Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Puffy Balls and Structure

So sorry I didn't do the "I'm Blessed" post yesterday.  In all honesty, I completely forgot until this morning.  Yesterday I took the kids to the library, and when we got home, Solveig was feeling a bit warm.  A few hours later, her temperature was rising very fast.  Knut came home for lunch, and we decided that we should take her into her regular doctor instead of the walk-in clinic like we did a week ago.

We stayed awhile at the clinic, because our pediatrician wanted to do not only a strep culture, but a urine test to check for UTIs, which both she and I were leaning towards as the cause.  (Well, we both thought it was either that or teething with a super high temperature, and we both wanted to rule out UTI.)  Getting a urine sample from a baby is not a simple thing, and I'm grateful that our ped was patient enough to see if we could get it without giving her a catheter.  It took over an hour, and Solveig was uneasy, but we were able to rule that out.  In fact, all tests came back negative.  She still is acting herself, though tired.  She still smiles and jabbers and plays.  She was eating and drinking like she didn't have a fever of 102-103+.  No runny nose, no ear infection.  Just really hot!  I don't think I would have brought her in if she didn't have a 5 day fever that ended at the beginning of last week that also had no cause.

I got really uneasy at night because I gave her ibuprofen as directed around 6pm, when her temperature was 102.  When I put all the kids to bed at 8pm, when the fever reducer had been in her system for 2 hours, her temperature had risen to 103.5.  I wasn't sure what to do at that point.  I had been rotating ibuprofen and Tylenol, so I gave her the next dose of Tylenol, said a prayer for her and put her down to sleep.  She was so tired.

Since her fever had risen with the medication, I was wondering if I should take her into the emergency room.  None of my kids have ever been that hot while medicated.  I decided to wait an hour and see how she progressed, checking her temp every hour.  Fortunately, after an hour, she had dropped to 102.  Another hour dropped another degree.  At midnight, she woke up by herself all sweaty and cool.  She had no fever at that point, and she didn't need any more medicine through the night.  She did wake up every hour wanting to be held, though.  It was an exhausting night.

It didn't help that Knut left for work just before 6:30 this morning.  He gets to drive a tractor over 100 miles away to pick something up, then drive back.  It will take him pretty much all day.  So if you see a tractor going 20 miles an hour on the road today, wave to my husband, and be safe.

Anyway, now that we're all caught up, let me tell you about these puffy balls.  It's our new "system" that we're trying out in our house.
I found this idea on Pinterest, and adapted it quite a bit.  I've been having trouble this summer, and during the school year for that matter, with keeping the kids productive.  You see, I'm not sure if it's all homeschool kids or not, but my kids often finish their work by lunch.  That means they have all afternoon of free time, and all they want to do is: watch tv, play on the computer, and play our little Pac man cheap video game.  I like that they have free time, but I hate that the only way I can keep them quiet so the toddler and preschooler can nap is to just let them watch t.v. all afternoon. 

I just don't like it, but I also don't want to spend all afternoon giving them chores.  They do a pretty fair share load of chores already, and I don't think it's fair for them to spend many hours a day doing chores.  I'd much rather see them explore outside, read books for fun, build forts, and do other fun kid stuff.  However, all afternoon is one long whine for the television or other screens.

After lots of threatening, and taking the t.v. away, and headaches, and disciplining, I've sought out a way to get the kids excited about doing "good things" during their free time.  They obviously need some more guidance in this area.  I want them exploring, learning, or serving others during their free time.  So here's what we're starting this week.

Just like always, they start their day off with their lists.  This has worked REALLY well for us during the school year, as it's not complicated and all expectations of the day are laid out on the table.  The only hard part is that I have to make sure their lists are done the night before without fail.  If I put the list together after breakfast on the same day, the kids are already distracted and wandering around, and the whole day is a challenge to keep them focused.

The kids each have a composition notebook (that we still haven't gotten around to decorating) that I write their daily lists in.  On the top of one page, I write the date, and then a list of things I want that child to do that day.  This includes both school assignments as well as chores.  I write out each worksheet that they need to complete, piano practice time, taking a shower, cleaning their room, doing the dishes, chapters of books that need to be completed, dogs that need to be walked, etc.  These assignments/chores aren't rewarded.  It's just what needs to get done because I said so.  Some of them are fun like "pick one craft from our crafting book and complete", and as much as I can, I let the kids pick which order they get their work done.

However, when they get their list completed, the rest of the day is theirs.  That's where I've had problems. I don't want to give them 12 hours of school/chores.  I want them to run around and play without begging for a screen. Now during this time, they can do what they want as far as playing.  However, they have the option to earn some puffy balls.  It's completely optional, but my kids are already so consumed with it.  We'll see how long it lasts.

