Sunday, 15 September 2019

And Off He Goes... // Our Jonas Starts School!

I was sitting at the dining table this morning, laptop out, getting some work done, when my mind went wistfully again to this little space. I can't tell you how I miss it, and yet how the backlog of events and things to record feels slightly overwhelming. I need to write up birthday parties and holidays, back to school feasts and school starters... I know I don't need to record these things for other people, but over the years this spot has become my online diary, a place to display all my photographs and record the details... and while my favourite posts to write are the every day ones, I don't want to miss the big events either.

So I'll lay the parties and holidays to one side for now, and focus on this one instead...

My biggest boy started school!

Oh my goodness... he was so excited, and ready. And being the chillaxed little character that he is has just taken it all in his stride. He's the one I have to chase down across the classroom to get a backward glance, never mind a goodbye hug!

Oh my Mama heart!

Our dear Jonas,

It has been such a joy to have you at home these past 4 years. You are a true little friend, a chirpy little personality to have around, and a sociable little character. Your first four years have been fairly eventful, the second year of your life consisted of napping through hammering and drilling while our house was turned upside down by building work, and then a couple of months before you turned 2, you became a big brother. It has been such a flurry of activity, and yet in the middle of it all, you have remained cool, calm and collected. You truly do take everything in your stride, nothing seems to phase you, and you're generally happy and contented to spend your days chatting, bundling your brother, and collecting all sorts of random nic-nacs in your pockets and rucksack.

I honestly dread going in there!

You are such a fun, smiley, generous and quirky little character - and truly the best big brother. You and Elias are just the best of friends and I'm not entirely sure how he's going to handle not having his best buddy around. I love watching you with him... how you check on him, are affectionate with him, and how the pair of you collapse into ridiculous giggles over your repeated toilet humour... boys! Honestly!

I don't worry about you starting school now... to be honest, you rarely give me need for worry Jonas. You are easy-going and friendly, and will always find someone to play with. You don't take offence easily and you are loyal to your friends and your nursery teachers loved you to pieces. You will do just fine.

Me? I'll miss you like mad... I'll miss having lunch with you and tucking you up for your afternoon nap. I'll miss all the stories we read, cosied up under a duvet - those countless superhero books that you take out from the library every week and I'll miss our Monday Fun-day when you weren't in Nursery. I'll miss the funny things you say, and I'll even miss your fussiness about what t-shirt you want to wear and what shorts don't "feel" right.

But I know this is right. You are ready. You are MORE than ready. And though I can't follow you through those classroom doors and be with you every second of every day, I know I'm leaving you in the hands of the one who is always with you, who loves you even more than I do, and who has perfect plans for your life, as you grow in independence.

I'm praying you will shine your little light at that school, that you will learn the academics needed to do well in life, but more importantly that you'll learn the character that really matters, and I pray you'll be shaped and moulded by the Holy Spirit as he uses your school experience as part of your journey. My prayer is that you'll grow in patience, in kindness and compassion, in loyalty and resilience, in servant leadership and most of all, in Christlikeness. These aren't necessarily lessons you'll be taught at school, but they are lessons you'll learn in the school of life, of which your schoolday plays a part. I'm so excited to see the young man you will become as you grow and mature, though I'm not rushing these little years at all... not one bit.

For now, I'm perfectly contented, tucked under the duvet with my Jonas-boy, reading Spiderman annuals, sifting through lego cards and hearing about your dreams to one day live in a "potato house".

I think I'll park up here for a few more years.

Wir haben dich so lieb Jonas! Viel Spass bei der Schule!

Mama und Papa xxx

Thursday, 22 August 2019

Dear Ava - You're Eight!

Dear Ava M,

The day you have long awaited has finally come - one of the challenges of being August born is all your friends hit the milestone long before you do! You are eight - EIGHT! Eight years since we became parents, eight years since we started this huge adventure of being Mama and Papa to you and all your little siblings. We are so thankful for you every day, and we truly do love being your Mama and Papa!

This year has felt like a milestone in so many ways... little steps of independence have begun and its fascinating and exciting to watch you adapt and change. Long gone is the little cheeky, smiley faced girl with golden ringlets and in her place and growing and maturing little lady with opinions and interests and a fun-loving, adventurous, loyal and trustworthy character.

You are a book-lover... to be honest, that phrase doesn't do justice to the ferocity with which you devour books - once you're involved in a story, there is no retrieving you! You love classical fiction, but are very happy with your nose in a non-fiction book too. The library is your weekly haunt and you completed their entire summer reading challenge within three days. There truly is no stopping you when it comes to reading! I love reading with you and Heidi every evening... there has been something so lovely about sharing all my own childhood book loves with you both! Sitting down with you both at night is one of my favourite parts of the day, and a tradition I hope we'll keep up for many years to come!

You continue to be the most wonderful big sister. Yes, you know how to wind up like the best of them and miraculously always come out looking like the innocent party (classic eldest siblings trait!), but you truly love our little people and are the most amazing support and help in the home. You regularly make breakfast for your siblings, help brush teeth and put on shoes, you know how to empty the dishwasher and dust a room (though bizarrely never remember to make your own bed!) and you are wonderfully organised and self-motivated. I always say you are a dangerous firstborn for us - and lull us into a false sense of expection.

You and your sister continue to be as thick as thieves. Towards the end of the summer term, the bickering had upped a notch and I was feeling pretty worn with the frequency of needed intervention - but then came the summer, and you two having time with each other, space and freedom has just been the most wonderful thing to watch unfold. You are closer than ever right now, and while that doesn't mean you don't know how to get each other into trouble, you have made some amazing memories together this summer... from your crazy poolside dance moves, to your secret hideout, to Chinese Checkers and making your own church building (which they have named Blessing Church! Heidi's the preacher!)

The boys adore you... they are very fortunate (most of the time) to have three Mamas clucking around them. They love it when you invite them to join your games and will look to you if they are feeling sad or hurt. You really are a little tribe of four, and I love watching you all troop off together to immerse yourselves in some kind of game!

One of the things we have loved watching this year is your interest in sports... you are a team player, love watching and playing any kind of team sport, and this summer showed a real nack for tennis as well. In athletics you aren't fast, but you have a stamina which means you 'just keep swimming' and watching you pace round that long distance course is pretty impressive. For now, swimming is where you are focussing most of your effort, and I've loved Monday afternoons watching you improve in the pool to the point where you are a confident and able swimmer.

The other big milestone for you this year was being away from us overnight... both school camp and church camp swung by, and while I was a ball of nerves - you were cool as a cucumber and had an amazing time at both!

Mostly I have loved watching you learn and grow and see new truths about Jesus. We rejoice that you are growing in character and love your confidence and joy in life, but most of all love seeing you grappling with faith, asking big questions and growing in your understanding of the truth of the gospel. We continue to pray that you will anchor your life in the Lord Jesus, dig down deep roots that will hold you firm through whatever life throws at you in the years to come... and that you will continue to delight in the joy of knowing Jesus as your Saviour.

We love you Ava M and thank God for the privilege of walking with you!

Happy birthday sweet girl!

Wir haben Dich so Lieb,

Mama und Papa xx

Monday, 15 July 2019

A Busy Little Summer Season...

I ummed and aahed about what to title this post... I feel like every post has the same message at the moment - life's busy! But truly it is... the end of term bring's a whole new flurry of activity - class swaps, sports days, nursery graduations and end of year parties... it does at times feel a little like we're living in a whirlwind and there isn't an exit!

BUT then the summer stretches before me and its like my whole body breathes a big sigh of relief. "Holidays" with four kids in tow are far from the pre-children holidays of old, and yet there is something wonderful about wide open spaces, fresh air, sunshine and being away from home that causes a level of relaxation and rest I seem to find utterly impossible here. Does anyone else feel like that? I realise we are super privileged to have the opportunity to return to Norway year on year, and its a privilege I truly don't take for granted. This year, we have the exciting adventure of heading to the South of France with my family too... so it's going to be a jam-packed adventure filled summer, and I literally can't wait. Six glorious weeks of no school run, no schedule and no special events.

