A Review of "A Happy Boy" by Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson

1.13.2017

A Happy BoyThis review contains plot spoilers and will probably ruin the ending.

A Happy Boy by Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Happy Boy was my first read by Bjørnson, as well as my first Norwegian story, and it was simply amazing. It felt like such a light and refreshing read, and I loved it from the first paragraph and knew I was going to love the rest! I often have to read 20 pages or so before I get truly interested, but that wasn't my experience here.

The story opens with a remark about Oyvind as a baby, and quickly goes to his early childhood, where he meets Marit. I appreciated that the story started almost immediately, without a lot of explaining or "fluff," and that there was still so much to tell. There were some points I wish I had known a little more, or certain times where I was confused by the span of time, but I don't feel like I missed anything, and the time frame soon became rather clear.

About halfway in Oyvind goes off to school, and while Bjørnson doesn't write much about Oyvind's life at school, I really loved that time because we were only privy to the letters he wrote, and I liked seeing the differences in writing amoung he, Marit, and the school master. I found a lot of it amusing as well, like requests to burn immediately, and Oyvind getting frustrated with Marit's short letters.

As Oyvind came home I came to love him even more by his role with his family, his determination with Marit, and how he so respectfully stood up to her family and eventually gained favor, to the point that he not only got her, but the farm as well!

While I would have loved to read about the wedding "as it was happening" there was something wonderful about it being narrated, and while I was so sad the story was coming to an end, I was also so happy with how it was ending and I felt it was perfect. Sometimes there is a happy ending.

Oyvind was always a happy boy.

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You can read this book for free via Amazon Kindle here. If you read it (or have read it), please tell me your thoughts!

2017

1.09.2017

Hello everyone! I am totally a week late at posting my plans for 2017! Honestly, I've still just been mulling it all over in my head, and seeing as how I'm spending the first 17 days of the year visiting family, it kind of feels like it's starting January 18th for me (or for real the Monday after that).

First off, I'm still going to work on my 2016 word, which was calm. I feel like I failed more than I wanted to, though I feel the past month or two has been especially productive in this area. I am also continuing to work on planning better. I've been using my planner again as of September, and received a Passion Planner from my friend Fenna in December, so I'm going into it with a completely different plan than I did last year, and I feel 2017 will be much better for that. (For my 2016 post, see here.)

Last month I wrote a post (see here), or perhaps rant, mostly about social media, and how I wanted to change how I use it, how often, etc. I laid out some plans and I want to carry those out. So I'll still be there, but I will probably be reducing my Facebook friends, reducing how many people I follow on Instagram, actually utilizing Pinterest, because it can be such an amazing tool, and I may rid myself of Twitter altogether. So that will be going on, and hopefully I can get to a point I'm happy with by summer.

I also wrote about a possibility of some kind of hobbies schedule, and I think I have deduced that I should choose two projects for a week, then one for the next week, then two for the next, then one for the next, and so on. I wanted two a week, but I decided that because I do most things after Marion goes to bed, that I should allow myself room to not get things done, or to catch up, because her sleep schedule can change. Also, for projects that will take longer to complete, or have more complicated steps, I'll just break these down into "sections." Expecting myself to crochet a stuffed animal and edit this folder of 50 photos in one week is too much (those animals take 24 to 30 hours!). I'll probably plan these in my planner the week before so I can choose what is interesting me more at the time.

Now on to the main thing...

Fenna introduced me to the KonMari method of organising back during the summer and we discussed other ways this method can be used, and I've pondered it a lot, and it helped me decide on all the other stuff. I need to say no more to things that don't bring me joy, to things I don't like, to things that are unnecessary and stress me out. I also want to say yes more to things I love, things that do bring me joy, and things I love to do. I need to refocus and reground myself, and I think this is an important step.

In addition to the above, I will be completing goals via my Passion Planner, and also keeping record of all the good things that happened in a day, or things I accomplished. I focus on too much of the negative, so I'm forcing my mind to consider all the positives.

I have a whole mix of things I want to do this year! Because of that I will probably discontinue my Monthly Goals posts, and instead I may post an update on the 2017 activities.

