It's 2 17! It's 2 17!

Ivar's watch alarm just went off and he began yelling, "It's Two Seventeen! It's Two Seventeen!" And he kept celebrating while showing me on his digital watch that when he hit mode it said 2:17 for the time AND 2 17 for the date.

And that is your dose of 8-year-old for the day. He's so awesome.

And it is also Ivar's Papa's birthday today! So happy 2 17, Papa!

In other news, one afternoon this week I began singing:
"...I ask no other sunshine than the sunshine of his face;
Content to let the world go by, to know no gain nor loss,
My sinful self my only shame, My glory all, the cross."

And the song stopped me in my tracks because I couldn't figure out why I had even thought of it. Best I can come up with is maybe someone at Aldi was humming it? But I go to a charismatic church now and I haven't sung Beneath the Cross of Jesus in a long, long time. Let alone (what I just looked up to be) part of verse 3!

But it made me happy to know that my inner Lutheran Clock is still going strong. And somehow I just knew it was time to sing Lenten songs!

...except then I googled when Ash Wednesday was this year and it is not until MARCH SIXTH!!! And then I felt a little bit of winter defeat. Because Lent was always a bit of a Spring-Is-Coming countdown too. But apparently it's still a while before the fish-n-chips specials start up... In the meantime, I'll still sing my Lenten songs. I LOVE a good somber, contemplative hymn and Lent definitely does this best!

yes! five!

Apologies for that pregnant pause after posting Ivar's video. I had intended to come on here and further explain, but you know...life is in full swing.

So yes! Five! We are thrilled. We were hopeful for one more and were grateful to be able get pregnant again.

But let me tell you, we didn't see this coming even after Alden was born. We bought our minivan with full belief that we were done and would fit a minivan nicely. Now we will fit a minivan not so nicely. It was strange how our change of heart came about. There was a night where all six of us were up in Ivar and Elsie's room. The kids were playing, a newborn Alden was laying on a blanket on the ground and Rory and I looked at each other. He said, "there's room for more, isn't there?" And I said, "oh my word. I was just thinking that we're not done yet." And we sort of looked at each other in amazement. These thoughts surprised us both.

We didn't talk about it much more, other than making little comments here and there, "oh we could totally have another." or "where would we fit another bed?" It was always sort of floating around, and some days I felt super able to add another, and others I thought the idea was a little extreme.

But then there is Alden. Easiest baby on planet earth. He's just a delight. Easy peasy. Pure joy with a huge smile. And the more I thought about what we would have missed if we had stopped at 3, the more I wondered who would be our number 5.

Plus, my mom is the fifth born in her family. Just think how different my life would be if Phil and Velma Bredberg had decided to stop at four! (I'll give you a hint. Poof! You wouldn't be reading this blog right now...)

Around the end of August we realized we had to get serious about making this decision, so we took a month to pray and seek the Lord. That month we experienced the tornado, as well as the powerful gift of a large family and all of the help and love and care that descended on our farm because of my mom's large farm family. It was one of those first evenings after the storm, still without power, sitting by candle light that Rory said with tears in his eyes, "what could be more worth our lives than raising up good children who love the Lord and will take care of each other for the rest of their lives?" We took these moments as confirmation and decided we could figure out the logistical things like car seats and bedroom arrangements in due time. We wanted a fifth.

We also sat Ivar and Elsie down individually and asked them what they would think about having another baby. I know the oldest kids can sometimes have opinions about being the oldest in a bigger family. Ivar's response was, "oh yes! I just wish we didn't have to wait so long for the baby to be here! I want it here now!" And Elsie's response was basically some sort of squeal followed by a yes.

So here we are. I am already 13 weeks along (this will be a fast pregnancy for you blog readers! Already almost to second trimester!) And due mid-August. I feel fantastic. I cannot complain about one thing. That is remarkable to me, and I am very grateful. I have a swell of nausea once in a while but take those with a little relief that I actually am pregnant and everything is still going well. I will also add that this is how I felt with Ivar and Alden. It was Elsie and Hattie that had me sick. So there's that. But every baby born to a friend lately has been suspected one gender and then surprised everyone, so I'm not going to place any bets.

I think that's about all. My belly is growing. I still fit into my carhartt snowpants, but it's getting real snug. I have been nesting and cleaning and making give away piles like a woman who is trying to make room for one more body in her house. It feels great. We've got room aplenty in our house and our hearts for this baby. What fun to feel the same anticipation and gladness for the fifth pregnancy as the first. That is always a wonder to me. Our hearts can only grow and grow and grow.

Ivar's latest stop motion video...



(Be sure your volume is on.) Ivar has been doing so many stop motion videos lately, and it's fun to see what he comes up with next. This one has a great ending! :)

well hello!

It's been a long, long time. I'll try to fill you in on life lately...

Lately I've been:

Watching Tudor Farm and Wartime Farm with Rory. Both of these are BBC series where they reenact a certain slice of history and show how they did everything back in that day. Rory and I eat this stuff up. Where many are excited about the technology of the future, we are always slack jawed at the innovative ways things were done in the past. (both are on youtube linked above and the music audio on tudor farm is horrible...just a heads up...)

Enjoying all of the quotes that come out of Hattie's mouth.  A few nights ago we had friends over for dinner so that day I cleaned my kitchen so that it was basically empty when I was done. Every bit of paper and clutter was put in it's place and so the next day I was cleaning it again, hoping it might stay that way. Hattie came in and said, "More people comin' over?" I said, "no, I just want to keep it nice and tidy when it looks so good." And Hattie nodded her head, "Oh good! Nice and Tidy comin' over!"

Reading My Bible! I am enjoying this version so, so much! I had no daily habit for Bible reading the past few years. I was quite sporadic with long lulls in between. And even though I still don't read it every single day, I do catch up about every other day or every third day and I LOVE being accountable to keeping it up. Plus, this version that I linked to is really great. Good summaries, keeps it moving, adds insight along the way. Join in if you want! There is no "too late" to starting this good habit!

Eating the salad above. As often as possible. My sister-in-law Sara brought this to a Christmas gathering and I honestly think I ate half the bowl. It's just olives (I use kalamata) tomatoes (not in season, but they taste so summery in this salad) cucumbers, feta cheese and a dressing. Sara used Newman's Own Feta Greek dressing. I use Aldi's Greek dressing and both are SO GOOD. This salad tastes so not-wintertime to me. It's why I love it. It feels like I'm taking a stand against the frozen earth. Make this. You will be happy you did.

Playing board games! On Saturday we took the kids to a meet up where a big reception hall was set up with tables and tables of prototype board games to play with their creator. We didn't bring our own games and instead played everyone else's and it was SO GREAT. One was a card game that had us building sandwiches with our cards. Another was a Christmas Caroling game where you had to knock on the table, sing a carol and then take your turn in game play. It was all so fun! So creative! So inventive! And we left with our heads spinning with fun ideas for more board games.

Hibernating. When it gets this cold I just don't like to go outside. Rory is a stud and does all the animal chores a couple times a day, checking on their water and making sure everyone is okay when it's below zero. And I just tell him how great I think he is and quickly close the door when he walks outside.

Cleaning the kids room. It had hit a new level of sty. There were just too many toys accessible and today I cleaned it like it was my job. It sort of is, as their mother. They helped as well and I loaded up two big boxes full of toys to put into the attic and one big bag of toys to give away (don't tell the kids...) Their room looks great now and I will have more peace in my heart with less stuff strewn all over by my well-intentioned, though destructive, one year old.

That's all for now. I felt like I had to bop my head in here before you all thought I've quit forever. Not sure why the lull...you know me. I'll be back.

2018 in review

For years and years I have done an annual Best Of post. But this year I'm going to change things up a bit, going month by month, picking out the highlight from my posts that month. I just went through January and it was so fascinating to me to scroll through my life one year ago. So I'll spare you that task, and just share a favorite moment from each month.

January
 Goat. It's what's for dinner. Definitely a favorite blog post.

February

March

April
today on the farm... A good reminder of all that is to come in springtime. And to rest up!

May
post holes So. many. post. holes.

June
I'm a milk maid! Likely the happiest moment of my 2018. Can you tell?!!
to market to market to kill a fat pig There's just so much to learn on a farm...

July
August
can the rainbow ...my New Year's resolution last year.
 ...and, a BLT with the Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato all from our own farm!

September

October...I only posted once in October...

November
Alden's Day 2018 A day-in-the-life at our house.

December
...no blog post, just a nice family picture
So there you have it. Our year in review. I have never had a year in my life where I have felt so changed...and I'm not certain if it was 2018, or when I turned 37, because that was the day Miracle was born, and that experience changed me so completely from an in-the-house farm wife to a full on walking-to-the-barn-at-2-am-to-bottle-feed farmer. I wrote about this transformation fully right here. And the big life experiences just kept coming. God has shown me so many things this year, taught me so many things, empowered me in so many ways. All things are possible and I believe it in my bones. My hands will remain wide open, ready to learn and grow and deepen my relationship with Him. Because he has me on a fast track at the moment and I simply want to learn more and more of him and his ways.

So there it is. 2018 has passed and 2019 looks full of possibility and promise. How good it is to be alive.