Saturday.

We had the most beautiful weather today, mist shifting with sun shifting with mist again. Such gorgeous light. Finally we were all home at the same time during the daylight hours, so we had the chance to be together outside and make the horses' grave nice. We put hay in a circle where they are, and stones in a medicine wheel formation, and the trees we're planting will be in the middle of it.

I still can't get my head around the fact that they are both under there, my beautiful horses. We miss them. There's a screeching silence, a gaping hole on the farm now they're not here. An absence very much felt. Still, today I felt more at peace with it than I have before. Like the shock of it has subsided a bit.

And we had a lovely day, and I have felt that tingle again slightly, that blissful ache in my chest telling me that I'm on the right track. That I'm on a journey where my heart walks beside me, happily holding my hand and agreeing on the destination.

Waves.

It's been one of the toughest, most heart-opening weeks of my life. Bottomless lakes of tears, a pulsating heart chakra, waves of grief pouring over me. We have lost both our horses this week, and last night they were buried together, in the garden, under a starry sky. A big machine came up to the farm to make a hole for their soft bodies. They are resting together, I can see the fresh soil covering their grave from where I am sitting now. In spring we will plant two trees there: a weeping willow and a horse chestnut.

I just walked the trail of sorrow, from their stable to the places they died and to where they are buried. Saw their footprints in the mud. Remains of their last meal of hay. Tufts of hair, piles of poo, marks from their gnawing on posts, an empty water bucket. I howl, I weep, I sigh. It never feels empty.

I am so thankful for having had them in my life, and yet I have no idea how to deal with the loss. The longing for their sounds, the way they smelled, the warmth of their bodies. Their presence, their soulfulness, their beauty.

I just let it wash over me.

When your favourite chicken dies.

I left the door to the chickens open today. It was sunny and warm and I figured they could use some sunlight, and they happily came outside to check winter out. And then, a few hours later, I found our favourite chicken, Berntadotte, dead outside my window. The fox had been here. There were feathers on the ground, no chickens to be seen anywhere, except her. 

Let us just take a moment for Berntadotte: She was the only survivor of a fox attack where she used to live - at our friend Bernt's house (thus the name) - so he gave her to us. She was the cuddliest hen we've had, you could pick her up and stroke her, she was so friendly. I am so sad.

We found a little over half the flock in the barn, two were hurt, one had to be slaughtered, and we are still lacking eight chickens. 

It's tough learning sometimes, this farm life.

Milestone.

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The two on the flanks have been away for ten days, traveling with their dad to his family in Portugal and England. I have been home with the youngest and the oldest, and to be honest it has been heaven. I feel two years worth of tired in my soul and my bones. Two years ago, that's when things got really difficult in my marriage, that's when that feeling of bliss in my chest disappeared. And then there was all the stuff with Wolfie, and the intensity of self employment and general life with four kids. So now, things are settling down. My ex husband is moving out today, seven months after we split up, and finally, we can high five each other and say "we did it". He's renting the farm next door, the kids will have an even bigger kingdom to roam, and I'll be expecting that feeling in my chest to return any time soon.

Farm life.

It ain't always the rose colored dream people think, but getting out there in the cold and dark winter, feeding animals and making sure everyone is okay, with a baby on my back (who loves it), is pretty romantic in its own quirky way. And then going back in, to a warm kitchen with the fire going, feeling how your body just really started and that it works! - well, that's pretty darn awesome in my opinion.

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We are stardust.

In times of challenge, for me the way to go is always this: Look to nature. Simplify, clarify, strip down to the basic elements, the materials you consist of. Air, water, stardust, earth, silence, fire. Hands and heart and intention. Love what is close. Be here now. 🌕

Twelve.

You are strong and smart and sweet and beautiful, and I still feel the same as I did the day you were born: that I won the lottery, that I was given an amazing privilege to be chosen as your mother. So thankful that you picked me!

And today, you are twelve! My brave wonderful Ronja, I love you endlessly. Happy birthday!

In the hospital, part two.

I've made a post like this before, when we came home from the hospital a bit over a year ago, after having been there for three weeks, our first three weeks together. We have come a long way since then, and now, we have done it, we have faced and overcome a big obstacle. His surgery.

We were admitted on Tuesday, to get settled in and talk with the doctors. We talked about anaesthesia, about risks, about the things they would do in his mouth to close his palate. About pain and blood and medication. I needed all the details, to play it in my mind and be as prepared as possible. The main person was happily ignorant of it all - he acted like he owned the place, playing and running and charming everyone. It was strange; his last day and night before his correction, his last hours with an open palate. Going to bed that night, I felt at ease, ready. I felt calm. 

The morning after was heavy, the hours waiting for the operation passed so slowly, and Ulv had to fast, so I was constantly nervous about him feeling hungry and me not being allowed to feed him. It went so well. This guy just takes it all in his stride. 

And then, the nurses came to pick us up. I was going into the operation theatre with him, so I wore a white overall which reminded me of a beekeepers suit. Wolfie sat on his daddy's shoulders through the corridors, so happy and excited and open. The lump in my throat grew, I had to remind myself to be brave, to not lose face in front of Wolfie, to pretend. And I did, all the way until he slept his strange artificial sleep, and then my dams broke and I cried, all the way back to the room. Tears and snot and fear and waiting. And trust. I felt the trust, I hadn't expected that. I knew he was in the best of hands. Someone wrote on one of my instagram photos, You place your heart in the hands of others, and I thought that was so beautiful and so descriptive. It's exactly what it felt like. You have my child now. And these people took care of him so well, and they did magic, they created a palate for him. It's surreal!

After what was a hard time waiting - but not as hard as I thought it would be - they came to pick us up. The surgeon herself, standing in my room, saying it was over, and that it had been smoother and easier than she had expected, that it had gone so well. Me hugging her and rushing over to wait outside the intensive care unit, to be let in. And there he was, still asleep, blood dripping from his mouth, tubes here and there (even one in his nose, like when he was a baby). 

Five hours later, he was running in the corridor, laughing and being a clown, making the nurses question why he was really there. And that was how it continued: He was crazy strong and active and happy. A small mouth surgery isn't enough to stop this guy!

Here are some photos from our days there.

And then we came home, on Saturday, and it felt so good to be back, and to take in the fact that wow, we did it. It's done!

Now we have to take time to heal. Thank you for all the love you have sent to us! It means a lot.

Love from one happy and relieved mama.

Xxx

The operation.

It's coming up, the day I've been preparing for and dreading for over a year. Tomorrow we will go to the hospital in Oslo, and on Wednesday it's time for Ulv's palate surgery. I remember thinking about it instantly after we found out he had a cleft palate - that we would face surgery one day, that I had to let that happen. And we are here now, and it's not a distant idea anymore, it's a reality coming up very soon. 

I'm scared. Scared of him having the anaesthesia, of feeling him fall into artificial sleep in my arms, of giving him to strangers who are going to cut and sow in him, scared of waiting for him to wake up, of that stillness in between. I'm scared of him feeling pain and feeling disoriented, of all the medicine he will have in his body. I'm scared of letting go.

But I know, my rational brain knows, that we have to do this. That it's for the better for my wolf cub. And when we're out on the other side, we'll have faced another challenge together, it will be behind us, and I'm looking forward to walking away from it, to close that chapter. 

I hear myself saying I love you to him more than usual, I hug him tighter, I cry more, I sense him stronger. I remind myself that the truly brave are soft at heart, and try to let these emotions in. I am opening the door, and there's a wind coming in, and it doesn't feel good, but I'm letting it in. We're doing it.

Please send love and light and strength to us on Wednesday morning. Thank you.


Wolfie was born with a rare condition called Pierre Robin sequence (PRS). It's not a syndrome, but a chain of events (a sequence) that happens in the womb. The lower jaw is not allowed to develop properly (for reasons unknown), and that presses the tongue up into the palate, thus preventing it from closing up. The babies with PRS are born with very small lower jaws and open palates, and this creates trouble in breathing and feeding. The upper airways are usually smaller than normal, and the tongue does not get enough space in the jaw, so it falls back and obstructs the air flow. In Norway this is often corrected with a nasal tube, which Ulv had for almost four months. His jaw had then grown sufficiently so that he could breathe fine without obstruction. The open palate means that the PRS babies cannot breastfeed (they can't create suction/vacuum), so Ulv was bottle fed with a special needs bottle and I pumped for him for the first six months. He eats solids like a normal child. The open palate is usually closed in surgery when the child is a year old. You can read more about Wolfie and his first months on the Zoo Payne section, here.

This is me, now.