Here are some things that get them puffy balls:

1 puffy ball for reading 30 minutes of reading for fun.
1 puffy ball for playing outside for 30 minutes.
2 puffy balls for folding a load of laundry and putting it away.
2 puffy balls for picking up the toys in the basement
2 puffy balls for cleaning out the messy van.
1 puffy ball for saying a school memory card on a non-test day.  (Test day is Friday.  If they can say their memory work science card on Monday, they get a ball.  Tuesday gets a ball for the same memory work, etc.  They really strive for this, as we have 6 cards of memory work a week, they can earn up to 6 balls a day for getting memorizing their cards early.)
1 puffy ball for emptying 3 full trash cans in the house and putting in clean liners.
2 puffy balls for writing and editing a letter to someone they love.
2 puffy balls for picking weeds for 30 minutes

There's a few more, and we're still modifying it.  Here's what they can buy with their puffy balls:

15 balls = 30 minutes of t.v.
15 balls = 30 minutes of computer time.
15 balls = 30 minutes of video games.
(marked) = extra treats (I have a basket for school of fun pencils, sparkly notebooks, stickers, etc.  They can pick a treat marked with a price)
100 balls = date with Mommy or Daddy

The first day it was tough for them to learn that they only had time to earn 7-8 balls.  They were a bit upset they didn't even get any t.v. that day.  However, family movie nights don't cost any balls.  Those are just family dates.  There are other rules, that we're figuring out as we go.  I'm hoping by this fall we'll have a good system worked out.  For instance, we have a rule that puffs are for good attitudes only.  That rule was written out from the beginning.  If they start whining and complaining, it's no longer serving the family and the job stays, but the puffs go.  This happened when David started cleaning out the van.  When he realized that the job took longer than 5 minutes, he stomped his foot and said he didn't want to do it anymore. I gave him one big encouragement that I thought he'd do a great job, and reminded him he had to have a good attitude.  When his attitude got worse, and he was dragging his feet and saying how terrible of a job it was, I made him finish the job, but gave him no puffy balls for reward.  He used up his reward by whining and complaining.  He was not happy, but obediently finished.  He finished with such a good attitude that I gave him 1 ball back.

Silje has decided to give up t.v. entirely and just save up for a date with her Daddy.  David wants it all.  He wants a date, (and picked me to go with him!) but he hates staring at 15 balls, and knowing his favorite show is on and he could watch it if he spent all he had.  It's a good debate I see going on inside of him.  They are learning, and using their time a bit wiser, and that's just on day 2.  I'm interested to see how day 20 will be.  So far it's just for the older 2 kids, as I don't think Elias and Solveig could grasp it, and neither one of them have trouble just sitting and enjoying the day and people around them.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Wedding Day

Last night, Knut's brother got married to his sweetheart who he's been with since 7th or 8th grade.  I forget.  They met in one and started dating in the other, I think?  I'm shamed to say that I did not get a picture of the bride and groom to share, but I had pity on those poor people who went through hours of picture taking.  Congratulations to Lars and Molly!

Yesterday in our family was pretty crazy.  I had to work in the morning to get Silje and my hair done before we headed out to the church.  I changed the kids when we got there, and I'm glad we decided to do that.  There were 2 major spills in the car on the way out.  It's just too typical.  I got the boys some little suits at the kids' consignment store about an hour away.  Well, the girls got their dresses too, so I guess that's our store!

Taking pictures with the bride and groom and their nieces and nephews was quite an ordeal because there are now 11 ages 8 and under.  We remembered that the last time one of Knut's siblings got married, Silje was the only grandchild at the time, and I was pregnant with David.  Those were simpler times back then.

Knut's sister, Rondi, was smart and brought the movie "Up" for the kids to watch at the church while they waited a few hours between pictures and the ceremony.  I ended up having to leave the ceremony because Solveig was screaming for joy.  Silje and David had the job of handing out programs.  They did fabulous.

The reception was at a golf course, and we had wonderful treats, cupcakes, food, and to top it off, my kids' favorite part: the dance!  The boys had a tough time waiting for the music to start, and ended up wrestling nearly non stop.  I think with a whole day having to sit still and be quiet and strange people and places, they needed to burn off some steam.  So I just let them.

Pictures of the dance didn't turn out too well.  Knut's dad never dances at these things ever.  Silje mentioned to me during the meal that she wanted to dance with grandpa.  Trying to let her down easy, I explained to her that Grandpa never dances.  Wide eyed, she said, "Never?"  To reinforce my point, I said, "Yes, I'd pay you $2 if you could get Grandpa to dance."  Well, she did it.  It drew quite a crowd.

The kids danced non-stop.  Knut pulled me out there too, and we had so much fun!  The band there was amazing and I loved them and the good ol' songs they played.  David has a break dance style that usually got a circle around him cheering, and Elias pretty much went to town too.  It was the cutest thing ever.  My other favorite moment of the night, was seeing our pastor take Solveig from my arms and groove with her out there to the tune "Play Than Funky Music, White Boy."

On the lows, Solveig was so clingy all day, so my back began to hurt.  I fell in the parking lot to the reception, and skinned my knee and twisted my ankle a bit.  Not enough to keep me from dancing, so it couldn't have been too bad.  David bruised his knee once, dancing and had to sit out 2 songs.  I'm told he had a failed cartwheel out there.

Bringing the kids home was a hoot as I'm not sure I've ever seen all 4 of them so tired.  Knut stayed to the end, but I went home to put them to bed.  It was about a 30 minute hysterical operation as none of them could wake up.  It's 9:30am here, and Elias is still sleeping.  I should probably wake him up eventually.

