their own garden, and buy only local produce.  Basically their whole diet came from what they grew and the farmers market, as most things from the grocery store are shipped from other states, or other countries.

So far I love the book.  Already I learned more about growing asparagus better, and things like that are most of the reason this book was recommended to me.  There's so much good information and recipes along the way in there.  The most popular recipe among my friends is the "30 minute homemade mozzarella" that she has in there.  I haven't gotten to that part yet.

There's a lot in the book that I think are great.  I find it a bit funny that the author and I come from completely different world views, but I would come to very many of the same conclusions as her.  The information that she gives on the quality of food, and her passion for Americans to be aware of what they're eating is contagious.

There are a few uncomfortable moments where I feel like I'm in an awkward conversation with the author.  Are you ever talking with someone and they start ripping apart "a certain kind of people," not realizing that you're one of those people.  I've heard people say "Well, I think it's great that you homeschool, because it's not like you're one of these kinds of homeschoolers that I despise."  I never know how to respond to digs like that because it's like sideways gossip.  I have friends who are those kinds of homeschoolers, and often I am that kind of homeschooler.

It's not just about homeschooling, and she never talks about it in the book.  That's just my example.  The topic of this author's favorite dig is "those stupid people who don't believe in evolution."  Although I LOVE what this author says about food and culture, and is someone I would enjoy hanging out with, she drops these "digs" all the time towards anyone who would question evolution.

What I find so funny is that all of her digs are so misguided (as they are with all of us who have prejudices...and we all do) and refer to parts of science that refer to natural selection.  She points as natural selection (which I think most Christians would fully agree with Darwin) and says, "people who don't believe this are stupid."  Well, yes, natural selection is great science.  No argument there.  I just don't believe my ancestors were monkeys, which she refers to a few times as well.  Since I believe that corn can be modified to become more suited to each individual climate, I must therefore believe that we evolved from goo, and if I don't believe that connection, something is wrong with my brain according to this author.  (This author ironically never claims that corn modifies itself into beets, or beans, or tomatoes.  It always stays corn.  That's the science I see.)

However, she says several things that are really inspirational and have really gotten stuck in my brain.  She talks in one part about how we as a people try to teach children to "wait for the right time" for sex, and train our kids to be abstinent.  This way, we try to explain, they can experience sex at it's best, and not just whenever they feel like it, getting a watered down result.  She compares that directly to food.  She basically says our kids have trouble waiting for sex because they don't know how to wait for anything.  They go around eating tomatoes that are way out of season and flavorless and watery, with little nutrition.  It's what we give them.  Real tomatoes need to be eaten at a certain time.  They're red throughout, and full of flavor that blows you away and vitamins that grocery store tomatoes aren't even aware of.  Eating what is in season, or preserved when it was in season is a good way to show the coming generation that good things are worth waiting for.

We are a culture that does not believe in waiting until things are ripe.  We are a culture that thinks we should have what we want, when we want it, not realizing that by doing this, we never get to experience the full glory of food.  I thought that was actually pretty insightful.  Her desire in this book is to not jab at creationists, (although she can't help herself) it's to open your brain to what food is supposed to be.  The whole book makes your mouth water, and opens your eyes to what a life of eating only what is locally in season can look like.  It's a celebration.

Whew.  Do you all have time to read my quick review of the other book I'm reading?  It's coming from quite another place.  Knut was given this book by some elders at our church to go over, in hopes that Knut would be willing to develop some adult Sunday school material from it this Fall.  Knut's been reading it and telling me about it, and I couldn't help but pick it up and read a few chapters myself.

The book is Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes and is an examination of the gospels from an expert in middle eastern culture.  It's really very illuminating.  For instance, this author has always had a problem of the "Western version" of the Christmas story.  Mary and Joseph go to Bethlehem as she's going into labor, Mary following along awkwardly on a donkey.  They get to Bethlehem late and they can't find a place to stay so Mary ends up giving birth next to animals.  After that, shepherds come to visit them, and then leave there rejoicing that they have seen the king.

