b.a.c.k.t.o.s.c.h.o.o.l…

b.a.c.k.t.o.s.c.h.o.o.l…

image

And we’re off.  School officially began on Tuesday this week.  Unfortunately, I don’t have much to show for it.  No cute color-coordinated photos with the boys all decked out in new school gear(just a leftover one from summer), no pictures of a newly cleaned house because the equation of less boys never quite equals more productivity, and there certainly has not been any projects undertaken this week.  But take my word for it, school has begun in earnest.  There has been forms filled out, rsvps sent out and gifts bought for birthday parties, books covered, lunches made, football(soccer) games and practices attended to, friends invited over, and four days where we have successfully navigated the ‘hour-of-mad-chaos-where-every-day-we-are-not-quite-sure-if-we’re-going-to-be-ready-on-time’.  We are on a four-day roll!

image

And after a night where the baby was waking hourly either due to teething, hunger, snuffly nose or all three, I am still feeling ok about the return to structure and schedules and increased activity.  Because in and amongst it all, I am grateful that I have dotted hours throughout my week where I fluctuate between 1, 2 and 4 kids.  There are moments of inhale, space, quiet.  And I need that, because sure enough, that school bell will go off all too soon (two years later I’m still slightly shocked by the short school days!), and I’ll hear the energetic-ball-of-boisterous-boy-noise rolling down the driveway ready for me to be fully present in the next portion of the day.

A little holiday…

A little holiday…

They say change is as good as a holiday. They also say that a holiday with children is less about ‘holiday’ and more about ‘making memories’. So after nearly eight weeks of ‘making memories’, I’m ready for a real holiday. But seeing as that won’t happen for another fifteen years or so, change it is.

The urge hit yesterday to rearrange the office space. And for those who know me well, I am a chronic rearranger. Wether its fuelled by boredom, a desire to utilise spaces differently, or an ongoing need for a holiday, I tend to change the rooms in our house around, a lot. And it’s probably after eight weeks of having little people on top of me, I felt the need to organise and prettify a space that I want to call my own. To call any space ‘my own’ when I’ve got four kids is a bit laughable. The kids have a need to be exactly where I am precisely all of the time. However, I have worked hard to carve out much craved for space in my own home. I singlehandedly installed a lock on our bathroom door, and I have drilled it into everyone’s heads that “the grey chair in the office is MINE!”. I think it’s working. It’s now time to take it a step further. I WANT THE WHOLE OFFICE!

So far the office has held my corner with my sacred grey chair, my lamp and my small side table. The other side of the room has had the desk up against a wall with all our officey files and my creative bits and pieces. And it worked. Except not enough for me. The desk became a dumping ground for all the papers and no one was managing or using the space well enough to keep it nice and tidy. And really, who wants to sit and look at a wall when there are exactly six windows that you could be looking out of? Step in me and my desire for a holiday change. I have singlehandedly (while Dave was at work) decided that this is exactly what I need to keep on top of the approaching school year and all the papers. Because everyone knows that it’s not a proper school day unless there are at least 25 papers sent home for this activity or that notification or information about an upcoming busy bee (the infamous ‘dugnad’ for Norwegians) or birthday invites, etc. So now the desk is MINE TOO! (Insert evil laugh…ha ha ha.) (And for those of you who are starting to be concerned for me (and my husband), I know I have to share. It’s just, I want people to know who they have to ask before they use it!)

And so I leave you with some pictures of my rejuvenated space taken on a cold, rainy day. And yes, I know that you are wondering why it’s cold and rainy when it should still be summertime, and my answer for you is: that’s Norway. It’s something that I’m going to have to come to terms with. Either that or keep ‘holidaying’.

(And if the green carpet doesn’t bother you, you’re a better person than I.)

What changes have you made lately that felt like a holiday?

 

image

image

image

image

 

image

These crazy boys of mine…

These crazy boys of mine…

I still catch myself, in the middle of a normal weekend, turning to Dave and saying, “I can’t believe we have four boys. Isn’t that crazy?” Because seven months on from number four, it still takes time to sink in. The dial of life has been turned up several notches and there are times when I feel like I’m waiting to catch my breath. Somehow it stills seems surreal to me that I have been entrusted with the lives of these four boys.

And I know the phase we are in now is the intense total-hands-on stage. Intense. Total. Hands. On. My name gets called 550,000 times a day. There are multitudes of “He’s looking at me!”, ” He touched me!”, “My hot dog fell out of my bun!”, “Josiah spewed again!”, “I can’t find my other shoe!”, “I can’t sleep!”, “I am NOT changing my socks!”, “Josiah’s crying again!”, “I’m not going to ______”, and on and on. It takes a total of one hour and fifteen minutes to get out the door to go anywhere. And by the time we get out the door with tempers frayed we are wondering if wherever we are going is even worth it. We’re in the tag-team period where it’s either Dave OR me going out, sleeping in, having quiet space, but rarely both.