Today so far is restful.  I've been drinking water like crazy since I'm certain I didn't get enough yesterday.  The kids haven't melted down over anything yet, so that's good.

Welcome to our crazy family, Molly. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Yarn Along

I finished all the pieces to the French Press Slippers, and now all that is needed to finish is to sew them together, felt them, sew on the buttons, and measure, cut, and sew on the leather reinforcements on the bottom.  I wonder if all those last steps will get done any time soon.  The "finished" pieces have been sitting here for over a week, so I'm not too optimistic.  I'm terrible at finishing work, and this project seems to me about half finishing work.  I wouldn't have picked it if they weren't so cute!

Well, actually my crafting room has been terribly messy.  That's been part of the problem.  I've been working so hard to stay on top of the rest of the house, that the "sewing room" has been sorely neglected all summer.  It's becoming a dumping space and it got to the point where you couldn't even walk in comfortably.  Yesterday, I got about half of it cleaned up during nap time.  That was the great accomplishment of the day.

For reading, I took the recommendation of Kristin Lavransdatter from Ginny, and ordered it for some beach reading in Hawaii coming up in less then a month!  It's a huge book, which surprised me.  As I went through it, I saw I had accidentally ordered the trilogy of 3 books.  So there should be no lack of reading for me to do.

I sneaked a peak of the book when I was sitting in Elias' room the other day waiting for him to fall asleep.  He's been getting into the habit of sneaking out of bed so quietly during nap time, and getting into all sorts of mischief.  So I've gotten in the habit of sitting in the rocking chair in his room until he falls asleep.  It's been working so well, and he's been falling asleep so quickly that yesterday I decided he's probably over the hump, and I probably don't need to sit in his room anymore.

Well, I was wrong, because about 30 minutes later I went to check on him, and he was covered all over with red permanent marker from a Sharpie that I have no idea whatsoever how he got a hold of.  He colored the walls, his sheets, his clothes, the windows, and some of the windowsills.  Fortunately we've just removed the wallpaper from his room, and have not painted it yet.  Still, I scrubbed him in the bath, and he still has red marker all over, which does not fair well for his uncle's wedding coming up in 2 days.  At least I have him wearing long sleeves for that day.  That should help.

Anyway, back to the book.  It took me awhile to get into because there are so many Norwegian names, and so many places and the book is set in medieval history.  However, I'm about a third of the way through the first book and I am having a harder and harder time putting it down.  I think I may have to be careful after all not to read too much before vacation so I actually have something to read when I get there.

Monday, July 23, 2012

I'm Blessed

I have been so blessed this last week to have Knut home so much.  I've gotten so much done around the house, it's almost like we got the house "company ready" but just for us. 

Knut finished painting the upstairs bathroom and hung an old cabinet in there as well.  The new shower curtain was hung, and now we just need some towel hooks.  I may spray paint (er...get Knut to spray paint) the gold light fixture in there to match the rest, as I did in the dining room.  (With the dining room chandelier, I spray painted it a textured brown, and then sprayed over it very lightly with copper to get an old bronze finish.  I miss the days when we had HGTV.)  It worked so well in the dining room, I don't hesitate to do it again.  I'm so excited that yet another room in this house is getting done, even if it's just a little one.

I'll have to post pictures later. 

I'm so blessed to have Solveig come with me to my midwife appointment.  She wanted to badly to play with the little baby doll in the "model uterus" on the shelf and the midwife took it all apart so Solveig could parade around the room with a baby in her arms and feeling really important.  Needless to say, Solveig really liked her.  Ultrasound is scheduled a week from Thursday.  I'm anxious to see this little one!

I'm blessed that Knut came home this afternoon saying he has the rest of the afternoon off...as well as the rest of the week.  I guess this dry spell is making for little work on the farm.  He's excited for a big chunk of time to work on the school bookshelves in the den.  I'm quite excited that he's excited to do that.  Not that we'd be disappointed with rain.  Nope, wouldn't be disappointed at all.  We are blessed with some time to get things done at home, though.

However, he won't spend all week on the built-in bookshelves.  His brother, Lars, is getting married this weekend.  Lots of parties and events and pictures and appointments will follow for at least parts of our family, and some for all of us.  Weddings are such blessings!

I was blessed to drop David off at Bible camp.  We sort of dropped him off in a hurry so I didn't have a chance to dwell on the emotions of it.  He's spending Sunday afternoon, all day Monday, and Tuesday morning out at camp.  He was so nervous, and so excited.  I'm sure he's having the time of his life.  In his place at home, Elias has been fighting with Silje.  Good to know Elias was ready to step up to the plate. 

I was blessed to finally catch my sister on the phone this morning.  We're both having crazy summers, and it was fun to finally touch base with her.  What a huge blessing that was!