First off, the author points out the culture of hospitality in the Middle East, recorded from ancient times to present.  It would disgrace the village of Bethlehem to not give space to a pregnant woman about to give birth.  Not only that, but Joseph was of royal descent.  That would make the disgrace that much more terrible.  On top of that, the Bible says that Mary's cousin, Elizabeth, lived less than a day's journey away.  They had recently come from visiting them.  It would have been an insult to Mary's family for Joseph to have not given her family a chance to help them when he was unable to find shelter.  It would have been unheard of.  To Middle Eastern eyes, the birth of Jesus in this way simply could not have happened.  It would dishonor too many people.

So this author picks apart what Scripture actually says, and says most of what we read into this story is actually from a "novel" published in the 6th century, that was widely hated by the pope and other theologians of the time.  The geography was all wrong, and the addition of suspense of Mary having to give birth just as they arrived was added.  Still, it's the story we seem to know.

At that time (and still in some places over there) houses were divided into 3 rooms.  This author points to archaeological digs and modern sociology there.  There's one main room of the house, with steps down to a space where the animals were kept.  Yes, animals were kept in the house for warmth and protection.  To have a barn was to be very, very wealthy and was not very common.  Most houses had attached animal quarters.  The wall separating the 2 rooms was often where the mangers were.  That way scraps and such could be dumped over there for the animals without constantly walking through the animals.  Then above these rooms was often an "upper room."  The upper room was for guests, or family in town.  For example, Jesus and his disciples asked someone for use of their "upper room" for the last supper.  It was often called the "prophet's quarters" because that's where Elijah stayed with the widow and her son.

Looking at the Greek text, this author said that when it says "there was no room in the inn" the word for "inn" is not the Greek word for a commercial inn, as is found in the story of the Good Samaritan.  That is a completely different word.  No, the word for "inn" used here, is the exact Greek word used for "upper room" in the portion of Scripture describing the last supper.  So it might better be translated: "There was no room for them in the upper room."  It's not that there was no room for them in Bethlehem, it was that in the house of Joseph's relatives, there was no room in the guest quarters.

The author has a theory that Mary actually gave birth surrounded by Joseph's family, most likely women, and perhaps a midwife.  In fact, it's likely that they went to Bethlehem much before she gave birth, and the author cites some reasons for this as well, such as it not being safe for Mary "back home" because of her pregnancy and Levitical law.  He had to remove her and bring her under his protection as soon as possible to save her life.

There was no room in the upper room, so she had to give birth in the main room, next to the mangers.  This resolves the problem this author sees with the shepherds as well.  He says if the shepherds had seen Mary and Joseph surrounded by animals in a barn, they would have immediately offered them their homes, as it would have been a disgrace for them to leave such a royal, new family to sleep with animals.  The fact that the shepherds left rejoicing shows that they were satisfied that they could not offer to better Mary and Joseph's sleeping arrangements.

I love studies like this.  When Scripture is used to interpret Scripture, and a strong link to historical evidence that removes assumptions we have and shows us something deeper.  I'm now at the part where the author is dissecting the genealogies, and talking about the significance of Joseph's words and actions through that culture's eyes.  It's really a good read!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


This summer we have no choir practice to attend, and no piano lessons either.  Silje's piano teacher said Silje could take a month off of practice to recoup from the recital, and then back to work.  I know it's supposed to be a break, but something was definitely missing in our house.

I was at this really neat store the other day, and saw a nice wooden recorder, and thought Silje would really enjoy learning to play it.  So as a fun summer music project, I picked it up.  I was right; she is enjoying it.  It's harder than she had anticipated, but she was thrilled to learn that the notes on the page of the recorder music is the same as the notes on the piano.  She just has to learn the finger placement.

I didn't get David a recorder, and about 10 seconds of him playing Silje's confirmed that decision.  His goal with that instrument is to just make as loud a noise as he a whistle.  I think David has an ear for music, because I've heard him sing on key so well, and he can't help but move his body whenever he hears it.  However, choir is difficult for him because of all the sitting or standing still.  Silje started piano lessons at 1st grade, and although he's the same age, there's no way I'm starting him this year.  Maturity-wise he's just not ready, so I feel it would be wasting my money.  My goal for him is by 3rd grade.