Just family. And nature. And space.

And yet I think there's a danger in "living for the holidays", or "living for the next break"... or living for anything that is fleeting for that matter - because living in that way steals the joy from the here and now. It robs us of the opportunity to be thankful to the Lord for the daily gifts of grace he gives us in the everyday normal. And it leads us to idolizing something that will never satisfy.

Instead, in all the craziness... I've been seeking to stay rooted to the one who truly brings me satisfaction and rest... and to live gratefully - thankful for every grace he gives me day to day!

Here are some of the things I've been taking joy in, in this busy little summer season!

Last days with both my boys at home - these early years fly by so fast. I literally adored my little girl years, and it has been such a joy to repeat the whole experience with two little boys this time! They are such good little friends and quite hilarious too... its been a more physically exhausting rendition of the small years, but oh so very rewarding and I'm finding it very hard to get my head round the fact I'll only have one baby at home come September!

Precious time with family - We have been so privileged for the past eleven years to live so close to family... as Dave's brother and family head off on a new adventure in Norway, we are so excited for them, but very sad to say our goodbyes. It'll make our summers in Norway all the more precious though!

Sports Day madness - Oh my goodness - sports day! I spent a full day and a half watching different little people taking part in sports day! You'd think having all our smalls so close together it would mean I could kill a few birds with one stone, but no! Each of them had their own sports day and yours truly got well and truly sunburnt. The fatal error of ensuring your children are well-covered only to forget about yourself!

What did I learn in Sports Day this year? That competitive sports really do reveal my children's characters!

Jonas - fun-loving, sporty and ueber-competitive. He won every single race he took part in and when one girl threatened to take over, he powered over the finish line, turned to her and said smugly "I winned that" - oh dear! Looks like we're going to have some fun years of training in winning and losing graciously ahead!

This one is small but speedy - she loves sports, takes it seriously and surprised all of us with the long distance. She is petite and started out way at the back of about 20 other kids... around half way she was still behind but with the most determined look on her little face. As the others started to slow down with exhaustion she powered past on those little legs and ended in 4th. Such a proud Mama moment - not for the position she came in, but for the fact she persevered when it didn't look like she stood a chance. And when she came off, she had no idea what position she'd come in - she didn't care! She was just pleased to have done it!

And then there's this one who literally just loves every minute and has a whale of a time on sports day. She really couldn't care less what position she comes in, she just beams and has fun and is such a great team player. I love that about our Heids. She cheers on the others and just enjoys all the atmosphere and does her best, and has a great time doing it!

Papa at home - Being married to a teacher makes for full on term times, but oh my goodness, the holidays are bliss. We've loved having Dave home this week. Such a gift! And on Thursday morning we actually went out for coffee, just the two of us with no kids in tow in the daytime for the first time in literally years. Very thankful for my hub!

Tiny moments of quiet in the chaos - few and far between, but an opportunity to listen to a good podcast, read a good book or spend some time with the Lord literally feeds my soul like nothing else!

Time with friends - so much fun with this lovely lady who celebrated her birthday yesterday. We spent the day heading up to the Young Living Headquarters, having some quality child-free catch up time, making bath salts and picking up orders for our fabulous essential oils community. Such a joy to work alongside one of my best friends, especially now she's moved so far away! Very grateful to the Lord for this lovely lady, for how she grounds me and points me to Christ.

So its been busy... all of these special moments surrounded by piles of laundry, 3 daily school runs, a house to clean, appointments and meet-ups, bible studies and school events, meetings and workdays. I am truly thankful to the Lord for sustaining me and giving me some incredible opportunities to share Jesus along the way... and though I have probably felt more close to exhaustion than any other season of my life, I'm so very conscious of the joy of being his and of being where he wants us to be for now.

God is good - in the busy seasons, in the quiet seasons, in the heights and in the valleys... he is steadfast and certain when the storms and the gales and the strong breezes of life roll round, as well as when the sun shines and all is well... and his love for me in Jesus is what holds me steady and gives me hope, and roots me deep in the joy of knowing him whatever comes.

