Saturday, January 21, 2017

Journal Entry (Today)

Today is a perfect gift of a day. Last night Mike decided to take all the kids (but Abe – who had various obligations today) to the cabin. I was feeling emotional and teary (as I often am in the evenings since Hansie’s arrival) and wasn’t sure I wanted them to leave, but it has been such a peaceful and quiet little piece of time. Not many days in the past sixteen years have been like it. And I imagine few will be like it again. But today? Just this one day in my life? It’s rushing to it’s end of course, but it has been . . . just right. One of those days that sparkles out from the mix of hours and moments and days and years that make up my life.

Photo Jan 20, 10 54 00 PM

Last night, as Mike left, he instructed Abe (who is now driving) to go off and get us treats at the store. When Abe returned, we both worked happily on various things – he had homework to finish up and I was responding to a few emails. Abe helped me make sure the house was tidy (doing dishes and taking out trash without my even asking). And, because no one else is here, it has stayed tidy (which almost feels miraculously impossible). Then I let him watch Rise of the Planet of the Apes while I snuggled Hans and read and wrote things that I wanted to get down.

This morning Abe had to be up at the school at 7:00 a.m. (He’d volunteered to help run the concessions stand for a volleyball tournament in exchange for having his track shorts paid for by the school. Though who buys concessions at 7:00 a.m. is a question I certainly can’t answer.) He was there ‘til after 11:00. In the mean time I slept in late snuggled next to my little Hans. And when I was tired of sleeping, but not tired of that baby sleeping so soundly next to me, I simply stayed in bed and read my scriptures. Around 10:30 I snuck away from my sleeping baby and actually managed to shower and eat breakfast (and do a little laundry) before he woke.

All the while it snowed and snowed outside – making everything peaceful and white. Abe returned (covered in snow from his short walk between the high school and our house). I changed and fed Hans while we both marvelled at the quiet around here (and at how clean things kept staying). Abe went out to shovel our driveway and Hans fell asleep in his cradle. He hasn’t slept soundly out of my arms since birth so that was a bit miraculous as well! I organized and cleaned a few things – getting kids church clothes out for tomorrow, etc. I even set out outfits for the next week for the younger kids – thinking it might help mornings run more smoothly when Mike is back at work. I made a few beds and mopped the floor. Then I made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. (Which is something I have been doing a lot the past few weeks. Mike jokes about my use of chocolate chips by asking why I bother with the small bits of sticky stuff between the chips.) And Hans slept through it all – which I appreciated (though . . . I kept missing him and going repeatedly back in to check if he was indeed asleep, or . . . if he might be needing his mother).

It is now nearly 4:00. Hans is awake and ready to be snuggled and swaddled – which I will do, having nothing at all else even asking my attention. Abe is folding his laundry and working on a lesson for church tomorrow (and occasionally offering me the last Swedish Fish or chocolate covered pretzel from last night’s treats [as any gentleman would]). Part of me wants to cry a little knowing that I may not have another day to so fully and peacefully enjoy my newborn. Kids will need woken for school, hair will need done, diapers changed, . . . lunch prepared, homework helped with, etc. But, I am trying to simply appreciate that this day has existed in all it’s perfect and complete loveliness!



I was thinking today about something I’ve written about before. These little newborns. This stage of utter newness is just almost ridiculously fleeting. Everything about it – the bowed legs that so easily still curl into a ball up next to their diaper, the slight fuzz on the tips of their ears and on their shoulders, their floppiness and the way they just scrunch and mold into you, their skin all red and warm and soft, their puffy eyelids (I LOVE the puffy under eyelids of newborns!), the way they will sleep whenever you want to nap so long as you let them fall asleep next to you nursing. Even their smell and sounds and that unmistakably newborn cry. I’ve thought before that maybe it is such a tiny speck of time that they exist this way simply because it is sacred. They do feel all swathed in heaven, and the not-quite-rational emotions that accompany this time – while many of them are overwhelming – seem to lend our souls an ability to recognize things beyond mortal logic more easily. They way it races away, I think, doesn’t allow us the chance to wave any part of them existing away as common place or to feel anything is ordinary about it. About them.


I have been more than usual in awe at the “miracle” of it all. I just keep thinking how nine months ago this body was nothing more than a rapidly dividing ball of cells. How is it really possible for our genes – our DNA – to truly get it right? To move those cells about and direct their placement and instruct them each to specialize in such a way that I have grown in me, in such a short time, this perfect body! With toes, and skin, and eyes, and a heart, perfect tiny lips, and muscles all connected properly to bones, and blood vessels, and kidneys, and fingernails and the tiny bones of the inner ear. It’s just astounding to me! I can’t get over it.