I know it's late in the day, but don't hesitate to join in whenever you read this!  Leave a comment saying how God has blessed you this last week and share with us all!  It's good to take a moment to pause and praise Him from whom all blessings flow!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Yarn Along

This week I cast on a project from an actual written pattern that I did not write and have never done before.  It's so stinkin' relaxing not to have to analyze what I'm knitting, I can't even begin to say.  I'm making myself some slippers using the French Press Knits pattern.  I've wanted to make myself these felted slippers for awhile.  My last ones were supposed to be bunny slippers, but I finished the main portion of them before I even got the bunny ears on, and refused to ever take them off again.  3 months later, there were holes all over them.  What can I say...they were my "work shoes."

So in anticipation of making tons of baby things in the coming months, I thought I'd get a head start on my winter slippers.  This pattern is going so fast, though, that I could have 3 pairs done by next week if I wanted.  It's fast!  It will have a lot of seaming though, and that will be my downfall.  I hate seaming.  My sister gave me a few years ago an ugly old leather coat for use in my crafting.  I'm thinking of cutting it up to put some soles on the bottom this time so they will last longer than my last pair.

For reading, we've been eagerly pouring over our booklets and pamphlets for our trip to Hawaii, which is now less than a month away.  When Knut and I first got married, we promised each other that we'd go some place amazing every 10 years, just the 2 of us.  It had to be someplace neither one of us had been before.  Since we just celebrated our 10 year anniversary, Hawaii is in our sight.

In my logical brain, I think it's important that we continue to do things just the 2 of us when we can.  We love our kids, but they so easily come between us.  We don't want to look at each other when all our kids leave home and wonder what on earth we ever had in common.

However, last night as we looked over hiking trail maps, and restaurant locations, we went to bed and I fell asleep thinking about my kids.  My emotional brain took over, and the thought of leaving my kids for a whole week, and going half an ocean away made it hard to breathe.

Sure, leaving them is what I'm most looking forward to.  I'm looking forward to not having my thoughts interrupted every 2 seconds.  I'm looking forward to sleeping in and hopping in the car without bags of diapers and toys, and wrestling wiggling toddlers into straps.  I'm looking forward to eating meals when they are hot.  I'm looking forward to laying on the beach with my husband, and not having to chase any child away from danger.

At the same time, I dread the whole idea of leaving them.  Espeically Solveig who is so little.  I'm so going to miss her snuggles, and she's a really snuggly baby.  I'm going to miss Elias' funny phrases, David's inquisitive brain, and Silje's insight into everything.  I'm going to miss reading with them at night.  Already, I'm planning on avoiding anything there that says "family friendly" like aquariums where I'll see a ton of kids having a grand time.

I know this is good for us.  I am truly excited.  You moms out there might be able to relate to the paradox of emotions that goes on with leaving your kids.

In the mean time, this trip is already growing more expensive as we prepare to leave.  Knut mentioned that he has farm clothes, and church clothes, but only 1 pair of shorts and 2 nice shirts that are for just casual wear.  We don't just "hang out" a lot, I guess.  So we got him 2 more shorts, and I need to go shopping and get him a few more shirts.  I've been getting a few things here, as I don't have a lot of summery maternity things that fit me from my first pregnancy where I bought a lot of summer things.  I'm a big ebay shopper when it comes to maternity clothes.  Fortunately I've been pregnant enough times that I know what brands in what sizes fit me.  Right now I'm splurging on a new swimsuit so I can have 2 for the week.  It was worn twice before and the bidding is up to 2.99.  I need some good walking sandals.  That's next on our list, because we plan a lot of walking.  I won't be getting those on ebay.

I cannot believe that we're going to Hawaii.  Seriously, it's ever so slowly becoming reality.

Linking up with Ginny.  I love her blog.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Accidental Rebels

Well, I'm using my app again today but I don't like it.  The kids are on the other computer, though.  

I messed up.  I dropped the ball, but it was bound to happen.  I missed the deadline for my kids to submit 4H projects at the county fair.  I've actually known that for awhile, but had a hard time breaking it to all of them.  I actually totally forgot about the county fair as it never made it to the calendar, and as we all know, if it's not on the calendar, it doesn't exist.  

Turns out it starts tomorrow. 

I felt so bad.  I could barely tell Silje that her unfinished projects wouldn't make it.  I had to tell myself it's to late to submit things myself.  Well, I don't know that for sure, but I know the fair opens tomorrow and I have nothing ready, and no time to drop anything off.  Silje and I were both disappointed.  I told her, "this is why I don't have you in dance and have parties all the time and 30 different animals around here.  All the stuff we want to do takes some juggling, and I just can't juggle it all". She got that.  She actually handled it really well.  

I was really nervous about telling Knut, the big proponent in our family of 4H and major fair-goer.  His response: "O thank goodness.  Does this mean we can skip the fair this year?  With the wedding (his brother's wedding is less than 2 weeks away now) and the brothers trying to all get together, and our friends moving away, and getting the bookshelves done, and getting the bathroom painted.  Plus the kids have sports camp at night this week, and I don't even know when we could go!  We just have a lot going on!  Please say we don't even have to go!  'Cause that would be awesome!  It will save us over $100 in rides alone!"

So he took it well.