We'll put him in piano then, but he doesn't want it.  All he wants is to play the drums.  He practices on my Tupperware and pots and pans, and actually is pretty good.  I told him that every drum teacher in town requires 3 years of piano done before drum lessons begin.  He was very disappointed with that news.

So as I was getting Silje the recorder, I saw nearby: a harmonica.  I instantly thought "A boy like David needs a harmonica!"  I envisioned him, barefoot and shirtless, like Tom Sawyer, running around the yard and climbing trees...playing his harmonica.

Let's just say I was right.  David has loved every moment of playing the harmonica, and not so surprisingly, he's pretty good.  I mean, no one in the family minds listening to him, and we all sort of dance along.  He does this little jig himself when he plays, and Knut and I joke that soon we're going to start throwing coppers at him.

Immediately he noticed the numbers on the side, and their relationship to the notes that come out.  He's experimenting with different combinations, and usually has these fun endings prepared for each song that comes out of his head.

If you ask him, he'll tell you it's not a toy, it's a musical instrument.  He cares for it meticulously by wiping it down with a cloth in the case, and then putting it always in its case before it is stored in his pocket.  It's the first musical instrument solely in his care and you can see the awe of such a task on his face.

I was hoping to get the smile in his eyes when he's playing captured on the camera, but he gets so nervous when he sees the camera, that he more looks like deer in the headlights than his normal self.  Still, he wanted to show you all his harmonica, so he said it was okay if I took some pictures of him playing.

Silje has been a little frustrated that she can't just pick up the recorder and play it as easily as David does his harmonica.  Still, she's been asking for a recorder for ages, and really does enjoy playing it.  With her brains, she often does not have to depend on hard work, and so the work aspect may be good for her as well.  Since the kids are still in vacation mode, I haven't been "making" them practice.  It's still so new, though, that I don't have to.  It's their favorite activity these days.

Monday, June 4, 2012

I'm Blessed

I'm thankful to be back on the "I'm Blessed" train now that my internet is back up and running.  Sorry again, about last week.

I'm so thankful that I've been gradually feeling better.  Each day has gotten a little easier, and I've been able to catch up in at least one part of the house.  Of course, there are a lot of things that still need work, and I'm still not at 100% yet.  I feel like I'm coming up for air more often lately, and getting more energy.  This is all about 2 weeks before when it has normally lifted in the past, so I'm especially grateful for that.

I'm so blessed by my kids.  I was thinking yesterday how each one of them blesses me individually.  Silje is my right hand for so many things and is constantly asking for more ways to help.  She's fun to talk to, and I just love seeing her mature into this beautiful young lady.  I'm so blessed every time I see her crave more knowledge.  This last weekend after chores the thing she wanted to do most was read this book on Zoology that she found on the shelf.  How blessed of a homeschool teacher am I that my first student's favorite thing to do in the whole world is learn?

David and Elias...those boys crack me up at night.  Whether or not they have fought during the day, they're both piles of mush at night.  They don't go up to sleep right away, but every time either Knut or I go up to their room to find out what all the noise is about, we normally find them in the same bed. (We always separate them, but it never lasts.) David says Elias gets scared at night, so he either invites Elias to come snuggle with him, or will just go in his bed.

The sight of these two brothers falling asleep in a hug, and just talking (too loudly) just melts my heart.  About a third of the time when we check on these boys before we go to bed, we find them together and hugging in their sleep.  I know they're the tough sort of boys that will hate that I'm sharing this when they're older.  Still, they look out for each other.  David can't stand the idea of Elias being scared on the other side of the room, and Elias knows that David will be there for him if he needs him.  After a day of bickering, I can always count on them looking out for each other at night, and making sure the other is okay.  At the end of the day they love each other, and that is such a blessing.

Solveig blesses me with her cheeks that still droop down so low.  Now when I lay her down in her crib, she waves to me and says "Naa Naa!" (Nigh-Night!).  She's saying more words all the time, except she still giggles in place of the word "yes."  I'm blessed to see that her favorite part of wearing a dress is easy access to showing me her belly button.

