Thursday, December 5, 2013

Grandpa Paul

My parents come each Thursday to get the girls on the bus and watch Svea when I work.  Mom does my laundry and Dad vacumns and does other helpful things.  I am blessed.  Today Mom was in Mankato celebrating her birthday with her sisters so Dad came solo.  He came at 8:15 and the girls greeted him at the door with hugs and screams "Grandpa!".  Svea said "Come in the closet to see my glow in the dark nail polish!".  Mara and Sonna painted nails this morning, Svea's too, with their new polish.  My 6 foot 3 Dad went in Svea's closet with all three girls to see their glow in the dark nails waving around excitedly.  Next, my Dad went out into the cold (7 degrees) to clear the snow off my van and warm it up so I didn't have to.  A labor of love.  Then he sectioned a grapefruit at Mara's request for her school snack.  :)

Monday, July 15, 2013

My CuddleBugs

 Some favorites of me and my girls.  Taken in November 2012.
 Svea is squeaky clean and quite cozy.  A delight.

Friday, July 12, 2013

My Siblings

Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church celebrated Mom and Dad's 33 years of parish ministry and Dad's retirement the end of June.  It was an incredible weekend for our family, and for me personally, it was a snapshot of my childhood in some ways.  I grew up in that church and was loved by so many people who encouraged me and nurtured me. 

Mat's family flew in from Seattle and we all had such a GOOD time together.  We spent Friday together at our house, Saturday at Becca and Rory's farm, and Sunday at church and then Mom and Dad's house.  Here is a favorite picture taken in our backyard:
 And a cousin picture:
These cousins love each other so much.  I have a short video of my three girls sobbing as we drove away after saying our goodbyes.  I won't post it.  But I cried too. 

Summer 2013 Family Vacation: Sky Ranch Lutheran Camp, Colorado

We planned to go to Sky Ranch Lutheran Camp in Colorado for Family Camp last summer so we could see our friends Deb and Brad Abbott.  (And we were all excited to experience Family Camp again - It's been two years exactly since we moved back to MN).  However, forest fires near Sky Ranch caused camp to be evacuated and Family Camp was cancelled.  So we went this summer instead.  Brad and Jedd worked together at Flathead Lutheran Bible Camp in Montana and Brad married my friend Deb.  :)   It was so good to reconnect! 

I sent out an invitation to 20 of our family friends last winter to see if anyone wanted to join our family at Sky Ranch.  And faithful friends, Matt and Maren Schneider and their boys Adam and Micah said "Yes!".  It was SO MUCH FUN sharing this mountain experience with them.  We felt very blessed to spend a whole week together! 

Admittedly, I am still stuck between having a camera (which I unknowingly brought along with a full memory card), and a phone with a sort of decent camera.  Also admittedly, I don't yet know how to import pictures from my phone onto the computer so I can post them here.  And finally, I relished turning off my phone for the week (no cell service in the mountains) so I rarely had it with me when there were great photo opportunities.  I will plan to update photos once the Schneider's share theirs with me.  Here's what I have in reverse order (shoot!):

 On the car ride home.  Mara and Sonna entertaining each other and Svea studying her books.
 Saying goodbye to dear friend Deb.
 One of our favorites - Hannah - from Flathead Lutheran Bible Camp came to work at Sky Ranch this summer!
 Jedd and I did an 8 mile hike.  It was gorgeous.  Next time I want to reach the snowy tops!  (Do I look like a golfer?  I am not a golfer.)
 One year old Micah and Svea enjoying each other at campfire.
 Jedd and I enjoying each other at campfire.
 Fun time together in Fort Collins with St. Olaf friends Joni and Evan, Matt and Maren.  So fun to have our kids together.  We have our 15 year class reunion in 2014! 

 Our family stopped at Mt. Rushmore on the way to Colorado.  We took a leisurely morning exploring Keystone, SD.  We stopped for some souvenirs and fresh taffy.
 This was the view from the Lodge at Sky Ranch.  It was neat to be so near the changing weather. 
  The girls made fast friends at camp.  After half a day, they were so comfortable and seemed like they had lived at camp before.  :) 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Family Photograph and 3 Girls in the Burley

Today was a day that I don't want to forgot.  I woke in the middle of the night and decided it was a good idea to record it here.  It's been a very long time and so much has happened but I'm going to let that go for now.

I have wanted to have a professional family photo taken for years and we made it happen this morning.  I spent a silly amount of time over the past 5 days coordinating our outfits.  I was pleasantly surprised that there were not any meltdowns pre-picture.  Well, there were 2 potential meltdown but they were diverted with tenacity (read bribery) and some amount of luck.

I'll start with Sonna:  Sonna enjoys having her hair curled.  It only happens a few times a year - time crunch in the mornings - and she is the child who takes notice when I curl my hair or wear heels, which also happens a few times a year.  This morning, as I was curling Sonna's hair, I noticed her smile of joyful anticipation quickly dissipated into a disgruntled look.  She was not satisfied.  It was more curly than she liked and she told me she wanted a ponytail rather than wearing her pretty golden hair in curls.  I asked her once, selfishly, to please wear it down as I attempted to smooth out some of the curl with a wide barrel curling iron.  She shook her head "No".  So I said "I'll give you $2 if you wear it down".  Sonna said "No".  I said to my six year old who studied money at the end of her kindergarten year "I'll give you $2 and two quarters" and she said "Yes".  So I bought my way with her hair for the family photograph.  It is ironic how these things from my childhood come back to me in a fierce way.  When I was 7 or 8 my mother put pink spongy curlers in my hair the night before our family photograph.  She then put pigtails in my hair and shaped them into nice ringlets.  To my dismay, one pigtail was shorter than the other.  So I took matters into my own hands and wet one pigtail to even them out.  You can imagine what happened; the too-curly pigtail was now nearly flat and too long.  My poor mother.  Maybe if she had paid me . . .  (:

Mara is not a fan of dressing up.  She communicated clearly that she was not going to wear a dress.  She was kind to tell me this 7-10 days in advance of picture day.  So I found her a skirt that I really liked and a white t-shirt with ruffles (pleasantly surprised she did not reject the shirt with a few ruffles).  However, she told me she didn't like the skirt and wouldn't wear it.  So last night I went to the mall and found a coordinating sundress - a long shot - but at least she would have a choice.  Just before it was time to leave for family pictures, she voiced her dislike of the skirt again and, of course, the dress.  To my surprise and delight, she wore the skirt anyways and never complained again!  I could shout a little "hallelujah" even now, reflecting on this fact.  Mara is newly 8 years old and is growing up in noticeable ways.  She was wonderfully helpful throughout the photography session, corralling and encouraging Svea.  The minute we walked in the door an hour and a half later, Mara took off the skirt and declared "I'm never wearing that skirt again".  "Okay", I replied.

That afternoon, after some quiet time and a failed nap attempt for Svea, the task at hand was to get Mara her own library card.  Her second grade teacher, Ms. Cooper, who will also be her third grade teacher (second grade loops to third grade at Wilshire Park Elementary), kindly made plans to meet with the class once a month during summertime.  Tomorrow is her first library meet up and she is so excited.  However, this afternoon, Mara was so tired.  I told the girls we would walk to the library because it is a beautiful day, and because we live in a Village so we can walk, and because Jedd had the minivan and I didn't want to unload the cab of his truck just to drive 5 blocks.  Mara melted upon hearing this news.  It was not what she had in mind for the afternoon trip to the library.  Sister Sonna quickly suggested to Mara, "You could ride in the Burley (behind the bike carriage for kids) with Svea and I can ride my scooter".  Except she can't ride her scooter because she has a broken arm.  Another story.  Anyways, the three girls decided they could squeeze in the back.  I was wishing I had my camera to capture the sight of a 2 1/2, 6 and 8 year old packed on top of each other but I left my phone in the minivan (If that sounds odd in future years, my phone is my camera, just to clarify for the sake of ever-changing technology).  Side note: Perhaps part of the reason it was a day I wish to remember is also because I did leave my phone in the car and so I had no distractions and that is a wonderful thing these days.   Anyways, Sonna was on one side, Mara on the other and Svea kind of on top of Mara.  And no one complained or fell apart, not even Miss No-Nap Svea.

We were successful with our library card mission and then Mara suggested the Dairy Queen.  I agreed under the condition that we order 4 mini-cones.  Simplicity.  And they agreed.  So the summery day included ice cream which is always good.  And it included cucumbers which are always good too.

This has been the rainiest Spring and longest awaited Summer I can remember.  Our gardening efforts have been strong at some points and lacking at others.  But I was feeling sad that we didn't plant any cucumbers.  To my delight, Linder's gardening center had all their plants 50% off and I got my cucumber plants already a healthy 5 inches tall.  And then I enjoyed some quiet, sunny time planting them, along with a pumpkin plant, in our beautiful backyard.  Again, pictures to come.

The day ended with Mara's 7:00 soccer game.  She has very dear friends from school on her team and I am enjoying getting to know their families.  The gift of community . . .

That's enough for now.  I was inclined to record this day because I was able to take in many moments and feel gratitude.  Certainly not everyday is like that being the working mom of three little girls but this was a day to remember.  I hope I'll be back soon.    

I almost forgot!  One of the biggest reasons this day was so good is that I felt buoyed by the love and support of my Mom and Dad who came to our house this morning to offer their helping hands for weeding flower beds, planting flowers, mowing the lawn, cleaning the garage, and more.  Thank you, Mom and Dad.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

in case you don't know who the tooth fairy is...

Annika forwarded this email to me, written by a mom whose daughter is friends with Mara.

Hi Annika,
I had to relate a story to you so you could enjoy a good chuckle. Katie lost a tooth yesterday and put an envelope under her pillow with it for the tooth fairy. She told me that she was going to "fake sleep" so she could see the toothfairy, even though she already knew her. When I questioned her, she told me that Mara told her that she once fake slept and saw you putting her money under her pillow, so she knew you were really the toothfairy. Katie looked at me and said, "See, I told you I knew the toothfairy. It's Mara's mom!" :) She is convinced that your job is being the toothfairy! I love their innocence at this age! 

a quick story

Hello everybody. Becca here. Annika's sister. Turns out Annika is quite busy with three girls while working as a social worker at a hospital. Life in Minnesota is packed full for them and though she says often how badly she wants to blog, she rarely has the time.

But the woman has stories unending from her little girls. And as a proud aunt, I believe she HAS to get back here to write some of these herself. Until then, I'm going to hijack her blog and report her stories for her. Because they are so good.

For example. Last night Annika took Sonna and Mara to Patina after supper. Annika was looking through a book called The Happiness Project (has anyone read this? I've seen it too...looks compelling) while her girls took in the lovely displays that Patina seems to be best at. That store is so, so gorgeous. Annika was trying to get a feel for this book, but her girls kept interrupting her, "mom, look at this! Isn't this cute? Oh mom, this would be perfect for baby Elsie! Mom, we have to get this!"

Annika told me on the phone that she was just about to tell her girls to simmer a bit. That she was trying to read. And then Sonna blurted to her, "Mom! Everything is so beautiful I'm getting the tears."

Annika said she went right to the check out area. The woman asked if she needed help and she said, no I need a pen and paper. My daughter just said the sweetest thing.