We're skipping the fair this year, and breaking some pretty serious unspoken farming rules, I think.  Just call us the rebels.  
Well, more like the accidental rebels.  

We totally forgot about the town parade earlier this summer too.  I know...the kids missed out on buckets of cheap candy.
There's always next year to be good country people.

I blog with BE Write

Monday, July 16, 2012

I'm Blessed

Did I really only blog 2 times last week?  In my head I had about 2 more posts.  I need to snap out of this Summer craze and get a routine...something that seems sorely lacking every Summer.

Last week I got on top of my whole empty-freezer-situation and got lots of beef stock (broth) made, cooked up some dried beans so they were ready to throw into some meal.  Those went in the freezer too, along with about 6 meatloaves, and 3 very large batches of beef stroganoff.  I meant to get 8 family sized chicken pot pies done too, but that had to get moved to this week.
I'm blessed to have a helpers in my freezer cooking ventures that actually are capable of helping.

I spent 2 days cleaning my house from morning to night as well.  I think it's safe to say that I'm out of the fatigue portion of pregnancy and into the nesting mode.  I'm so excited to be at this point.  Surprisingly, my house is still not "clean" to me.  I'm gaining on it though, and that's a good feeling.  I may not reach "clean" for another 2 decades or so.

We're going through a big change out here on the farm.  It's one we've been hoping and praying about for the last few years, and one that is still filled with some unknowns, but the ball is rolling.

Knut's brother and family have moved out, as I've mentioned.  We're enjoying having them out here without the rushed time frame that normally happens, but we're still seeing them often because of the newness of it.  They're staying at Knut's parents for the time being until jobs and housing are finally settled. We are not anticipating him working on the farm with Knut, as he has some good prospects elsewhere.  We're praying that it will all get settled soon.  Living out of boxes is never easy.

Elias is a bit older than his twin cousins, and he's pleased as can be with his "new" playmates and is constantly asking to go over to Grandma's house.

 This girl wandered around the yard while the rest of the kids were playing the other day.  She wouldn't take off the bike helmet that was about 10 sizes too big for her.  O, she melts me.  It's seriously becoming a problem.

She is becoming so much trouble...and so are those cheeks...and dimples.

It's hard not to let life's little blessings make your heart explode sometimes.

We are blessed with a good crop so far.  We've been hearing about on many farms across the country seriously lacking in rain, and our little valley may be one of the best spots right now.  Not that we couldn't use about 2 inches of slow rain, be we cannot deny we are being very blessed.

I always think the fields look like different grades of corduroy.  Leave it to me to see fabric wherever I go.

We were also very blessed this week that David finally got his teeth issues resolved.  This Spring he needed 2 root canals on his baby teeth.  We got one done at our family dentist, who said he could not do David's 2nd tooth because David was just too active for him to handle.  He recommended a pediatric dentist.  We called several who said they could start the whole initial appointment process and all new x-rays in about 2 months, and then would schedule a probable root canal 1 month or 2 after that process.  It was hard to explain on the phone that the root canal needed to be done ASAP, not in 3 months.  None of them were willing to quote me prices for x-rays, procedures, or anything.  Frankly, one receptionist made me feel like I was a bad mother for trying to put a price on my son's health.  "The price shouldn't matter as long as he's healthy, right?"  Well, right, but it's kinda nice to know what to plan for, and if this particular office has twice the price of my son's health than the office down the road.  It was extremely frustrating.

Well, I found a pediatric dentist off my referral list from my dentist, but recommended by several moms I know.  Requiring no initial appointment, they just let me schedule a time 3 weeks out for David to just go in.  They'd see what exactly was going on, and fix it that day.  Prices were quoted for various things as well!

It turned out that about a week and a half before we were supposed to go in to the pediatric guy, David's tooth began to ache badly.  Eating became a big problem.  So I called the new dentist and asked if we could get in early.  The dentist offered for David to come in right away.  He had to work through his lunch break in order to see David, but it was wonderful.  The tooth ended up being infected and needed to be pulled.  I'm happy he's just not in pain anymore. 
If you would like to share this lovely Monday morning how God has blessed you or taken care of you, it would be great to hear from you! You can leave a comment below, or a link to your blog in the comments section on your own "I'm Blessed" post.  Be sure to link back to here in your post if you leave your link.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Yarn Along

Well, today for the Yarn Along, I'm sharing a bit of my most recent finished object, the Madame Phelps Shawl, which I dedicated a whole post to last Saturday.  I need to use shawls more so I can justify making more.  It's so fun.

For reading, I'm finished up Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife.  This has been one of the most enjoyable reads I've had in awhile.  I may have posted about it a few weeks ago, but it's worth another shout out.  As I'm nearing the end, I should give my disclaimers that there is some bad language in the book.  There is a very wide variety of people and religion and worldviews represented in here.  Not all the births end happily.  However, I will still maintain that this is one of the best books on birth I have ever read.  It's not scary, or intimidating.  It's honest and heartfelt.  It's laugh-until-you-cry funny and hold-your-breath suspense.
I think my favorite thing about the book is that most books I've read on birth have such a huge hatred of natural births, or a huge hatred of hospitals and modern medicine.  This wouldn't fit into either.  The midwife worked as a labor and delivery nurse for many years before she went to midwifery school, and then had hospital privileges as well as delivered at home.   She loves medicine.  She loves letting nature do it's thing.  I love that.  It's one of the most balanced books on birth I've encountered, and everything she writes about it resonates so true with me.