"Oh what amazing love,
I stand before the cross,
my pride reduced to dust.
What amazing love
It overwhelms my soul
My broken life made whole.
Oh what amazing love
Forever I will praise
the glories of your grace
What amazing love,
I offer up my life -
a grateful sacrifice
for your amazing love
Your amazing love..."
(Tim Chester, Colin Webster, Phil Moore)

Sunday, 16 June 2019

Dear Jonas... you're 4!!!

Oh our Jonas!

What a joy and a delight you are! You are everybody's friend... easygoing and loyal with a definite cheeky streak... and now you are 4! Officially out of the toddler years and gearing up to start school. It seems like only yesterday I sat in that hospital bed as we introduced your sisters to their baby brother. You were the loveliest, most easygoing, chilled out baby, and now you are a truly lovely little boy to have around as well!

I love how you take life in your stride. You have an inner confidence which means there's very little that phases you, and you make friends very easily. You won't be pressured to doing anything just because somebody else is, but you'll wait til you're ready and then throw yourself into it completely with full enthusiasm! Whether its jigsaw puzzles or crabby fingers for writing, you were extremely stubborn that you were NOT going to take part until you were good and ready. And yet, suddenly overnight it seems, you decided you COULD do those things and off you went!

Your current interests are pirates (obviously - pics to follow!!), Paw Patrol, cards of any description, superheroes and lego. You are ridiculously excited about being able to move up to the same Sunday School class at church today as Heidi... 4 has been a long time coming!

I love that you are this wonderful combination of stubborn and easygoing, of loving company and being comfortable in your own space. You are also one of our family comedians and frequently have us all laughing,especially when you double act with your partner in crime - Heidi! The two of you are make-believe friends at the moment, and usually have some little game going on. Ava is your Mama figure, roles you both fell into when you were born, and one which Ava has absolutely aced... and Li-Li? Well. as he often tells you - "Yo-Yo bes' fend!" (best friend!) and the two of you like nothing better than getting up to mischief together.

You have a fabulous singing voice, and a wonderful memory for words, meaning you can frequently be found in church belting out songs at the top of your lungs! Current favourites are "10,000 reasons" and "My Lighthouse", but you regularly surprise me by belting out lesser known songs without any problem whatsoever.

We're praying that the words you sing so boldly and beautifully on a Sunday will be words that speak truth and life into your little life as you grow. That you would keep singing whatever may pass and whatever lies before you... that you would always look to Jesus as your lighthouse - the one who shines in the darkness and calls us to trust him. Our prayer is that your little roots will dig down deep in your identity in Christ so that you will always remain strong and sturdy in him.

We love you so very much, Jonas... you truly bring so much joy to our lives and we're so grateful to God for every moment we have with you

God bless you our boy!

Mama x und Papa x

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

A Trip To the Chocolate Factory // Heidi's 6th Willy Wonka Party

I am SO late getting this post out, its embarrasing! It's over two months since Heidi turned six... but given that I've never failed yet to record a birthday party on this little space, I didn't want to start now!

This was SUCH a fun one, and I might have done a little giggle of delight when Heidi announced she wanted a "Willy Wonka" party!

Sooooooooooooooo much creative license!

Monday, 6 May 2019

Springtime Art //Life Lessons from my Paintpot

We started these little nature journals a couple of years back. They are such little treasure troves for me... memories of explorations and adventures in the great outdoors, and seeing the girls development of craft and skill as little painters. Watercolour is generally our medium of choice, and we're still finding out feet with it, but I love these little books for so many, many reasons!

Friday, 3 May 2019

Little Loves in April

Wow! April was a jam-packed month! We spent a week away in Wales with our church family, enjoyed the sunshiney Easter weekend, celebrated Elias' 2nd birthday and spent many happy hours in the garden. It was so full that its taken me until May 3rd to get this blog post written! It has been full, but so much fun! And we're heading into a new month with lot's of happy memories from the last!!

So here's what we've been up to!