And with that, goodnight and happy 2017!

Dear Marion

12.30.2016

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We're in your room right now, and I've had a lot I wanted to say, so I'm taking the opportunity to put this down somewhere. You fell asleep in my arms while we were lying in your tent, and now I'm just sitting on the floor a foot from you.

I thought as you grew older and became more mobile that our bond would change, that it would lessen as you didn't need me as much for everything, but it hasn't at all. It's only continued to grow and become stronger. I love every minute with you, and I love that I get to spend every minute with you. Yes, there are sometimes I need to do this or that, or I'd just like five minutes to myself, but ultimately we figure out how to make it to work together. like literally, we do everything together, and I love it that way. When I do get those five minutes, I usually just miss you!



The Christmas season was so fun with you. You were so happy to watch every Christmas cartoon ever with me, and drink hot chocolate, and just lounge around (see here). You wanted me to sing the Christmas songs, you wanted to read Christmas books. I think we watched Frosty at least 30 times! You even watched Elf with me and laughed! Fortunately, we have two more Christmases next week, so we'll just keep celebrating.

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The past couple of months you've been wanting to color. A lot. Like, all the time, and I love it. I love watching you be creative. I like watching you try different lines, draw circles, and try to draw other different shapes, try to color in the lines, and try to make your own lines to color in. And I love that you want me to do it with you, how you make me say the color when you hold up a marker and then giggle and scrunch your nose. Since you've gotten your desk it's been so fun too. You've discovered paint, and stickers, and now you're making little art pieces that are paint, marker, crayon, and sticker! I can't wait to show you glue sticks!

Tonight felt a bit special. I put up the second tent that goes to this labyrinth Grandpa and Grandma got you, and it's totally overtaking your room, and one of the rods bent when I was putting it together and now it's all oddly shaped, but you were so happy the whole time, running in and out the two openings, then through the other tent and tunnel, and back again, laughing the whole time. And when I was done, you pushed me into the tent, plopped down on me, and smiled and giggled for like three minutes straight. You got so upset when I got up, but you didn't know I was gathering up pillows an blankets and stuffed animals and books and your flashlight. When you figured it out, you had the biggest smile. Then we lay down in your tent, cuddled up with blankets, turned on the flashlight, and read Nighttime In The Neighborhood literally twelve and a half times. You wouldn't let me stop! I kind of didn't want to either, because it was so fun. Finally, after singing the nighttime song that's in the TV episode a few times, and singing the Daniel Tiger theme song a few times, you rolled over, snuggled under my neck, and went to sleep. All told, it was only an hour or so, but it felt like forever, in a good way. And it's a moment I want to remember, and a moment I want to tell you about when you're older.

In a few days we'll be traveling to Alabama, and it's the last trip we'll take with you as an "infant." Next time, you'll have your own seat, and you'll probably have to actually sit in it at least for takeoff and landing. It'll be a big change since you're always wrapped up in my arms. It seems like a minor thing, you're now too old to sit in my seat with me, but it's a big thing for me because it's another way in which you're growing up. I don't necessarily miss your newborn days, and I'm not entirely anxious for three or four or five, or any age. There are times I wish you were older and could understand this or that, and things like that, but every step of the way, I have just loved and enjoyed the stage you were in. It's still saddening when I think about you getting older though, because time is fleeting, and I want to make the most out of everything.



You're a very special little girl, the most special to me, and I don't want to imagine my life without yours. I love you with my whole heart, which is is bigger because of you.

I love you most, I love you best,
Much, much more than all the rest.
I love you tall, I love you high,
Way up in the sunny sky.
I love you far, I love you wide,
From over here to the other side. 
I love you low, I love you deep,
Down where the octopuses sleep.
I love you huge, I love you vast,
For the fun to come and the fun that's passed.
I love you big, I love you tough,
When the path is smooth and when it's rough.
I love you strong, I love you small,
Together we have it all.
I love you wild, I love you loud,
I shout it out and I feel proud.
I love you soft, I love you still,
And you know I always will.
I love you close, I love you tight,
When you're wrong and when you're right.
I love you night, I love you day,
In every moment come what may...
Because I love you with my whole heart,
From where to end to where you start.

