Friday, July 30, 2010

Sunflowers, Ponytails, and Ramona

It's been a good week. The first of Mara's sunflowers that she planted from seed bloomed this morning. So exciting and rewarding to observe the growth over the past two months. I distinctly remember being on the phone with my mom a few weeks ago when I noticed they were nearly dead from lack of water. When I called Mara to come water her sunflowers, she refused and said she didn't want to. I briefly debated whether or not to let her experience the natural consequence and have them die. But I couldn't do it. It was the only thing we were growing this year and I needed to see it bloom!

Mara also learned how to do her own ponytail this week! Here she made it into a little bun and she was so proud. One morning she and Sonna spent over an hour with their Pretty Ponies and all their own hair accessories creating hair dos. From that she evidently learned how to twist a ponytail holder around her hair. Nice!
Jedd read two of Beverly Clearly's Ramona books to the girls at bedtime over the past two months. Beezus and Ramona and Ramona the Pest. We all enjoyed the books and B. Cleary's amazingly accurate portrayal of a spirited 5 year old. So we were so excited when we learned the movie was coming out this summer. The four of us went to our very first Family Movie Outing last weekend and it was a success! Sonna was able to sit through the whole hour and 44 minute movie. She's never been to a movie before and our only other experience at the movies with the girls was when Jedd took Mara and she said it was too loud and asked to leave, which they did. The movie was great! It captured Ramona's imagination, her thought processes, and her determined self. So when Mara came out during her quiet time in the outfit pictured above and I said, "You look like Ramona", it was as if there could be no higher compliment to our Mara Ida Jane Larson. She beamed and then came out of her room repeatedly with new creations on. (I recognize that I reinforced coming out of her room during quiet time, something I should not do, but oh, she was so darn cute!)
I also signed up the girls for the Sibling class at the birth center/hospital where our baby will be born. When I made the call to register them, Mara freaked out and said, "I'm not going!". I have no idea why she responded that way. She wouldn't talk about it in spite of my attempts to get her to tell me what she was feeling. I told her she was welcome to stay home with Dad and I would take Sonna since she's never been a big sister before and she might enjoy the class, to which Sonna replied, "I'm not going either!". At that point, I got the giggles. Stay tuned . . . the class is next week.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Full Picture

Jedd took this picture of me last week. I wonder if it shows equal parts contentment and "I need a nap and/or shower". :)

I think most of us tend to blog about the happiest times, the joyful celebrations, the picture-perfect days. I know I feel more motivated to document such days and events. But I've also been thinking about the picture I've painted of our lives on my blog and I think I would do myself, as well as others, perhaps most of all my girls if they choose to be moms one day, a favor if I shared a few of the frustrations or challenges that are also part of our daily lives. Maybe I'm better at sharing the ins and outs than I think but I recognize that yesterday's post looks idyllic, and truthfully, it was one of those days! But here is a little more of the fullness of our lives:

Although we live in a gorgeous place with mountains, lakes, wildlife, big sky, etc. we are far from our loved ones. We miss our MN community and I miss my mom especially. Perhaps as we anticipate having a third child, I feel the pull even more. I know my parents would love to help us out and the thought of dropping off the girls for a night sounds dreamy. In addition, the camp season is in full swing during the most beautiful months here in Montana which means Jedd works six long days a week which greatly limits our ability to get out to explore the beauty more.

I have a lippy five year old who shares our household. We are working on this.

Speaking of house, our house is not our own. We are renting and would love to have our own home. Someday. Right now, it is a mess and very disorganized and makes me a little crazy at times. I emailed my Grandma on the 4th of July and said that I was glad to be invited to a friend's house to celebrate the 4th because my house was a mess. She replied, "O, there is so much difference between mess and dirt. Don't worry about the mess - soon the little mess makers are grown and gone". I wanted to reply, "Oh, Grandma, my house is messy and dirty". Still, her kind words helped. I am counting on a long, extended 'nesting' period with this pregnancy so I can get things into shape around here. We'll see . . .

I think I'm on cold/cough #6 of this pregnancy and each one seems to last 2-4 weeks. My immune system must just be wiped out with this pregnancy. I've had a nasty case of bronchitis, the stomach flu, major bladder issues and several yeast infections over the past 7 months.

I think Jedd and I have a healthy dose of anxiety about adding another member to our family and the responsibility we share.

We also share a fair amount of financial stress after my job ended in May.

My dear father-in-law has been slipping away for ten years from Alzheimer's. This is the saddest reality of our lives. He would have been a spectacular Grandpa. Even so, the girls love him so much.

