a gift idea!

I just saw this book and have meant to blog about it since August. If you have a 4-10 year old on your Christmas list, I cannot recommend this book enough! It is written by Julie Edwards...Julie Andrews Edwards, as in Mary Poppins and Maria VonTrapp. And as darling as Julie seems to be on screen, she seems to be just as darling in her writing.

We read this aloud this summer and could not put it down. The kids noticed I kept leaving at night with the book in hand and realized I was reading ahead. Busted. That was not okay with them. My mom babysat one night and read a chapter with them and said, "I'd like to borrow that book when you guys are done so I know how it ends."

It's a sweet tale of an orphan girl who finds a mysterious abandoned house and begins to clean it and tend the gardens...it's sort of all of our dreams come true. Nothing is too stressful, some parts hold suspense and the whole thing is delightful.

Alright. I feel better knowing that I spread the word on this super sweet book. Here's the link to Amazon to buy it for your kids, grandkids or honestly, yourself. Totally yourself. (Different Cover...I think mine is from the original printing. But it's the same book. :)

...wait. did I already blog about this? There is a lot going on in my life. Sorry if this is a repeat!

a good question and a good answer

Ivar asked me just now, "Mom, why do we have finger nails?"

And I tried to answer about how it is helpful to have a little hard thing to get batteries out of things and for digging in the dirt.  But ultimately I told him, I have no idea.

Elsie buzzed in, "Mom! They're for polish!"

Alden's Baptism

The Sunday of Thanksgiving we woke up and went to Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church, the church my parents started as a mission start back in 1981. I was the first baby baptized in this congregation, baptized by my dad. And here we were 36 years later, my dad baptizing my 4th baby. 
My parents and Ivar and Elsie stood up as his sponsors and it was really sweet. The next day I heard Elsie downstairs talking to Alden in the exosaucer. When I came around the corner she said proudly, "Mom, I just taught him the first seven commandments and what they mean." And she had. I had been hearing that but not piecing together that she was fulfilling the vows she had spoken the day before. Her falcetto voice was saying, "you shall not steal. Alden, you do not want to take anything that is not yours. Even if you find it on the ground. If it is not yours, you cannot take it."

I felt really convicted by how serious she was taking this responsibility. And I have since made a list of all the kids that I have stood as a sponsor for (I have 9!) and want to be speaking into their life, like Elsie is speaking into Alden's.
We had lunch and family pictures taken, worshipped in the big sanctuary and then went to Annika's for the afternoon and had taco's for dinner. This was our last day together of a whirlwind, wonderful three days. I would give anything to have my nieces and nephew around to babysit my children! We love them and miss them so much!

Sweatpants Saturday

The Saturday of Thanksgiving I had the clan over to my house and, based on all that we were stuffing into the weekend, titled the day 'Sweatpants Saturday.' I sent word out the week before that we would have brunch, lay low, play board games, work on a puzzle, look at picture albums, snack, have a soup supper and relax. And that's just what we did. Different groups went into town to shop, some waked the road and Rory lit a burn pile. It was a sunny, content day. And as you can see in these pictures, the board games we created were played over and over and over. Here all three were being played at the same time and we adults did nothing to orchestrate this! Rory actually came and got me while I was getting brunch ready and quietly said, "bring your camera. you have got to see what I just walked in to." There could have been no higher compliment given to these three, fun games.

We had egg bake, grapes and muffins. And then my Aunt Louie (my mom's sister) came for a few hours so she could see my brother and the rest of our family. Oh, and Uncle Mark was with us the whole weekend too (my dad's brother). I love that he was able to be with us.
These kids started racing Hex Bugs and barely were seen again. They named each Hex Bug and timed it's performance through the same course while racing against other bugs. Bugs were named: Killer Rose, Deep Ocean, SheKicks, Rookie Green, Orange Blades, Starry Night, Baby Blue and scores for each bug were written down on a sheet of paper. The kids were yelling and cheering for their bug and it was hilarious and rowdy. I have since played with Ivar a few times and this is a super fun game.
So that was Sweatpants Saturday. It was a good thing because the next morning we all got dressed up for church, family pictures, Alden's baptism and then a day at Annika's house. More on that tomorrow...

Thanksgiving 2017 #2

The day after Thanksgiving, we went to my parent's house for another day of family and good food. My brother and his family flew in for the weekend, and as always when they come into town everyone stops everything and we soak up every minute of together time. We only get to see these cousins once, maybe twice, a year, so it is special, special time.

This picture above is a new favorite. All 10 grandkids are in that room (Nellie is behind the green chair) and just hanging out. These ten are so, so great. And they are really great friends. On Saturday when we were going to bed Ivar told me, "mom, when Simon leaves, I am going to weep. He is so clever and creative when we play legos and hex bugs." They are a fun crew and really nice kids. I just love each one to PIECES!
I never got a picture of the whole clan, but I did get the 10 grandkids. And a few more involving board games and frosting sugar cookies. We played Family Hide and Go Seek again, adults were invited to watch a play where every kid died by the end (a real tragedy with no hope or redemption. I told them I needed more of an upper next time! ha!) and Hattie got non-stop attention. You can tell in these pictures that she decided she was a big kid. And her awesome big cousins let her be one.