(I Love You Night and Day by Smriti Prasadam-Halls)

Planning for Next Year, or A Ramble

12.05.2016

Hello, December!

This is the point where I usually review the words I chose for the year, start reflecting, and looking at what I accomplished and didn't accomplish, and then I look at what my intentions for the next year may be. Today I had intended to review my words for 2016, but I have so many thoughts that I think I'm going to put that on hold.

What I feel like writing about is next year, what's ahead. This is my brainstorm, which is unorganised and messy right now.

First, I'll address my thoughts on school. If you've been a long time reader, you might already know this, but I'll give a quick history. I graduated with an Associates Degree, and then went on to three other colleges, but never finished. A lot of what life happening, and a lot is because I'm uncertain about what to major in, but I decided I definitely want to go back (I have a lot of thoughts on this as well, and I've written about a lot of it, but it's unimportant for what I'm currently discussing). I looked into some schools at the beginning of the year, ran into issues with the advisor, and I decided to let the issue rest and just ponder. It's been a good six months and I feel like I have finally approached some clarity on the issue. So I'm going to continue pondering, and I think I'm going to discuss it with some close friends at this point, and maybe by summer I will start looking into different schools and deciding if I want to go completely online or if I want the option to take on-ground classes. So basically what I'm saying is I'm going to continue to ponder. I'm good at pondering.

Next is a more complicated thought and hopefully I can write something coherent here that everyone can follow. The basic theme is my growing dislike for social media, and it's something I started thinking about during the summer, and I'm now coming up with some solutions that don't involve me abandoning various platforms.

I've never been the biggest fan on Facebook, and I probably wouldn't have it except that it's an easy and convenient way to share photos with my family. I text them photos constantly, but our Alabama and Kansas trips involve 100+ photos and Facebook is good for that. The only other things I post on Facebook are photos that auto post from Instagram. As time has gone on, I've found Facebook has become a place where I'm no longer keeping up with my friends, but seeing arguments, constant posts of things I disagree with and how if I don't agree I'm a terrible person (and God forbid I try to have a friendly discussion). There are photos of dead babies and people exploiting them to get likes and comments. It's just not fun. I don't like it. I removed it from my phone a while back to give myself some more storage, and I forgot that I even removed it. Did not miss it at all. I did not feel any less connected. I recently got a new phone and have plenty of storage now and reinstalled it, but chose not to allow any notifications, and I'm happy. I check it once a week or so when I feel like it to see if I have any notifications, and I might scroll for five minutes before I'm over it. This is working for me. I do have plans to unlike almost everything and remove a lot of friends, but I don't have time for that right now. 

Now Instagram I love. Since the day it was available on Android I have loved it. That is, until Facebook took over and changed the whole design and the algorithm. Until everyone made it about having tons of followers instead of interacting and having a community. I currently follow 235 people, most of which never even pop up in my feed, most of which do not respond to comments I leave. About a month ago I spent a lot of time commenting. I left 20 comments on photos, some accounts had 20,000 followers, some had less than fifty, and I made sure they were comments someone could write a response for. I got exactly one reply, and it was an emoticon. There are a select few people on Instagram that reply when I leave comments, and they're people I would consider online friends rather than just someone I'm following on Instagram. I know everyone can't answer everything, but a lot of times there are accounts who never reply to anything at all. So, I really feel like Instagram is turning into a photo journal app for me, not so much a social app. I've been feeling a little sad about this, but that's fine, it's bothering me less and less. This leads me to the changes I'm considering. First, I follow a lot of shops that I love and that I want to remember, but I'm not a point where I can afford most of these things, they're not necessities. But I would like to bookmark it (this is a good place to express how much I do not like using Favourites or Bookmarks and I'm not even sure why). So, I've thought of utilising Pinterest by making a board of small shops and pinning their sites, so they're nicely organised for when I want to look through them, but I'm not constantly getting advertisements filling up my feed. Second, I'm beginning to feel like Instagram is a little like flipping through a celebrity magazine. Yes, there's some awesome people, and they post pretty pictures, and share pretty moments, and sometimes inspire me, but again there's no interaction. What actual value is this bringing to my life? One thing that made me really think about this was Rory in Gilmore Girls (I've been watching the original series for the first time and loving it!). She is always reading and taking books everywhere she goes, and actually reading them. I used to do that. My daughter has shown a love for books and I'm now packing books for her when we go out. I started realising that all the times she was reading are times that I would be scrolling on my phone nowadays. Now let me go off track for a moment and say I seem to be incapable of reading a book these days. Ten pages and my attention is exhausted. And now I am constantly having to pause and do something for someone, and it's hard to read or write or crochet anything other than a very basic stitch in that situation, but there is still so much time I could be doing something else. Again, what actual value is social media bringing to my life currently? 

Enough social media talk.

I'm also considering working out a schedule of sorts for my hobbies and interests. You may know I have a ridiculous amount of things I love doing. Planning and schedule has been working so well for me. It's helping me prioritise, stay on track with projects, and maximize some of my time. This thought is not fully formed, so I currently have no ideas on how to accomplish this, but I'll figure it out.

I know the social media stuff may sound very cynical, or even mean, but it's what's on my mind, it's how I feel, and it's seriously not meant to offend anyone I have on Facebook or Instagram. I don't get along with everyone, and everyone doesn't get along with me, and that's fine. I'm finally at a point in life where I am who I am and if someone doesn't like it, I don't care and it's not a problem for me. We all have different processes and ways of communicating, and sometimes those things clash. I am also at a point, however, where I understand that the people I choose to interact with, and the things I choose to spend my time on should be meaningful, because I'm not getting any younger, and I've spent too many years without this realisation. I want to enjoy my life, I want to fill my life with things  I like, things that are me, things that add value and purpose. I no longer have room for anything else.

Now I shall conclude because my long-windedness has definitely made an appearance and I'm in one of those moods and mindsets where I could just go on and on and on. So these are things that are in my mind for the next year and I plan to take December to continue mulling and come up with some more organised thoughts and plans to put some of this into action. 

Running Diaries - 11.22.2016

11.23.2016

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Woohoo, I finally got back out! I have been a few times since I last posted, but only like two or three! I really don't have a good excuse, except I've been feeling intensely stressed, and running felt like more stress, so I let it go a little. But I'm ready to get out more and to prioritise this, because my health is important.

I went out yesterday, but I didn't post anything largely because Runkeeper was really acting up on me and my run was very inaccurate. It did the same thing today after a few troubleshooting steps, so I don't know what's going on. Today I kept notes on my start, stop, and break times though, and then I was able to just map my route manually to get an accurate reading. I have researched the issue, and haven't found much so I will probably contact Runkeeper about that once I'm done here, because I'd really like to continue using the app.

Today was a wonderful day, but I wasn't entirely prepared for how cold and windy it was! It was only 46°F, but add a little wind, a lot of shade, and it was freezing! I love running in that weather though, so it wasn't a bother at all, though a scarf would have been nice.

I knew I wanted to do four miles, but since the app was all crazy I had no idea how far I was going. Marion went to sleep almost immediately, so I decided I would just go till she woke up, which obviously turned out great!

I only ran for about three spurts, which I feel is fine since I'm just getting back into this again. I'm still working on not running full speed and on not tightening my arms and shoulders, both of which I have a really hard time with. I also was sure to just walk for the first mile, as I seem to have better endurance for the remainder of the run if I avoid running in that first mile. I now have a route that takes me around the neighborhood and to the park and adds up to a mile exactly, so I use that as a "warm up." Many years ago when I was first diagnosed with heart issues, my doctor told me to always be sure to start slow so my heart rate can increase at a slower rate, and it really does help, for me.

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Look at these enormous, fat squirrels! They were truly massive.

I'm going to force myself out tomorrow too. I nearly skipped today because I simply didn't feel like it, but I was immediately glad I went, and I had a great time.