Having said all this, we have a million things to be thankful for and we ask for God's help with all the rest.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Family Day

Loon Lake
32 weeks pregnant. Thanks, Sara, for sending me a bikini to wear! I have a modest black suit I wear when swimming at camp but I wanted a two piece for when we are not at camp. My belly had not seen the bare light of day so I lathered up the sunscreen.

My girls. They are very connected to this growing baby inside!

My wonderful husband.

Mara ordered strawberry ice cream and Sonna ordered mint chocolate chip. (:

We had a great summer day together. The girls woke us up at 7:30 and Sonna declared, "Today we get to go to a lake to play but not the lake at camp because Daddy has the day off and he works at camp". Smart girl! We headed out to Loon Lake just past Bigfork. It was a much smaller lake than Flathead Lake so it was a little warmer. We packed a picnic, swam, rested on the dock, enjoyed the dragon flies and minnows, and then headed into Bigfork for ice cream.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Pictures in My Mind

The camera batteries went dead two weeks ago and there have been many mental pictures I've taken in my head.
Last Saturday we went to Hugh's Bay which is where the camp boats are kept. We packed a picnic lunch and enjoyed time in the paddle boat. Mara and Jedd paddled us over to Jan and Eugene Peterson's place. Mara and Sonna yelled "Jan! Eugene!" and Jan came out to greet us. She was happy to see us and especially the girls. Next we took a canoe out but Sonna was very unsure of the unsteady feeling, even once she sat down. So Sonna and I sat on the steadier dock while Mara enjoyed canoeing with her daddy.
Next, Mara and Jedd came around the way in a sailboat. The wind had picked up a bit so they had a nice ride. They came to pick us up on the dock, but again, Sonna was not having it. So she picked wild roses instead and looked for minnows. We look forward to our Saturdays in the summer when Jedd can be home with us.
Jedd hosted a family reunion this weekend and we decided to go spend the night with him at camp. The girls were so excited, especially when they discovered we could stay in Brad and Deb's cute cabin that Jedd remodeled this winter. They were so excited, in fact, that they could not settled down for bed. At 9:30 I gave the final warning that if they didn't keep their head on the pillow we would not be able to stay the next night at camp with Jedd. Mara was asleep within a minute and a half and Sonna kept up her antics til 10PM. (Sonna and I headed home the next night after supper and she cried and threw her bottom lip out. Mara was so proud to stay and run the canteen with Jedd and build a campfire for the family reunion guests). We were able to spend Saturday afternoon at the beach swimming, eating cherries and gold fish, and visiting with the summer staff as they came to enjoy the water too. It was nice to be together and we were thankful for the gorgeous weather.
(While typing, Sonna came out to the kitchen with her hands over her eyes and a big smile on her face. When I asked what she was doing, she started giggling. I took her hands away from her face and discovered she had decorated her eyes with my eye liner. She thought it was hilarious. When I got up to survey the situation in our bathroom, I stepped on an open glue stick. Earlier today I stepped in Sonna's spilled milk. She is so capable of so many things and yet, still a 3 year old who makes some pretty good messes).
I hope you can visualize some of these scenes in your head. I will get batteries for the camera tomorrow.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Minnesota Road Trip Part 3

After the Twin Cities, we drove to Hendricks to Grandma Joan and Grandpa Lanny's farm. It was a gorgeous summer day and the girls loved swinging on the pillow swing, laying in the hammock, meeting the baby kittens at the neighboring farm, and exploring all around the farm. The next day we went to visit Grandpa Lanny at the nursing home in Minneota. It was Joan and Lanny's 38th anniversary so we brought ice cream, strawberries and an angel food cake from the bakery in Hendricks to celebrate.
Hendricks is usually very windy as seen below! Our girls are so lucky to have such wonderful grandmas! Such a treasure to be loved by grandparents.
My mom was lovely to help me drive back to Montana with the girls. Even though I had originally thought I could do it on my own like I did last summer, it was definitely one of those times when "Mother Knows Best". I was exhausted and am so thankful for her company and all her help getting us home again.
Next stop was Omaha where Becca and Rory live. We arrived in time to see Becca's camp and hear her give the message for the closing worship that week. It was great to see her 'in action'. She is so gifted. It was a blessing to see each other because it is the only time during our pregnancies that we will have that opportunity. We swam twice the next day - at the hotel pool and at the outdoor pool near their apartment = a banner day for Mara and Sonna!
Sharing some love with Aunt Becca and Uncle Rory.
We packed in a lot of fun in about 24 hours in Nebraska!
I am thankful for the opportunity to take this trip. We are fortunate to get back to Minnesota two and sometimes three times a year. That is a gift. Our girls are so well connected to their Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles and Cousins and that means the world to us!