Still in transition, still trying to make new pieces fit into this life, looking at the older ones, shifting things around. Rethinking this farm, this home, my plans. Trying to make the everyday work with the father of my children while falling in love with someone else. Trying to make space for everything. Always being honest, staying true, sometimes slipping, always getting up again. Feeling the earth under my feet. Holding my kids close. Drinking a lot of coffee. Staying up too late.

Learning how to love, all over again, this time with myself as the source.

Xxx

Busy busy busy.

So many things to do! This boy is just as independent as his siblings (and reminds me especially of Freja at the same age). He simply wanders off.

Love him. Love that decisive, strong minded, funny, gorgeous little person. So thankful he is mine!

Wild & free monkeys.

I remember an interview with the famous Norwegian philosopher and mountaineer Arne Naess, where the journalist asks him Why did you start climbing?, whereupon Naess quickly responds Why did you stop? It perfectly sums up how wrong our views on childhood and freedom have become; we assume that during childhood we should grow cultivated and civilised and socialised - which are all very good things - but at the expense of the wildness and playfulness so inherent in us. Why let these things go? Why not keep it all, love it all, embrace it all? This is partly why I don't want my children to grow up in institutions (kindergartens/ schools), because the expectations to what or who you should become are so explicit there. You can be yourself, but only if you fit in and follow the rules. The magical autonomy of who we really are, our creative centre, I think it suffers a lot on its way through the institutions. 

Anyway. These two monkeys. They roam the treetops now, without fear and with the lightest touch. I'll hear a voice from high up above, shouting Mammaaaaaaaaaa!, and I'll look up and see nothing, maybe just a ruffle in the leaves up there. And then, movement, and a messy head of hair will appear, almost at the top of the tall tree. And I have fought the urge to shout Come down!, because I know I shouldn't hold them back, and I have to trust them. I have to trust them to trust their bodies and their boundaries. Because I want them to do like that 90-year old philosopher did; never stop playing, never stop climbing.

The end of an era.

We sold three of our cows today. Among them was Daisy, the one we've had since we started out. The one who has shared her beauty and milk with us so generously. The mothership.

Fortunately, they're not far away, just down the block really, which is comforting for tearful children who were sad to see her go. And it's strange, it's a bit like closing a chapter, it seems like I've been doing that a lot lately.

We are left with one cow, young Buttercup, who will have a calf in spring, so I guess we're not closing the book entirely.

Thank you, Daisy, for all your sweetness and patience!

Expressions of love.

We have a competition going, her and I, a friendly one - about who can express the most love for the other one. She'll write something on a note, like You are a rose to me, and I'll write back You have a beautiful soul, and on it goes, back and forth.

And this evening, when I was putting them to bed, she said, I have a big lake inside, it's full of love for you, and you can drink from it as much as you want. It will never go empty.

I think we have a winner.

Sleeping beauty.

{I'm sorry my boy, I hope you'll forgive me, but I can't help but share this:}

Falk can fall asleep anywhere, at any time. Suddenly the house will go quiet, and it'll register with me after a little while: He has fallen asleep somewhere. This was today's scene: Painted red in the face and black around the eyes (like a zombie, according to them), fast asleep flat out in a pile of clothes and toys in the playroom. Beautiful and disturbing at the same time.

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Homeschooling.

She was supposed to start school two weeks ago. Instead, she is with us, learning at her own pace, letting her natural curiosity drive. It feels right, and pretty great, too.

Goodbye, summer.

Summer is coming to an end I think, the warm weather has turned and the mornings are misty and raw. Some of the trees I can see from my office window at home have turned yellow and red in colour, some leaves have dropped. Although I dread the prospect of autumn all summer (I even start dreading it in spring!), it is somewhat a relief when it arrives. It takes the pressure off in a way, provides a freshness and clarity I always feel like I need at this point. I'm still busy, but more comfortably so now, I feel like I have room for more in my life again, and it feels good. Summertime has been crazy job wise, and with the new situation on top of that, adapting to a new life with all the emotional implications of it - well, I feel quite tired. Sleepy and slow. And that feels alright, too. I am working on being in things, not trying to change them too quickly - and man is that a challenge. I have always changed things quickly. I'm trying to stay put for a bit, in whatever state I am in. Whether it be melancholy or bliss or frustration or anger. Stay in it, look at it, don't judge, don't change. Just stay. And let go - of fear, of standards, of pressure. 

Always let go, even of summer.