Plus, it's just a fun read.

In other news, we have an invalid in the house.  Silje is off her feet as she got what we assume is a bee sting last weekend.  Sunday afternoon she was running in the sprinklers and came crying over to me to say there was a thorn in her toe, and her toes felt crooked.  I examined her foot and pulled out what looked like a thistle thorn.  It came out easily.  What concerned me was that her toes felt crooked.  I felt them all and didn't find anything wrong with any of them, and Silje didn't even wince a little as I examined her.  So I said we'd keep our eye on it, and she can go back to playing.  So she romped back off to the sprinklers.

The next morning, she complained that her foot itched like crazy.  I looked at it and it was very swollen and red and puffy.  It didn't feel warm like an infection, but she couldn't stop itching.  So we put some hydrocortazone cream on it, but she said that didn't help.  So I gave her some Benedryl, and she said that helped a lot.  We kept her on Benedryl all day, which controlled the itching, but the swelling didn't seem to dwindle at all so we ice packed it and elevated it for the day.

I called the nurse's hotline with my insurance, and they told me what to look for if it's infected, but if the Benedryl is working, they agreed it seemed more of an allergic reaction than infection.  So we decided to wait and see a few days.

Tuesday morning it looked better, and I needed to run some errands, so Silje put on some flip flops and went all over town with me.  We rested it in the afternoon, and then went to her grandparents that night to hang out with all of her cousins in the pool and slip n slide.  She requested Benedryl again all day, but it still didn't look better.  I decided if it didn't look much better this morning, I'd take her in to have it looked at.  I still saw no warmth, no pussing, no rings, no hardness that would make me think infection.  However this was dragging on...or maybe I just let her on her feet too much that day.

This morning the swelling was almost gone, and Silje said the toes weren't pressing against each other any more.   The itchiness was still intense so we're going on day 3 of Benedryl.  I'm keeping her off her feet just to be safe, and she doesn't seem to mind.  A day reading books on the couch is right up her alley.
I'm hoping that's the end of that.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Yesterday was lovely.  I'm pretty sure I offended a short list of people, but I was determined to have a "down day."  After our crazy weekend, and family staying with us (although helpful, still off the norm) I was eager for just one day when the kids took normal naps at the normal time, and we didn't leave the house or have visitors.

The phone rang off the hook in the morning.  Someone wanted me to bring bars (cookies) to something.  No.  Someone wanted me to drop something off.  No.  We ran out of milk, but I did not go to the store.  Knut had a softball game, but I did not go to cheer him on with 4 munchkins in tow.  No, I stayed home and did nothing.  It was a day where I said "no" to about everything, and just rested with the kids.  It's not that I was physically so exhausted, but mentally I needed some peace.  I absolutely require these days, and Sunday had a bit too much running around for me for it to be considered rest.  Well, for me.  Knut felt so refreshed by seeing all the people we saw.  I love all the people we saw, but then I needed some non-people time.

Knut said the wet lake things that we hung on the clothesline on Sunday might be dry now.  Ha!  That's how bad it was.  So today it was back to work.   The washing machine is once again running, and our kitchen once again has clean counter tops.  I'm working on finally switching over my closet to maternity clothes again...a project that has been taking me a really long time for some reason.

There's a terrible smell when you go upstairs in our house, and I did spend some time walking around and sniffing.  At first I thought it might be a lost diaper.  It only smells when you're on the stairs, though, and doesn't smell once you get to the top.  With Elias using underwear for over a month now, it's not usual for him to have accidents and not tell me about it, but I wiped down the bathroom anyway.  The smell was driving me mad.

It was in the afternoon when I realized what on earth I was smelling, although I did not physically locate it.  It was the smell of decaying mouse that must be coming from the floor of the upstairs/ceiling of the downstairs.  There's a space in between that we know mice dwell, and one must have died.  It's driving this pregnant lady's nose bonkers.  Fortunately, whenever we encounter dead-mouse smell it goes away in less than a week.

I'm sure you all loved that little story.

One of these days we're going to break down and get a cat.  Today is not that day, but perhaps someday.  I'm not a cat person, and neither is Knut.  However, I'm even less of a mouse person.  Silje's a cat person, so maybe she'll take care of it.  Maybe.

The chicks are nearly as big as the chickens now, and they don't run from me terrified anymore.  They now just step slowly away, but stay close enough to see if I have food.  They're really growing on me.  I'm now beginning to believe they're all girls.  In the beginning, since they were various ages we wondered if we had accidentally picked up some roosters, but so far I don't see any signs of that.  I'm not breathing a full sigh of relief, but my hope is up.

