39 weeks, 3 days

Well here we go! My due date is this Sunday, August 11th. That said, Alden arrived 7 days after his due date, Hattie came 10 days after her due date, Elsie came promptly on her due date and Ivar made his appearance one day before his due date. My babies stay put for the long haul, it seems.

However, at my appointment a week and a half ago my doctor felt my belly and said, "oh my. that's the head. it is so low!" And then at my appointment a week later (this past Monday) she said, "it is so, so low." And it's true. I usually carry my babies so high right up to the end. But I actually look smaller with this pregnancy because I think everything is positioned so differently. And when I sit in a chair, it feels like I have a bowling ball snug on my lap. 

So we are right in the middle of the mind-game stage. The one that makes me think every little feeling or tightening or wave of nausea might be the start of the real deal. But then I remember it's not that likely, so then I hit a huge project to keep me occupied. But them I am exhausted and worry that now I'll go into labor tired and depleted...so then I sit and think that every physical feeling might be the start of labor... And on it goes. 

It's also that stage where the kids are extra clingy and have all sorts of emotions of their own as we all are waiting. Hattie helped me pack the kids' overnight bags for grandma and grandpa's and mimi and papa's. While packing she asked one thousand times, "we going today? no? when baby comes? oh. when will baby come? today? no? when will baby come?" 

And I suppose that's the exact script running through all of our heads this week.

But today we have the very last project on the list: the perimeter fence on our property is being installed! The guys dropped off their equipment last night! This is a project that demanded 27 other projects to get done before this day could arrive. You know those projects? Rory has spent the whole summer removing trees, stumps, wood piles, clearing brush, leveling land, taking down an old wooden fence, mowing down thistle, calling in friends for a chainsaw party to help make a way through thick woods... oh it has been so much work. But here we are! The guys come today and after today 3/4's of our property will have a permanent fence to keep our animals in and other animals out. It will help greatly with setting up temporary paddocks with our electric netting. It's like that game you used to play with your siblings with the grid of dots on the paper, and you each take turns drawing one line to complete a box. Having the perimeter done will help so much in the world of fencing. And really, much of successful farming is simply successful fencing. So we are thrilled.

I felt like things were starting up last night and Rory asked kindly, "oh please, let's just get the fence in first..." So real quick, we're going to get the fence in...  

drive thru window

On Saturday we went out to the little cabin Rory built originally as a home office and played drive thru. We had a good friend live in the cabin this summer for about 7 weeks. She goes to our church and lives with a woman from our congregation. But that woman had her daughter coming home for part of the summer and needed Lena's room back. So Lena moved in with us! The cabin has electricity, but no running water. She said it felt very Thoreau-esque.

Lena moved out last weekend, which left a cabin all set up with a bed, a desk, and basically it makes for the perfect playhouse now. Which delights the kids to no end. But, thanks to a screen that was popped out, we ended up playing drive thru with me making up silly orders and them gladly making my food and us handing money back and forth, all in our imaginations. It was so fun.
Elsie told me recently that she is going to take care of the baby all the time. She said, "just think, the littles will be in the rock box because they love it there. Ivar will play legos and you can just bake and clean and take a nap! Because I'll take care of the baby!"

And part of me believed her! Because I think she will genuinely be a huge help to me. She already is in so many ways, making bread in the bread machine all by herself, helping load and buckle when it's time to go somewhere, helping me get meals ready and on the table. I am so glad to have her help!

She somehow scraped her face really good on the picket fence in the kitchen garden. I still don't get how it happened, but it left a scratch right under her eye. While brushing her teeth and looking at herself in the mirror she told me, "I'm glad my scratch is still on my face. It shows that I am a tough cookie."

She is a sweet and delightful tough cookie.

Awesome and Wonderful

Rory will often take one of our girls out on a daddy-daughter date. Hattie got to go to Menards last week and brought home a box of Dots. But she was so thrilled at the special time she kept telling Rory in every aisle, "We dating, Daddy? We dating!" So this week Ivar called in a special mother-son date. He had the plan: Walmart to look at legos and dinner at A&W. When we got to A&W he was a bit panicked that a kids meal might not fill him up enough. He was really hungry, he told me. So I got the kids meal and he got the value meal which meant his float was twice the size of mine...and this positively delighted him. (The float was a whole 30 exception, and was totally worth it!)

