Hattie at 18 months.

Holy Smokes. I don't remember this season with my other two. Or at least I didn't remember it until Hattie reminded me. This is where that motherhood amnesia thing is very, very real. But I am here to tell you that 18 months is SO BUSY. Non-stop busy. Hattie is into everything. And then moving that everything into other rooms. Each evening the other four of us spend a good deal of time putting the house back in order, back from Hattie's day of play.

She climbs chairs and prefers to sit on top of tables. She takes books off of bookshelves, garbage out of garbage cans, shreds toilet paper all over the house, brings everyone their shoes to whatever room they are in, trails dish towels wherever she goes, empties drawers and cabinets, and pulls down anything she can reach on the counter top. She is tall and able. Tonight she pulled a sheet of paper down that was peeking over the edge of the counter, that sadly had a jar of cold queso on it. Which fell on her. Thankfully she recovered quickly, but seriously! When she is awake, we are seconds away from disaster.
But she is so darling. Man we love her so much. And she is so excited for adventure. She brings us our shoes because she is always ready to go! She understands our words now, and follows our instructions. It's really amazing.

And she is the center of our family. I don't know how to explain that, but she really is like our mascot. Last night she lifted her hands in the air and said, "aaaeeeuuaaa!" And suddenly she had all four of us, raising our hands and shouting, "Alleluja!" She did it again, and so did we. She was the leader, we waited for her command. And we played that Alleluja family game for a long, long time.
She is such a gift to us. So messy to clean up after mealtime. So busy and free spirited. And when it is bedtime she is pleased to get to go and rest. She waves to everyone saying nigh nigh and crawls up the stairs. And then once she's in bed, and we've cleaned the house after her busy day, I miss her.

mall walker

Monday was just a terrible day. It was gloomy and dreary and my attitude matched the day. I actually cried big tears when it was time to think up a dinner again. I have been sort of denying this responsibility lately...never a plan and always annoyed that another 24 hours have passed and my family wants to eat again. It was so bad that I did the math that each day I feed five mouths three times a day, seven times a week, which means I am feeding 105 mouths each week. You know you're in a pity party when you do the math...

I tried hard to turn the day around midway. I told the kids that we were all going to listen to our own voice and hear how our words were sounding. Did our words sound whine-y or mad or grateful or pleasant? Ivar loved the challenge mostly by being my cop and catching my moody voice and reporting what it sounded like to him. Ha!

But then Tuesday came and the sun was shining and the weather was glorious and apparently I got my hit of vitamin D, because I was so happy. Also, we had prayed on Monday night for clean hearts and new spirits for Tuesday and as Ivar said, "God really did it! You have a clean heart! I can tell!"

Last night I had a nerve spazz out on me and give me that typical shooting pain down the back of my leg. I have had this with all of my pregnancies...apparently the baby is squishing something in there.

After a full night of horizontal rest, I'm still feeling that little nerve and it means that today I decided to wear tennis shoes with my cute little maternity dress and leggings and it made me remember something that made me laugh out loud.

When I was in 2nd grade, my teacher Ms. Solberg was pregnant. We didn't know for a long time, but Jordana Smith did. Jordana was a classmate whose mom had just had a little brother. And looooong before Ms. Solberg told us that she was pregnant Jordana began whispering the news to the other girls in the class. When Ms. Solberg finally did make the announcement we all said excitedly that we already knew. She was so surprised. How did you know?!! Jordana told us!  She was so surprised, "Jordana, how did you know I was pregnant?!!"

Jordana smiled and said, "well, when my mom was pregnant she had days when she was super happy and then she'd be super crabby, but then happy again. You were acting the same exact way."

I remember Ms. Solberg laughing so hard she had to get a kleenex for her eyes and then she walked over to Ms. O'Keefe's room and brought her back and said, "Jordana, tell Ms. O'Keefe what you just told me!" And the two of them howled. And the rest of us laughed awkwardly...not getting the joke, but clearly something was hilarious.

I thought of this whole story because there was something else about Ms. Solberg. After she announced her pregnancy she started wearing tennis shoes every day. But she still wore dresses and nylons. From the ankles up, she looked very lovely. But those tennis shoes were just hard to get past.

That was back in 1989. And now in 2017 I am the one sporting the tennis shoes, large belly and mall-walker ensemble.