So today we ran some errands in town, saw my brother and sister-in-law who just temporarily moved into Knut's parents house down the road until they find a place.  They just finished a big drive from New Jersey with their kids and I'm so happy they finally took the plunge and moved out here.  My brother-in-law is pretty cool, but I must admit, I'm so stinkin' excited my sister-in-law will be close.   She's another city girl like me, and sometimes it feels like my mind works so differently than everyone else around here.  I'm grateful to have another like-minded kindred spirit nearby.

Lastly, since I fell off the blogging-wagon last week when my family was in town, I thought I'd post my 2 favorite pictures from the 4th of July celebration.

One is my little Solveig Joy.  She found her big sister's sunglasses and would not take them off.  She was posing while someone next to me started snapping pictures.  The diva...

Here's Solveig and her great-grandpa (known the the kids as Oldefar which means 'oldest father' in Norwegian).  His name is Jorolf, and it's his cabin we always celebrate at.  He inherited the cabin from his father, so the family that gathers is quite extensive.  The kids always enjoy playing on the 4th with their 3rd cousins.  I'm pretty sure I have no idea who any of my 3rd cousins even are, but my kids could name off their favorites.  Jorolf and his wife, Alice are in their 90s but still live in their home not far from us on the farm.  Our kids adore them.  Jorolf can't see much anymore, but he still smiles grandly at the great-grandkids, and speaks to them in Norwegian, which none of them understand but he still feels is important to do.  I think it's wonderful.

Monday, July 9, 2012

I'm Blessed

Ok, so I'm testing out my new blogging app today.  Still haven't figured out the pictures on the iPad, so you'll have to brace yourself for a good picture dump on here later in the week.

I'm so blessed with a catch-up day today.  My parents left on Friday night.  Saturday morning I went to a bridal shower, and Saturday night we went to a wedding reception for a different couple.  I left my camera at home because I get tempted to take pictures of fun events and post them all over my blog.  I don't, though, because I don't want my friends to wonder "I wonder if this will go on her blog?". 

However, I wish I would have taken my camera and posted pictures all over the blog for you for the wedding reception because it was so cool!!  They had a barn dance for the party, and it was all outside with a band with a fiddle and banjo.  They had a caller who taught everyone how to swing your partner and promenade.  The tables were decorated with wild flowers the couple had picked and put in canning jars.

The head table was decorated with pennants of antique hankies, and pictures of the couple were clothes pinned to strings crisscrossing old window frames.  Hay bales surrounded the dancing area, and while about no one there had even heard of the Virginia Reel, there was a lot of whooping and hollering, as people of all ages learned the old barn dances.  It was fantastic.  Silje danced every dance, and would have gone hours longer if we let her!  Knut and I handed Solveig and Elias off to friends enough to dance 2 times.

Well, then on Sunday we went to church, then after keeping the kids out to 10 the night before, we skipped naps and visited some new friends in the afternoon, then finished off the day with the traditional potluck supper and swim out at Knut's grandparents's lake cabin with all his cousins.

For an introvert like me, my plan for today after a weekend like that is to avoid all people.  My kids all slept in past 8, except Elias who is actually still sleeping.  We're planning nothing today, and I'm so excited.  Knut left for work, giving me all sorts of ideas of what I should do, and I kept reminding him I plan to stare at the wall today.

Maybe I'll finally figure out the blog app.
Maybe I'll read Solveig "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" 358 times...again.
Maybe I'll call my brother and sister in law who are driving their moving trucks our way as I type.  
Maybe I'll make some bread so we can have lunch.
For sure, I'm going to knit.

I'm so blessed with this down day today.  I love it when God hands us some rest.

I blog with BE Write

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Madame Phelps Shawl/Shawlette

I pray that most of us encounter a teacher like Madame Phelps at least once in our education.  Madame Phelps was my high school French teacher.  I entered her classroom at a time in my life when I was probably at the peak of teenage attitude, when my family had undergone a major change, when I felt so lost those hours I was at school.  Basically, I was a bright student of hers who didn't care a bit about her class.  I took it because I liked languages, but I did poorly because I thought it wasn't one of the "important" subjects.  It was merely an elective.

Madame Phelps, however, showed up to class with enthusiasm every day.  I can't even remember one day she didn't wave her arms around with her dark, curly hair piled on her head and flow-y skirts whipping around and make topics from French history to conjugations of irregular verbs come to life.  She plead us with her eyes for us to understand the nonsense coming out of her mouth each afternoon.  At first, she was merely entertaining.

It was in my second year of her class when she fought me to get to me.  She knew I wasn't giving her my all.  She knew I wasn't always telling the truth.  She didn't know all of my inner problems and anger at that time, but I don't think it would have mattered if she did.  She expected my best, and I don't think I could have come up with an excuse that would have satisfied her.  The phone calls and meetings with my parents, the after school time she spent with me over issues I thought were too little for her to make such a fuss about, all of it added up to a teacher who made a big fuss in my life over things most teachers would just let pass.

She fought me, in order to fight for me.  She refused to let me drown in my teenage sorrow.  Now, 15+ years later, I can't remember too much French, although I still dabble in it here and there...every few years.  Sure the language came in handy in college since I studied literature that would have random paragraphs in French with no translation in sight. 