And yet it’s also the stage of lots of laughter, lots of cuddles, lots of crayon drawings given as gifts day in and day out. It’s the stage where our hearts swell with love as we spy on kids who are having moments of tenderness towards one another. It’s the phase of life where everything is loud, chaotic, demanding, and yet, somehow there’s this part of you that is aware of the fact that no matter how bothered you are by it now, you will miss it when it’s gone.

So as we enter into the last two weeks of summer holidays, I want to intentionally remind myself of who it is I have the privilege of mothering every day.

There’s my first-born Gabriel. Eight going on fourteen nine. He’s like a spring day where you can expect storms and sunshine all in the same 24 hours. Friends are super important to him and he is gaining freedoms as well as responsibilities. With a flair for the dramatic, he struggles to sit still when telling a good story. He is also highly relational and loves to have a chat with anyone who will listen.

image

 

image

image

image

 

Coming in a close second, we have Elijah. Seven. Life is mostly good for his guy most of the time. He is a curious soul with a fair dose of ants in his pants. He is kind, sensitive and mischievous all rolled in to one handsome package. Often when you talk to him, he has that faraway look in his eye and is most likely planning his next kingdom on Minecraft.

image

image

image

image

Dear, sweet little Benjamin. Three going on four. This guy is our little lovebug. He is the one who is most likely to be credited for softening his parents rough edges. Always ready with a cuddle and an “I love you so much” right when it is needed, he pays close attention to relational dynamics of the family. His sweetness and generosity has won many hearts over.

image

image

image

image

And our lucky, little last, Josiah. 7 1/2 months. He is the final piece of this family puzzle and has captured every one of our hearts in his short time with us. He is proving so far that he wants to keep up with his brothers:  off the size charts for his age, eight teeth in seven months with more on the way, picking up finger food, and moving all over the floor. He is vocal, playful, focused and cheeky. We are smitten!

image

 

image

 

image

 

image

455…

455…

image

455. Apparently that’s how many days have passed since I felt the need to write in this format. In the time away from here, I’ve managed to bring forth a whole other human being from my body, keep three other ones alive, grow in my love for my husband, host a myriad of visitors from near and far, and continue to find my feet in a country that is beautiful and challenging all at the same time. I have wrestled, I have grown (hopefully), I have been strengthened, I have been up, down and all around. My heart and my desire has remained loyal to Jesus. Basically life in all of its bigness and smallness has continued to happen.

And in those 455 days, words and thoughts came and went, like the faithful tide moving in and out. I didn’t take the time to capture any of them, but rather chose to let them come and go at their will. But it’s time now. I don’t know what it is about the 455 day mark, but now the words want to be captured, written, shared, enjoyed.

And so I’m back behind the screen desiring to capture snippets once again of this household, my inner world, and share them with family and friends near and far. It’s a way of reminding myself that I am more than these four walls, this small town, and am a part of something that extends beyond. How far beyond, I don’t know, but we’ll find out.

image

holidays and adventures…

holidays and adventures…

image

So there was this time we took a family trip to this whole other country. Living in Europe means that can happen easily and without the need for airplanes. Our destination was Legoland. At times I feel my home could be mistaken for Legoland, minus the roller coasters and hundreds of other people. But alas, we were headed to Lego Mecca, Denmark.

The journey there was more adventurous than we hoped with rough seas making for an unpleasant ferry ride. However, once land was underneath us again, there was no turning back! We stayed at a pretty little coastal town and were in prime position for adventure and fun.

And Legoland didn’t disappoint. The kids had a blast and Benji has been singing about Legoland since we’ve been home. There were roller coaster rides, underwater discoveries, fire trucks and putting out fires, canoe ride, train ride, merry-go-round and mini Ferris wheel for the less danger inclined, duplo airplanes, and the Viking Falls where Dave and Elijah got wetter than they bargained for, failed attempts at winning prizes, over-priced food and ice-cream, and thousands upon thousands of Legos to enjoy.

As well as enjoying two days at Legoland, we also got up to other mischief including pool fun, scouring town looking for decent coffee, a beautiful scenic walk, and crazy fun at the hotel playground.

All up it was definitely worth the time, effort, money, five people sleeping in one room and 11hr drive home. It’s these moments that carve a space in the boys memories that will be meaningful in years to come. I love stepping out of the ordinary with my family and seeing them in new, fresh ways.

These were just some of the many pics (just for you, mom!) that captured the moment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

…where the sun don’t shine…

…where the sun don’t shine…

So.  It’s March 5th and I am starting to feel desperate for sunshine.  I lived for 16 years in Perth, Western Australia, where for the most part of the year you.will.see.the.sun.  I have now landed on the opposite end of the spectrum.  Though my first full winter in Norway has not been as bad as I expected, I am feeling the difference between sunlight and sunshine.  My body is craving s.u.n.s.h.i.n.e.  The golden rays actually breaking through the snowy white blanket of low-laying cloud.  An exchange of white sky for glorious blue.  We have had 17.4 total hours of sunshine in the first two months of this year.  17.4.  And out of the 59 days of January and February, 50 of them involved snow or rain or some combination of both.  According to the forecast, we may actually see the sun partly on Saturday.

image

As I wait with bated breath for that day, I took the time today to write out seventeen things I’m grateful for in the midst of the never-ending grey days.  In no particular order:

  1. I have finally finished a TV series that Dave and I started watching on DVD when I was pregnant with Elijah, 6 ½ years ago.  The West Wing.  I know, I’m a nerd, but I loved it all.  I’m sure my dad would be proud.
  2. I have figured out that the phrase “stick it where the sun don’t shine” is not actually rude at all.  There are real places that exist.
  3. Sitting and watching the glow of the fire in the fireplace for an hour in the morning satiates the pyromaniac in me like never before…and reminds me what it feels like to have warmth on the face.
  4. Those little pieces of Lego that use to be a curse when found in every corner of the house, have now become an immense source of gratitude due to the hours they have engaged my boys’ attention.  They have also taken pride of place on the fireplace mantel…and I’ve so far been able to gladly resist the urge to dethrone them because of the pleasure they bring on inside days (which have been countless).image
  5. I have become more ok with child-boredom…feeling less and less the need to be the one to solve it.
  6. I can almost sing all of Brannmann Sam (Fireman Sam) in Norwegian…a truly valued skill I’m sure.image
  7. “Doing the dishes” has become one of Benji’s favourite activities.
  8. I actually joined in on the family outing to the local swimming pool, despite the rule of showering naked with all of my fellow female townsfolk.
  9. Shoveling has not been too bothersome as of late…the rain and fluctuating temperatures have taken care of most of the snow that falls.image
  10. Who knew that it was possible to play in snow AND rain puddles at.the.same.time.  Oh what toddler joy!
  11. After 16 years of living where I spent most of my time hiding from the sun, I have become one of ‘those’ people that commands all to head outdoors when there is even a hint of the sun’s rays poking through the clouds
  12. I have learned that our house can comfortably cater for 15 children and 10 adults at a child’s birthday party.image
  13. I am grateful that my children play outside when at school and kindergarten because I have little heart to send them out when the weather is gloomy and wet.
  14. It has taken an increased amount of indoor time to slowly begin to relax some of the many ‘rules’ that have proven themselves to be ridiculous in a house full of boys.  I think the ‘don’t run in the house’ rule was made up by someone who existed in fair weather with girls…or who at least didn’t prize their sanity.
  15. The fact that we have not yet replaced our broken bed frame and are still sleeping on a mattress on the floor has proven to be a great source of indoor trampoline fun.
  16. Who knew that I, Patricia Lindberg, would ever be grateful for green carpet?  After vowing to never live in a house with carpet again and nearly falling apart when I realized we would have GREEN carpet in our house, my feet have been incredibly grateful throughout the winter for the warmth it has brought.
  17. The occurrence of pajama days has increased…and that’s always a good thing, right?image
one year anniversary…

one year anniversary…

image

I couldn’t let this day pass without sitting down, reflecting and writing words.  It has been a year since our big move and we have survived.  We knew that the first year was going to be about survival, transition, adjustment, hanging on.  And we did.  Standing on this side of the year that has been, I’m full of peace, gratitude and joy.

One year on and the pulse of our family is beating strong.  My seven-year-old speaks and reads in two languages, has made some great friends and is learning to love the Lord and make good choices in challenging situations.  My two-days-away-from-being-a-six-year-old has learned the language remarkably well for being in kindergarten only three days a week.  He has also decided he wants to be a scientist and daily earns the ‘world’s best big brother’ award.  And our sweet, spunky two-year old has learned to distinguish between Norwegian and English, says ‘yes’ or ‘ok’ to absolutely everything and thinks that life is best lived in cuddles.

image

As for the adults in this family, we are pleasantly surprised with how we’ve landed at the end of this past year.  There have definitely been hiccups and growing pains and situations that we’ve never had to face before, but through it all, the Lord has been faithful and His strength unwavering.  Without a doubt I can say I’m grateful that we took what felt like a giant leap.  And I’m beginning to feel ready to peer ahead into what the future holds.  I’m still very much in foreigner status, understanding a great deal of the language but struggling to formulate my thoughts into words.  I get irrationally frustrated at bureaucracy and beat my head up against certain ways of thinking and things I cannot change.  But all in all, I know this is where the Lord has us and I am grateful and I’m growing.

image