It wouldn't matter at all as I am home most of the time. But today my blessed sister-in-law Lisa and niece Josie volunteered to take the kids for the day as Josie is on spring break! And I got kicked out of the house!!!!!!!! What a gift!!!!! So here I sit at a Caribou. I used my gift card from Annika from Christmas. And decided to write about this little story that made me laugh out loud as I drove here.

Also! Today I am 28 weeks which is the beginning of third trimester. I tell you what, these are just psychological milestones, but psychologically I am doing cart wheels! This pregnancy is flying by. I continue to feel great (minus the nerve thing, but there is a 14-inch baby moving around in there!) and feel grateful for the good laugh I had today thanks to Jordana Smith and Ms. Solberg. :)

happy friday!

And that's a wrap! Tree Tapping-Evaporating-Finishing and Canning Season is over! And we have the Maple Syrup to prove it. Isn't that glorious? I can't get enough of these pictures...the rainbow of syrup all tapped from the same trees is mesmerizing to me.  Really beautiful. The temperature when you collect the sap has a lot to do with the color, as well as the rate of the boil. And it all tastes incredible. There is so much to learn!

Well, I'm here to write a review of our week, but there is not a whole lot to report. This week was an awesome, normal, regular week. Even tonight I started with Ivar at dinner, "hey, hey what do you say, what was your favorite part of the day today, Ivar?" And he thought for a long time and said, "not really any one part. It was just a normal day." And it was! Homeschool, lots of legos, Hattie drawing with chalk on the wall (so grateful it was chalk!) and frozen pizza for dinner. Not much to report.

But that's a good life too, isn't it? Don't need too much drama. Don't need too much busy and frantic. Don't need too much disruption to the normal routine. I like our life so much. We've got glorious maple syrup to show for it, and we have finally finished the trim in the living room so I can paint it all white tomorrow. So other than a trip to the library with friends (complete with a stop to the cupcake shop) and the implementation of daily chores for the big kids, our week has been pretty routine.

Have a happy weekend!

a family seder

Doesn't everyone in the picture look just riveted by what I am saying?!! Thankfully I didn't talk too long and then Derrick took the floor!

So three years ago I attended my first Seder Meal at the church we were attending. It was led by Pastor Derrick, who walked us through a traditional Jewish Passover feast, while pointing out how Jesus fulfilled various parts of the meal.

To say that it added depth and meaning to my Easter feels too small. It is amazing, isn't it, how the huge Christian stories can begin to wash over us a normal. "Oh yes, this is the part where he rises from the grave..." What?!! How does this happen? How do the stories become so familiar that they loose their weight and impact on our lives? But it happens. And this Seder Meal three years ago woke me up again and I remember being profoundly moved that Easter, knowing all of the Jewish traditions and customs and background surrounding the history of Jesus' death and resurrection.

I have attended the last two years as well, and each time thought it would be so cool to host one of these meals at my house, with Derrick teaching, just like he does at the church. As it worked out, Sara was leading worship at their church and we were able to team up church with the meal at Art House North.

The kicker is that it is long. Like three hours long. But you are eating basically the whole time and there are just lots of parts of the meal and there is a lot to teach on each part. But each time more and more is illuminated, and I love that feeling.

If you ever have the opportunity to attend something like this, I highly recommend it. He is leading the meal again in our town on the night of Palm Sunday and if you'd like to come, drop me a line and I can send you the details.

Springtime picture books!

I am so excited just to pass this resource along!

I love our library, and the kids love it too. We go to Lego Time when we can and our library has a really huge creative play area where they can play store, kitchen, mailman, and ice cream shop.

My trouble is in picking out good books. The kids usually pick them out (lots of disney-character books), and I usually discover what we checked out when we get home. And let me tell you, there are some duds out there.

This is why I was so excited to find Read-Aloud Revival! Because not only does she have a book list of her all-time favorite books per age, she also sends out a book list each month with THE BEST picture books to read during that month. She is Christian and notates when a book has a Christian message. And the other books are just good, wholesome, awesome, beautiful books with uplifting and good messages.

Her April book list just came out and the books are all about gardening, Easter, baby animals and the change from winter to summer... SPRING!

I print the list out, sit down with my computer and open our library website. Then I select to search from All Libraries and reserve each book I can find. This month I was able to reserve 24 out of her 28 recommended springtime books. (None of which were at my actual library, but will come from other libraries in southern Minnesota.) And they look stunning. I can't wait for them to arrive!

So go check out Read-Aloud Revival and sign up for her emails so you start receiving her book lists. These are the stories we want our kids to read!