Minnesota Road Trip Part 2

We met some of our favorite former camp counselors at the Grand Old Creamery. Marija, Linnea, Joel, Karin, and Michael are pictured here. Karl and Laura aren't in the picture but we loved seeing them too. The girls remain very connected to these wonderful friends who spent the first 2 and 3 summers at camp with us.
Mara and Walter, my friend Jane's son, are just a few days apart. I love the way Sonna is looking up at him. (: We had a fun playdate at a local park together.
The girls enjoyed sorting all of Grandma Margaret's jewelry. Much of it she has made herself. The girls also love Grandma and Grandpa's deep tub for taking baths!
My dad took the girls to the Minnesota Zoo, something he often does with the girls when we come to visit. I assumed they would be gone for an hour or two because Sonna was a little fussy (tired) before they left. They were there for 4 hours! He bought them a fun fuzzy critter at the zoo gift shop shown below, rainbow suckers, a bomb pop Popsicle to share and they covered most of the zoo exhibits. They were so excited. Sonna fell fast asleep on the way home and I brought her inside to sleep on Great Grandma Bredberg's lap. A special treat to spend time with my grandma too!
I love this picture of Sonna and my dad. She's playing with the pen in his pocket.
After the zoo. Smart Grandpa - he put them in a double stroller at the zoo.
This was one of my favorite evenings of the summer so far and I don't think that can be overstated. Petraya hosted a potluck so I could share an evening with my girlfriends. Pictured in the top row are Petraya, baby Mia, Kirsten, Mara the blackberry monster, Sonna, Alecia, and me. On the couch are Payten and Heather, bottom row Morgan, Andi, and Katie. It was so good to be with these dear friends! My mom came to get my girls after an hour and a half so I could enjoy uninterrupted conversation. (:
Sister Sara and Cousin Aasta came to visit us. Oh, how the girls love their baby cousin!

Blowing bubbles with Grandpa Paul. I wish I had a picture of my mom in her garden with the girls. Many mornings I woke up to find Mara in the garden with my mom cutting flowers for bouquets to give to friends and her sister Jan.
We truly have an amazing community in Minnesota. Much of our family is there and many good friends. It was hard for Jedd to get on that plane back to MT after just a short 48 hours in MN, especially after being back at our church for Aasta's baptism and being reminded of our church family there. We are blessed.

Minnesota Road Trip

Packed up and ready for the 22 hour drive to Minnesota! The girls do this trip so well.
Mara, Sophie and Britta and our old church, Grace University Lutheran in Minneapolis, where niece Aasta was baptized June 6th. She delighted in her baptism and splashed in her baptismal water!
Beautiful baby and beautiful Mommy Sara.

Proud Uncle Jedd and our goddaughter, Aasta.

Sharing a summer meal with dear friends Nora, Charlie, Jill and Steve. Jedd was visiting his Dad and then flew back to Montana that night but the girls and I were able to spend another whole two weeks with friends and family. We missed Jedd - there is nothing like having Daddy around - but I was so thankful for all the help we received with the girls from my parents. More pics to come!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Double Sister Trouble

This pregnancy could be called the No Nap Pregnancy because I have literally had 4 or 5 naps total during the past 7 months. Today is a cool, rainy summer day and I decided I should try to lay down for 20 minutes while the girls played quietly during their afternoon quiet time. (Each day they have 40 minutes to play in their room quietly since they have outgrown naps).

During the 20 minutes I was in my bed, the phone rang twice. Mara picked it up both times and at least she got one message. I have no idea who the other person was, but it probably doesn't matter too much. Sonna came bounding in my room at the end of the 20 minutes and said "We touched the strawberry pie!". The girls and I had just finished making a lemon pie to bring to our friends', The McCrady's, for dessert tonight. Mara was so guilty she tried to open her mouth wide as not to reveal her smile and she literally turned her head away. When I got to the kitchen to see the damage, there were perfect little finger holes all over the meringue. I don't like meringue anyways.

Then, I noticed all our high school and college diplomas were on the coffee table and floor. I told them the things in the red dresser (good dishes, important things like diplomas) were not to be touched. (I know: Good luck, Annika.) When I was putting them back in a pile to put away, I noticed Mara had written "Lily" on the inside cover of my graduate school diploma. Lily is Mara's dear friend. Then Sonna had scribbled on another one. I saw the pen on the coffee table.

Earlier today, a balloon popped in Sonna's face. She cried and I said, "Are you hurt or did it just scare you?". Sonna promptly darted her eyes in Mara's direction and Mara whispered, "Hurt". Sonna repeated, "Hurt". The bigger sister evidently knows which answer will elicit the most sympathy.

I can just imagine in another year or two the title will be "Triple Sister Trouble". (: