Beginnings, again.

My heart is split in two: I am bursting with pride over my girl and all that she is, of how grown she has become, of how open she is to everything ahead. And then, I mourn a little for a childhood in passing, and for all those moments lost in time. 

But today, today was all about starting 5th grade, meeting friends after weeks of summer break, of fresh clothes and new beginnings. I am one proud mama.

Love of nature.

When I was little, or probably when I was Ronjas age, I used to think that I was so lucky to be Norwegian, I could hardly believe it. The fact that I was born into a wealthy (in global terms) family in one of the richest and safest countries in the world, was simply beyond me. It still is. Talk about winning the lottery.

For some reason, I thought about this today, when we were out in the forest picking blueberries. The beauty and lushness of the woods, the pleasant weather, feeling free and safe and comfortable at the same time, and being able to pick these tasty little fruity things from nature, it made me feel like that again. Like I carry a privilege in this life I have, and my kids too, and that we must cherish it and take care of it and preserve it. And I think one of the most important gifts I could ever give them, is love of nature and to appreciate it in its many forms. Like freshly picked blueberries on your evening porridge, for example. It doesn't get much better than that.

Today:

I surprised myself (and everyone else in the house) with sleeping until 10.30 this morning, and oh how I needed that. Thank you to Mr. Payne and the kids for leaving me alone. That little Mr. Payne has interrupted my sleep an unknown number of times every night the last couple weeks (I am talking about my son here!), and stuff like that takes its toll. He has four teeth breaking through simultaneously, and I have decided that this is why he wriggles and raves around in bed half of the night. So charging up on a bit of sleep does good for an old and weary soul like myself.

After lunch we headed out to the river, threw out a couple of fishing rods (well, the lines anyway), and went skinny dipping, wohoo! This summer seems to be coming to an end, there is that fresh autumnal draft in the air in the morning, and the heat isn't as pacifying as it was earlier. I have to admit, I like it, but it still is great to make the most of what's left and throw oneself into the water as much as possible. 

The afternoon was spent cooking up a lovely soup with garden veg, and then - finally! - our big girl came home after what feels like ages away from us. That feeling of being everyone again, it's hard to beat. 

It was a good day, this Sunday in August.

Lately: On elephants and other things.

The biggest kiddo has been on a trip to the mountains with her grandmother the last week, so it's just been the little ones at home. Which in some respects is more than enough! Falk is reminding me more and more of a herd of elephants on a wild rampage, so I've got my hands full with him at the moment. I'm glad it's the right season for just opening the door and turfing him out when it gets a bit intense. He is positively the most charming little rascal I have ever come across, god he melts my heart every day, despite the elephant resemblance.

August is upon us, and it's been a grey and rainy day today. I have to admit it's refreshing, although I hope summer isn't quite over yet. Another dip in the ocean and a camping weekend would be perfect before autumn embraces us. From a farmers perspective, this rain is more than welcome. The fields really need it, and when Mr. Payne checked our well today, the water was very low. Yikes! We might have to resort to self-cleansing methods in the near future (meaning no showers or baths). Maybe our cats can teach us a trick or two.

Xxx

Blown away.

I drove through a thunderstorm on Saturday night to witness the birth of a beautiful and strong baby girl. Welcome Saga, your journey earthside is imprinted in my heart.

(The whole story will be posted on my birth photography website www.birth.no - when I've worked through the hundreds of photos. You shall be given notice.)

These days.

The heat is consistent and lets us really soak in the delight of summer, it's filling up our reservoirs to go through another winter, it tans our skins and lightens our hair, the soil goes dry and the ever panting dog seeks refuge in the dark coolness of the hall during the day. We have already picked our redcurrant bush almost bare, and made juice from it with the freshest taste of summer, I bake bread every other day, just to do something sensible during the hottest hours, and apart from that we mostly hang around in the shade, play games, listen to the radio, read. In the cooler afternoons we go for a dip in the local swimming pond, before we head back for a home cooked evening meal with lovely produce from our gardens. 

I'm on call for a birth, I've got my camera all packed and ready, and the magic and intensity of what I'm about to witness, contrasts heavily with the lightness of these days. How lucky I am, to have this electric contrast in my life, to be invited into such a space, and to wait for it so pleasantly. These summer days, they are freedom encapsulated.

Explosion.

It still completely puzzles me, that the tiny little seeds we put into soil in spring, now have transformed into this huge variation of amazing plants. And they even feed us! How something so complex can be programmed in those small seeds, is nothing short of a miracle. The garden is in full bloom, and our meals nowadays consist of a huge part from the garden. What luxury!

The real Mr. Payne.

Happy birthday to my father-in-law, my husbands dad, my childrens granddad - the real Mr. Payne! We wish we could have been there to celebrate your big day, but we promise to make it up to you. You are such an inspiration, you have a big heart and you are a wonderful example to us and our children. Lots and lots of love from all of us!

xxx

(Check out the handsome farmer below! I see so much of my Mr. Payne in him. And the kids on the roof are my husband and his brother helping their dad out, just like our kids help us on the farm. Good things are passed on.)

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This guy.

Just about to turn one and a half, this little monkey melts his mamas heart every day. He is such a cheeky charmer, using those big eyes with the long lashes for what they are worth to get away with his little schemes. 

Right now he is the only kid in the house, because his sisters went with my dad to the mountains today. A couple of days of hiking and fishing awaits, and they were more than mildly excited when they took off this morning. Lucky them for having such a granddad! And lucky me for getting some alone-time with this little guy. Although I miss my girls already, it is nice to be able to focus completely on Falk for a while. He is the loveliest little rascal a mother could ever ask for. Sigh.

Days of summer.

We usually go on holiday to England and Portugal in the summer, to visit Mr. Paynes parents and brother with family. It's always been a lovely break, but at the same time we have felt it strange to leave home at the prettiest time of year, when our garden is in bloom and we can finally eat from it, the weather usually is lovely, and we can enjoy life to the fullest here. Also, we are building kennels on the farm to start a dog motel (cats too eventually), and we have a cow to milk twice a day. So we're staying home. Next year we'll probably go, but in the autumn. This summer then, is spent in ways reminiscent of my childhood summers - with trips to the coast. We are so lucky, we have friends who share their luxuries with us, so we can climb aboard a boat and travel out to sea, stopping at an island to spend the day.

What better way to spend a hot sunny day? I can't think of any.

(Ps. Remember my holiday films from last year (this and this and this)? Well, I'm making another one from one of these days. Coming up!)

Hoist anchor!

Wow. Back online after the lightning struck our modem dead - twice. Hopefully this one will last longer, if this mama can remember to pull out the plugs when nature starts rumbling. 

This summer has so far been a roller coaster in more ways than one. After starting my summer break in the end of May and up until now, I have done a whole lot of thinking. I brought myself to a place where I had to make an important decision, and it wasn't an easy one.

My love of photography has always been there, ever since I learned how to use my dads old analog Nikon EM, but it has evolved, and become more substantial, a bigger part of my life, something I've taken more and more seriously. And although my teaching job was great, and having a steady income every month was lovely, there was this voice within, I think it came from my heart, and it started speaking really loud. It was so loud that in the end, I couldn't hear the other thoughts I tried to think: for example that I should work a few more years as a teacher, that I should wait, that I should have more security, that maybe I shouldn't change anything at all. All I could hear was: Go for it.

So I did. I jumped, I did what scared me the most.

I am not going back to work this autumn. I am now self-employed. I am shocked, happy, relieved, and crazily excited about it. It feels like a completely bonkers thing to do, but it feels so right. That voice isn't so loud anymore, it just sort of grunts happily every now and then, gives a little sigh of relief, says that I did good.

I wouldn't have done this if I didn't think it would work, if I didn't have faith in it. I think I can make a living out of being a photographer, and so far it has been great. Lots of work, lots of photos, lots of happy customers. 

I am doing both the birth photography (see www.birth.no & www.facebook.com/fodselsfoto for more) and the more conventional work, as my alter ego Bygdefotografen (www.bygdefotografen.no & www.facebook.com/bygdefotografen) - both for the private and commercial market. I have tons of other plans too. (And yes! You are welcome to get in touch if you need a photographer!)

After having gone through this process, thinking so much my head was about to crack, weighing things back and forth, worrying, pondering, feeling confused - out of all of that, after the decision was made, came this one feeling, this one word. Freedom.

I am free. 

Today:

There has been a row of sick days in the family, and we have all taken our turn. Last ones out are Falkie and me, and luckily we are just bitten by a mild flu unlike the others, who had the stomach bug. Ew. I've been sniffling my way through the day with a headache on the side, while Falk really hasn't bothered to sniffle at all - the snot has mostly just been laid out there, like babes often do it. Ill or not, things must be done nonetheless, so having a big sis to hang on to is definitely a good thing. 

Work and play. That's what we do. My girls decided to make dinner today, and made taco wraps for everyone, with salads from the garden. There is something quite nice about being able to lie on the sofa feeling poorly when you can hear your kiddos rustling about in the kitchen making food for you. I must say. Having children ain't so bad.

Oh and coming out in the garden after a nap to find your gang busy climbing the flag pole in an action filled game of pirates, well that's pretty cool, too.

Today was a good day, snot and all.