Before I go, let's talk about where to put the phone while running. I usually put it in the cupholder of the stroller (it has only flown out of there a few times...), but my new phone doesn't fit, and I can't do that in the cold anyways because my phone just shuts off. I need it to be easily accessible so I can pause my run. In my shirt is my only guess, but I feel like sweating against my phone can't be good. I considered an arm band, but I worry my phone will still get too cold. Any ideas?

Pieces of Motherhood, Part 2

11.12.2016


On Thursday we went back to Antioch Park, mostly so I could take some photos of the kids. I had actually brought my camera with me, and I was itching to get it out. We got to the park, and when I turned it on I realized there was no SD card. I had left it at home. Colorado home. I was so disappointed and that definitely added to the depression I was already feeling. Josh gave me his phone and told me to just use that instead, so I did. It took me a little bit to recover though, and I feel ridiculous for it now.

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I actually got a few photos of Joey and Marion that were pretty good, which is rare! I think this is my favourite one.

I love watching her explore different things. She wanted to stand under that tree and just look around (before diving in, because she loves water), and when I sat her in the leaves, she looked so weirded out, and finally realised they weren't so bad. It's so fun to watch her taking things in and learning. I can't help but watch and smile.

We stayed on the boardwalk for a while, but I ended up hanging out with Marion for even longer. She wanted to get the big leaves and put them through the bars and into the water and then watch them float away. After a few times she started saying "there you go" every time she dropped a leaf in. She kept looking at me and just smiling. Eventually she got me to help retrieve more leaves, but only the whole ones, the broken ones stayed on the boardwalk. We cleared the whole area.

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We walked over to the play area, where of course she pointed out the swing and laughed. She loves to swing. We did walk around some, but there were no squirrels to watch, so she leaned against a wall and stared in the window and watched a little girl play instead (she stayed there at least ten minutes).

On Friday Josh and I had had some plans, but we ended up cancelling those as neither of us were feeling well. Instead we went to the store to gather up some food for the trip home. Also, seeing my disappointment the previous day, Josh picked me up an SD card so I'd have it that evening and on the drive home.

When we got back to the house I laid down with Marion for a little bit, who was asleep, but as soon as she woke up we went outside. We all needed some air. I took my camera, and I am so glad I did because I had an amazing time taking photos. I needed that.

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These are some of my favourite photos of her. Some of these just melt me. They're unedited, and I shot these in manual while playing with some different settings, so they're a little off, but that's okay, it was for fun and practice. We had so much fun playing, throwing the balls around, running, playing with Sandey. We stayed outside till the sun started going down, and she and I were sad to head in. We needed that time and I'm so glad we took it.

On Saturday, we made the long drive back home. And it really didn't go terribly at all.

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We stopped first in Rockport, Missouri, which is a place we stopped on our last trip. We took our traditional bathroom selfie, ate, and played. She was so proud of herself for going over to the playground all alone and climbing to the top of that slide. She almost went down it too, but asked for help. I tried to help her go down without holding on to her, but she was too scared. She kept trying though! She's almost there.

We took a long walk around while Josh and Joey were in the restroom. She wanted to run around at first, checking to make sure I was following, and then she grabbed my fingers and said, "Let's go." We walked all over the place with her holding my hand and guiding me around. It was the best thing ever, and it was sad when it ended. It sounds so simple right, your kid is holding your hand walking you all over the place, but it filled me with so much joy.

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We got a little crazy in that last one. I think it was delirium from being in the car about ten hours at that point. She was being so funny. I actually had to change her on the bathroom floor, which made me want to vomit, but I do have an awesome changing pad that her entire body fits on, so it wasn't too bad. But I still thought it was pretty gross.

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Honestly, we didn't do too much in Kansas, but we did get a lot of outside time, and we had some beautiful little moments. I am so happy that I capture so many of these moments. I don't feel like taking photos takes away from these times and experiences at all, but it helps me preserve them, so I can look back on them like I did here.

Being her mom is the best thing. Ever.


For this post, I've linked up with Image-in-ingLife Thru The LensPhoto Friday, and Through My Lens.