I've been wondering so much lately what this new baby will offer to the mix.  As I'm starting to feel better, I'm able to enjoy my kids so much more.  (Although in all honesty, I'm not sure they're so thrilled with me feeling better.  Their computer/t.v. time has drastically dropped and their chores have returned in full force.)  I'm reminded again this week how blessed I am to be their mommy.

If you want to link up with your "I'm Blessed" post, I assume you know the deal.  Leave a link to this blog in your post, and put the link to your blog post below.  It's pretty simple.  It's good to share praises of the little and big things that God does for us from day to day.

Friday, June 1, 2012

5th Time Around

I'm slowly feeling better.  I'm not totally better, but I'm improving.  I have to be encouraged by that.

I have to chuckle a bit at how different this pregnancy is.  Actually, it's no different at all from my body's perspective.  I've been pregnant before.  I know the drill.  It's everybody else that is a bit different.  Well, not everybody of course.  Probably a minority.  Random people.  When it's your first time, everyone ooohs and aahs.  You hear 7 times a day the question "How are you feeling?"  It gets quite annoying, because no one really wants to know the nitty gritty of how it's going.  It's not very pleasant.

People don't know what to talk about with the 5th baby.  If you complain about how sick you are, some people give you a look as if to say: "And you're surprised?  It's not like you didn't see this coming!"

The big deal with the 5th baby, is everyone wants to know what your family plans are at this point.  People want to know if you plan to have 20.  People want to know if you're done.  People encourage you to be done.

It might be the weird sense of humor I have that I don't give concrete answers to question " many are you going to have?"  I mean, if I'm going to be honest, my answer is "I don't know."  The problem with that answer is it just leads to more questions.  "So does that mean 'however many the Lord gives you?'"  "What's your take on birth control?"  "You do know if you don't use birth control you could end up with 20...right?  So you plan to have 20?"

I do believe in birth control at this time, although I don't like hormonal birth control...morally.  "I don't know" usually refers to the fact that I'm undecided.  Well, some days I feel very, very done, and other days I wonder.  In fact, I'm so undecided I'm not even seeking an answer.  I figure God, Knut and I will figure it out as we go.  Right now I know I'm having another baby, so it's not important that I know what comes after this.  That information right now is enough to keep me plenty busy.

This laid back attitude bothers some people, and I think that's funny.  So I normally leave it at "I don't know" and let them wonder...just for fun.

The 5th time around I'm very opinionated.  I know what I want and what I like.  I've taken certain opinions about how to manage my pregnancy, and how I prefer to give birth.  For a change, I'm seeing a midwife this time instead of my OB.  I still love my OB and plan to keep him as my doctor.  I love his way of seeing medicine, how laid back he is and the way he talks to me like I have 4 kids, and not like I'm 4 years old.  Unfortunately, I give birth on weekends he's never working, and I just get annoyed with people I don't know and haven't sat down and talked with making decisions for me without me.

Actually, it's really not a reaction against anybody.  It's more of a discovery of a midwife's model of care, and it lines of perfectly with my personal philosophy.  Prenatal appointments are about an hour long with midwives and you cover so many more things than vitals and charts.  You discuss nutrition, herbs, exercise in depth and they actually have time to talk about your family and emotions.  Midwives do things differently than doctors, and I like their way of thinking.

So I'm going with a midwife this time.  I just met with her this last week and I just love her.  She's been attending births for about 30 years and is so knowledgeable about natural birth she astounds me.  She'll let me do my thing, and I believe will respect my pigheaded long as everyone is safe. Already she taught me that the Tums I take for heartburn...although very safe may be stopping some of the iron absorption in my body, and suggests I take chewable papaya enzymes instead.  Since iron has always been a big deal for me, I find that info very helpful.  We're off to a good start.

I still have the same fears, the same nausea, the same loss of appetite, the same excitement.  So much is the same.  However, I move forward with more confidence, I know when my freaking out is a phase, or if it means something.  I know how I want to be helped for the birth, and what it will feel like.  I already have a maternity wardrobe, but can afford 2-3 new pieces from ebay to spruce it up.  I know the sickness is almost done, and I will soon tear this house apart in a cleaning tangent.  I cannot wait for that, because it's really bad right now.  There are still unknowns, but there are less of them.

I like this 5th time around.  It's been good.