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.


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.



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.


After I split up with my husband this spring, I have taken a journey inwards, to see who was there after all those years of struggling in my marriage. Who am I now? I had to see myself in that new light, just me, not a wife anymore, not representing anyone else but me. It was scary at first, I didn't know where to start. I contacted a lady I remembered from years back, a medicine woman, shaman, healer. In our first session she helped me find places within I'd never looked at properly, she helped me go straight to the core. She said many things, and so did I, and one of the most beautiful things were about the artist in me. She needs more space. I need to give her more room to play, to do things not streamlined but from the heart. To let my artistry shine through and into my business. To produce work with joy, all the way, all the time. To savour my artist soul and her integrity, and to trust that the work I produce is good enough to sustain this life for me and my children. It's hard sometimes, but I'm doing it, I am!

One and on top of the world!

Thank you for all your greetings on Ulv's first birthday! It's been great - and emotional for his mother, haha. He totally understood that something special was up, and being born in the sign of Leo, he likes his bit of attention and being at the centre of it all!

It has been a day of tears and laughter, of reflecting upon that day a year ago, upon the days in between, and most of all of cherishing and feeling the love for my amazing little cub. 

Here are some photos from the day, and I'll throw in a little video I made yesterday, too. Just to complete the Wolfie-overdose. 

Thank you, friends and strangers and the universe, I will go to bed with a smile on my face tonight.

Dear Wolfie.

Beautiful boy, you are loved.

You're sleeping now, I just put you to bed, you're in there in our big bed with your siblings, snoring away like you do. You are completely unaware of the date or the sentiment your mother is going through. And I guess that's a good thing.

It's the evening before your first birthday, a year after you were born downstairs from where I'm sitting now, in our living room. You will probably read this in ten years time, or I will read it to you before (most likely), and maybe you'll think I'm soft and weird (which is true), but I hope you will read one thing out of this: the Love.

I have been a mother of four people for a year now. For a year my heart has been fuller than ever, fuller than I imagined possible, beating with more force than ever before. You have completed my pack of cubs, you are the last in a line of crazy little people who came in and changed me forever. I am so thankful.

Your birth was a dream; it was everything I had ever wished for, and I am so proud of us for that. And although life was rough for us in the beginning, I am proud of us for that too, we nailed it, we made the best of it and came out on the other side. When things were chaotic and I was full of fear, you led the way, you showed me that you were fine, that all I had to do was be with you, hold you close, and let go. You were my spirit animal. You still are! You magical little person, so full of the joy of life, so fierce, so busy - always so busy! - and such a little star. You spread love wherever you go. You are a true earth baby, fearless and full of love for everything, open for everyone crossing your path. Big smiles all around, no fear. 

Ulv River, Wolfie, my wolf cub, you are my heart outside my body. I am so proud to be your mother. Your strength and determination is mind-blowing, your beauty makes my heart bubble and your love is fresh and pure and strong. You have taught me so much.

Thank you, my little friend, and happy first tour around the sun! 

(click on the images to see them big)

Ps: If you want to know more about Wolfie's story, there are several blog posts about it here.

Blueberries & a turning point.

A year ago on this day, we all went blueberry picking in the woods. I was so pregnant I could hardly move without having contractions (those so-called Braxton-Hicks), so I was mostly wandering very slowly around, taking some photos, while the rest of them were picking. Ten litres of blueberries, they picked. Ten litres of blueberries forgotten and fed to the pigs a week later.

Earlier that day, in the morning, we were sitting outside on the front porch, probably picking peas or beans from the garden out of their pods and preparing them for freezing. Chatting away, the kids and Nik and I. All of a sudden we saw three eagles in the sky, directly over our heads, soaring in a circle over us. It was fascinating. I remember thinking The baby is coming tomorrow, it felt like a sign or something.

That night when I went to bed, I couldn't settle. Something big was about to happen in my body and I knew it. I slept lightly for an hour or two, got up in the night and realized I was about to become a mother again.

For some reason, that blueberry picking has etched itself into my mind. Ronja took a couple of photos of me and Falk then, and they are some of my favourite photos of me. The embodiment of motherhood, so ripe with baby that I almost burst at the seams, so still and at the same time so powerful. Touching my boy on his head, feeling his hair, taking in what were some of the last moments when he was still my youngest. Moments captured on the brink of a new life, with all its chaos, rawness and bliss.

Afternoon bliss.

Have been cooped up in my office all day (at home), I have tons of work to catch up on after the holidays, so am trying to get back into some sort of discipline. It is hard! Although I love my work, I am a master of procrastination, and it is still summer, you know. So I hung out with my littles for a few hours in the afternoon, which was a lovely break from the screen. Freja had dressed up as a bride for the occasion, Falk and Ronja shot with bow and arrow in the field, Ulv was contently hanging on my back for the whole time. The cows came and said hi and we admired the sunflower patch and the vegetable garden. I noticed that Ulv's apple tree is the one carrying the most fruit of the four of them, could that be because of his placenta buried under it? There was a rain shower on the other side of the valley, but it didn't reach us. Falk ended up taking his clothes off and showering in the outside tap, which was the imperative to go in and put everyone in the bath. I realised it's been a while since I've bimbled around on the farm like this, I have been too busy. Must try to live at a slower pace. Must take time out to wander around even more.

I took my kids and went.

We came back a couple of days ago, and the next day I slept, slept for hours. It felt like I had been in a storm that suddenly turned quiet. 

I took my kids and went north. To my mum's cabin outside of Bodø, and to an island where a very special family lives. I'll tell you all about it, but I'll leave you with some photos for now. I need to sleep again.

A year ago:


I can't believe how far away it seems. That belly, the heaviness, the anticipation of what was to come, the dullness of waiting. It feels a bit like a different lifetime. And inside there was a wolf cub, a little person ready to make a huge impact on the world around him. It was hard, that day and the ones that came, but there was a lot of love too, and magic.


⭐️ {photo by my wonderful friend Wenche whose third birth I will attend very soon} ⭐️