Most of all, I remember her.  I remember her lessons.  I remember her passion and determination.  I remember what she thought I was capable of doing.

This shawl is dedicated to all those teachers out there who fight for their students.

This shawl started by finding this lovely stitch for this lacy border that is called "Versailles" and all I could think of when I read that name was the King Louis the XIV and his elaborate life.  I wondered if ladies in his court actually knit this design.  I remember his life the way Madame Phelps taught it.  I remember the excitement and terror of the French Revolution that followed.  Most of all, I remember my teacher.  So it only seemed appropriate that this pattern is named after her.

So now to switch gears and tell you about this new pattern, and the fun Knut and I had taking pictures for it.

 We waited for dusk for some good lighting.  There were a lot of mosquitoes in our yard...as I'm swatting here.

...and here.

I made the first shawlette shallow in some really pretty Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light yarn in the colorway "thyme."  It was lovely, and is a lovely fingering weight yarn for a shawl.  With multiple swatches and the final product, I used about 1.3 skeins.

It's so much fun to wear.  We had to sneak in a few belly shots too, while we were at it.  I mean...I had make-up on and got my hair cut, so why not go crazy.

The second one I did some variations, which I lay out in the pattern.  I made the back much deeper so it hangs much lower.  This time I bought my yarn locally, using the "just in" yarn at my local yarn store: Malabrigo Sock.  I had a really, really hard time deciding between all the colors, and Silje strongly persuaded me to go with the purple.  I'm so glad she did.  I think the actual colorwave is called "abril."  There's a tad more yardage in these skeins, and I think I knit and stretched the yarn a bit because, when I left off the last 2 rows of the bottom ruffle, I could squeeze the whole shawl out of one skein.  I wouldn't guarantee that this would happen every time, though.  Seriously, I had about 10 feet of leftover yarn, so that's not much wiggle room.

Like the teacher, this shawl will stretch the advanced-beginner.  It's good to know how to do short rows, although the garter stitch ridge covers up loads of mistakes.  I learned a new stitch for this pattern: p2tog-b.  If I can learn a new stitch, so can you, and it's really not that hard.  There's about 50 demonstrations on how to do it on YouTube.  My tech editor generously charted this lace pattern for the pattern as well, for those who prefer to knit lace using charts.  I hope to be like you some day when I'm ready to learn that new knitting skill.  I'll get there.

Finally, for your amusement,

one more belly shot, with me standing at 16 weeks into the pregnancy outside our chicken coop.  Knut calls me the pied piper because the hens are always following me around when I'm outside, and I'm the only one in the family that happens to.

Goldy, one of my girls, came over to my feet and wanted to be picked up so I had to indulge.

When I saw these pictures, I said "I look like some weird bird lady with an obsession for knitting."  Before Knut could mutter "if the shoe fits..." my mom who was visiting said "and that's the real 'Nerdy Gerdy.'"

This pattern can be purchased below by clicking the "buy" button, or on Ravelry.  A pdf file of the pattern will be automatically delivered to your inbox upon payment.  There's a KAL (Knit A-Long) for this shawl/shawlette going on over on Ravelry, and the first 10 people to finish and post pictures on their Ravelry project page will earn a rebate for the cost of the pattern, or a choice of any of my other patterns for free.  I've never hosted a KAL before, so I went a little crazy.

Monday, July 2, 2012

I'm Blessed

My mom told me I need to go blog, so like a good little girl, I'm here to write.  I'm so blessed to have my parents here this week, and the chaos and help that comes along with them.  Chaos because the kids are so thrilled they are here, and help because they take so many burdens off our shoulders when they are here.  My kitchen is always clean, and as we speak, my step-dad and Knut are working on tearing wallpaper in our upstairs bathroom.  It's a project I've been slowly picking away at (literally) for the last year or so.  I'm so excited that we rented a steamer and are planning on just getting it done today!!  Excited doesn't even begin to cover it.

I've been blessed with late night talking into the night with my mom, games of "Sequence" after the kids go to bed, back rubs during the day, and some really good food.  It's really a blessing to have extra hands available all the time to take a child and receives the child with great joy.

This week we'll celebrate the 4th of July at Knut's grandparent's lake cabin, in the biggest party of the year.  I'm still deciding what kind of pie to make.  The pie table there is the main attraction at the party.

This week Knut and I will celebrate 10 years of marriage.  That is a huge blessing, but I don't think we're planning any major celebrating.  We'll wait for Hawaii next month.  I can't believe I just said "Hawaii next month."  It's coming so soon!!!

I'll try to keep up on some blogging this week.  We got an iPad not that long ago to replace our dying laptop, and I have not had great success in blogging from that, so I've been plunking away at our desktop in the basement when I can get away.  I just discovered a new app that might help me with my iPad blogging issues, so when I have some time to figure out how this new app works, I'll be back on the wagon.  I feel so technologically behind, and nothing has made me feel older lately than trying to figure out this new piece of technology.  We're blessed to have it though.  It will be a blessing when I figure it out.  So far I've figured out how to check email and watch movies, so we have the basic things covered. 

I hope you all have a blessed week!  I'd love to hear how you are have been blessed by our great God!