We had the best time. We laughed so much. I kept making up fake monologues that cracked him up. When we arrived at Walmart I said, "Alden, you have to let Ivar help you unbuckle. Nope, I am not going to do it. Ivar is going to help you. Hattie and Alden, you cannot take off your shoes every time we are in the car. This is too much work for me to put them back on each time. Now find your buddy and hold hands. Alden. You have to hold Ivar's hand." And Ivar would laugh and laugh, "That's exactly how it is, mom! Exactly!"

We got home and he told everyone about every part. Even how "most people at A&W are really old." Which was accurate of last night. The 70+ crowd was represented well. But Ivar and I decided that the two of us will continue to bring that average age down, hopefully with a monthly visit.

When he went to bed he came over and hugged me and said what a great date we had. And it felt so good. Ivar is my oldest, and he puts up with a lot from his siblings as well as high expectations from me. He is a good kid who thrives on order and routine, and life can be stretching when you have little siblings who consistently disrupt order and routine. We work through those challenges a lot. So this night together, laughing and eating and enjoying each other was so, so Awesome and Wonderful. A&W.

Here's to many more root beer floats!

a hattie wake up call

Hattie wakes up at 6:20 each day like a set alarm. Only instead of beeping or playing music, she gently nuzzles her head to push open our door that is held closed by a pillow in front of it. She used to announce her arrival by saying, "Knocka Knocka!" But that has changed. Now I first I hear her in the hallway, playing with something or quietly talking. And then I see our door begin to slowly open, and the pillow pushed along the way. She is on all fours and her head comes slowly in to look around. She is so quiet and slow and sneaky at this point, getting her body in the door and then quietly moving the pillow back and closing the door to a crack.

I'm not sure why she is so quiet coming in, because moments later she pops up in my face like a coo coo clock and says full volume, "Mom! It thirty o'clock yet?!! It thirty o'clock?!!" And I tell her, "No. Hattie is not seven o'clock yet. You may not come in our bed yet. You can lay quietly on the floor until it is seven o'clock." And so she lays down with her head on the same pillow that holds our door closed and sings and talks and basically we know our day is now beginning. Rory usually gives up the fight first and when he gets out of bed, then Hattie crawls into his side. She looks at me intently, and it's hard not to be amused at the whole situation...her bright eyes, wide awake, ready for the day.


My other Hattie story lately is her response to our house when it gets too noisy. She will begin to yell as loud as she can, "INSIDE VOICES! MIA SAYS INSIDE VOICES!" Mia is her favorite friend and nursery worker at church and apparently this is where she learned this phrase. Though she doesn't seem to have learned how to apply it to her own volume yet...

But I still consider it a nice step in the right direction.

a little slice of time

I know I wrote about most of this already, but my sister and mom just returned from two weeks in Tanzania and my sister just replied to this email I sent to her last week. I re-read it and thought, "I have to save that somehow as a little slice of time..."

Hello Singing Ladies!
Oh I wonder where you are when you read this! Can you get emails on your phones? Or do you go to an internet cafe? I bet it is so different from 10 years ago...

I'm writing mostly to tell you I'm exhausted. Ha! Seriously, so tired. Rory cut the field yesterday and I got out all of the newborn stuff. I found the carseat and got out the outfits and baby toys. The kids played all day with the baby toys, and then at the end of the day I got rid of half of them. We had friends over for supper last night and fell into bed. And then today the interns came and I brought them to a farm in Faribault where we know the family, just to see another small-scale family farm in operation. The mom milked the goat for us and they have pigs and a donkey, ducks and chickens. They are very similar to us and it was a joy to see how their family operates their own farm. Then we came home and butchered 17 chickens in the back yard.

You would be proud...I cut heads off. I gutted the birds. I held them by the feet and dunked them in the water. I defeathered. It was seriously an experience, and in the end, not too bad. But I had to leave before the last bird was done and go to my Spinning lesson with Eleanor at Northfield Yarn. The lesson was 2 hours and I WAS TERRIBLE AT IT. Cannot emphasis that enough. I positively could not get it! It was hilarious. We had a great time together and the lesson was a joy, and a humbling. So crazy how something can looks so very simple and then be so super foreign.

I came home and found Tony and Alden picking blueberries, Lena and Elsie picking raspberries and I threw a pizza in the oven, cleaned my sty kitchen and we ate our pizza while watching Little House on the Prairie. Anyway, it was a good day and I'm heading to bed after this. But farm life is FULL right now and we still have many showing up this week to pick up their chickens, the rest of the kittens, friends for dinner and baling the field.

But! If everything goes well, Rory and I are taking off on Friday morning for an overnight babymoon. Lena is going to watch the kids here and I think we'll head to Lake City or someplace over there and nap for two days.

I hope you guys are well. Can't wait to hear all about it.