a tv show pitch...

On a given Saturday afternoon, when in the midst of the sports channels, you might see an ice fishing competition on one channel, a down hill skiing race on another, ice dancing on one and a bowling tournament on another. 

I have an idea for another sport. It would be all footage of mothers getting their children out the door in their snow gear. There would be a commentator, announcing how it is going, what might be going wrong, telling what the mother intended for this moment. The camera work would be difficult. The mother would be going back and forth helping everyone find lost mittens and boots. And really, just a pair of socks can often be the most difficult task.

"Oh dear. Folks, this is not looking good. Did you notice what she forgot to do here? She forgot to ask the 3-year-old if she needed to go potty. That's a real shame. That little one will be back inside in two minutes to do this all over again."

"Looking good from the start. Everyone is in cheerful moods, feeling excited to go and play outside. But oh, now that's not going to be good. The inner lining of the boy's snowpants did not get stretched around the outside of the boot. And that is deep snow out there. One deep step and those pants will rise up and expose his athletic pants to the snow. He's not going to be happy about that."

"Not bad overall. Everyone is outside. Playing. Looking around. The unfortunate thing for this family is that somewhere in that yard are their buried sleds. Yes, they got left out during an overnight snowfall, and those sleds have yet to be found. Which has caused all the children to complain of how boring it is out there, with nothing to do. Poor, poor children."

"Oh what's this? Is that the mother, putting on her own snow pants? Oh now that is above and beyond! A reminder that she is 15 weeks pregnant and already got the 18 months old and 3 year old suited up and out the door. But she's really going for it. Here she is, heading out the door to be greeted by her...oh, shoot, by her sobbing 18 month old who seems to have removed his mittens and stuck his pink hands into the snow. She'll have to head back inside now. But boy, what a nice effort."

Amish Mom

Elsie, age 6, walking into the kitchen, "Mom, let's pretend you're an Amish mom who loves to make a big lunch so that anyone who is hungry and doesn't have enough money to pay for a good meal can come to your house and you will feed them. And how about we are two neighbor girls who come to help you each day get ready for all the people. I'll be Mary and Hattie is Laura." Hattie interjects enthusiastically, "I'm Wawa!" "And Mom, we call you Ma, even though you aren't our actual Ma, but that's what everyone calls you when you're working in the kitchen. And you tell us helpful things we can do."

So I asked if Laura would wipe down the kitchen table and if Mary would wipe down all of the counters. They were so glad and happy. And then Mary asked if they could sweep too.

I told them they were the best help I had ever found and I will gladly spread the word to all the other Amish mothers out there that Laura and Mary are terrific workers if they ever need extra hands.

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! :)