I wish this time wouldn’t fly by so fast. Though, as it does, I must admit, it’s always OK because each new thing compensates so well – smiles and coos and holding toys and laughing. It’s just never wanting to lose the very moment I am in. Which, I suppose, in general is good for me to think on – to enjoy the moment I am in (because it is here and it is miraculous), but not to fret so much about the fact that it is soon going to change because new joys keep coming. Still. This phase? Right now? For these very few weeks? It’s hard. And wild. And amazing. And truly it feels sacred.


Friday, January 20, 2017

Pictures Needing a Home

I was very anxious (and impatient) for little Hansie to come those last few weeks. But, in truth, his own timing was rather perfect. He wisely waited for us to finish moving kids to the basement and from room to room, and through several bouts of fever and colds acquired by his siblings. And then came at the start of a long weekend of no school. Clever boy.

Photo Jan 05, 1 54 08 PMPhoto Jan 13, 8 28 13 AMPhoto Jan 06, 7 40 50 AM

A quick call for everyone to gather for a picture. All nine made it, but there was much complaining from two small boys (for what exact reason I couldn’t decipher), Summer ran out of every shot just as I tried to take it, and Mette was on the verge of screaming; so getting a low percentage of smiles was not a primary concern. Nine. Good enough.

Photo Jan 15, 3 43 14 AM

I like this little series of shots:

Photo Jan 15, 6 21 29 AMPhoto Jan 15, 6 22 57 AMPhoto Jan 15, 6 23 01 AMPhoto Jan 15, 6 23 22 AMPhoto Jan 15, 6 23 23 AMPhoto Jan 15, 6 23 14 AMPhoto Jan 15, 6 23 18 AMPhoto Jan 15, 6 23 29 AMPhoto Jan 15, 6 23 39 AM

Goldie crochetted this little hat for Hans. I don’t know how she did it. She’s just kind of been teaching herself. Also, Mike has been rather amazing as usual during this first spell of newborn in the house and me all emotional and scattered. He’s done the usual cleaning and taking care of kids. And still managed to do extra things like slip off during the babies naps to take the older girls snow shoeing. (And, I am getting a lot of pictures of Anders and Hans. The older kids are all at school in the day. And the younger girls . . . well . . . there is always the risk of them poking him in the eye and what not. So . . . Anders and Hans show up a lot together in photos. Though it is actually Goldie who probably holds him the most when I am not. She is very much our “baby” person – loving to just let him sleep in her arms while we watch a family movie, asking to stay up a little extra late just to hold him, etc.)

Photo Jan 14, 7 42 42 AMPhoto Jan 14, 7 49 04 AMPhoto Jan 17, 8 23 42 PMPhoto Jan 18, 2 02 09 AMPhoto Jan 18, 2 02 34 AMPhoto Jan 18, 2 02 37 AMPhoto Jan 13, 6 04 07 AM

Mike will be back to work next week. I’ve had myself a good cry each day as I’ve considered how I will manage all these little people (and as I’ve worried about poor Hansie no longer getting to be just held and fed constantly), BUT, I have certainly loved and been grateful for having Mike and for this week plus of being able to completely focus on this new person in our family. It’s been a beautiful week of just getting to bask in his newness.

Photo Jan 16, 6 18 53 AMPhoto Jan 19, 12 28 18 PM

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Your First Breath

Yesterday was your one week birthday. I was thinking of little bits and lines that might make for a fitting “one week  birthday” poem. Things about your first breath – your new lungs forcefully exhaling in a never-before-heard cry; the sound reverbrating through the universe -- trumpeting the bigness of your arrival.

But, in truth, you hardly let out a cry at all. At precisely 8:07 a.m. they lifted you into the air – arms and legs flailing as they came all unbundled from the ball you’d curled yourself comfortably to sleep in for all those long months; your grandma cut the cord (because dad said she should – and she thinks it’s beautiful); they set you on my chest; and . . . we all waited for that fresh cry. And then we worried a little. And the nurses lifted you up again and suctioned your little lungs with bulb syringes. And finally, as if to simply get us all to quit our fretting, you acquiesced with one, slight, protesting cry. We all let out approving sighs. And then, while they weighed and measured you, and lifted you about, and even poked you with a needle, you just calmly gazed about – as if being born was the most ordinary thing you’d ever done and no cause for any fuss.


All the same, the earth seemed to respond to that first, stolen, new breath. The universe felt the shift. Acknowledged it. And, in doing so, admitted that you were truly here. And everything was now changed. Forever.




Light. That’s the word that always came to me when I thought of you. When you were just starting your journey here, and still little more than a dream, I prayed it for you. Over and over. That you would be filled with it and drawn to it. That it would be drawn to you. That you would spread it. Light. It was all I could think to ask. All I could think to wish you. And now you are here, and I’m nearly blinded by your brightness.


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