Welcome to the Scharrer family's real life story! Most of our story is written for, and about, our four kids and the spice they add to our lives. It's our story of happiness, craziness, and sometimes ridiculousness. We've journaled through childbirth, the terrible two's, private school (and our public school experience), an autism diagnosis, medical school, residency, and long-term mission work in Africa.

Now we're following a new adventure, which involves a 45 foot motorcoach, homeschool, and as many ski slopes as we can go down in one year.

For posts from while we were living in Zimbabwe and updates about our future plans in Zimbabwe, please see our mission blog...

www.ourzimbabwejourney.blogspot.com.

31 December 2012

Happy Holidays!!!



“We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” Proverbs 16:9


We’re done!!!  No more babies, that is. Since last Christmas, the last and final Scharrer baby was welcomed into our family.  Torsten S Scharrer was born on August 28th (our 8th wedding anniversary) at 10:01 pm, weighing 8 pounds 12 ounces and was 20 inches long.  Although a scheduled C-section was planned, God had different ideas.  When scheduling the C-section, Kara told her doctor that the only day she didn’t want to have a baby was on August 28th.  Well, Kara went into labor on August 28th!  With knowing that a VBAC after three previous C-sections was nearly impossible, Kara prayed that she would be fulfilled with whatever happened with Torsten's birth.  Never did we expect her to go into labor naturally, allowing Kara to not only experience labor one more time, but also experience the surprise of baby coming on his own.  Laboring at home, being able to do skin-to-skin contact immediately after T's birth, being the first mom to nurse while being sewn up in the operating room at Mayo, and having that fourth happy, healthy baby that she had been begging Erik for were the highlights of her year.

This wasn't our first lesson in the truth of God’s planning this year.  In January, Erik had a life-changing skiing accident, paralyzing his left shoulder (while also breaking his scapula and taking a chunk out of his clavicle).  Despite his all-in, go-get-'em attitude, he has unfortunately been out of residency training for the past year.  God has taught us patience and lessons of peace, too.  Allowing his body the appropriate amount of time to heal was one of the key factors in getting him back to emergency medicine, which was his ultimate goal, and not having to switch to a less physically demanding specialty. A couple of the nerves have come back on their own, but Erik also had a nerve graft in September where he had 30cm of a nerve from his left leg transplanted to the damaged nerve (axillary) in his shoulder.  We are still waiting on the results of the surgery – nerves heal very slowly!
  
The c-section and nerve graft weren't the only surgeries our family went through this year.  Skogen got his tonsils out, Summit got neutered, Kara had a minor skin surgery, and Erik had PRK on his eyes.  Luckily Kara’s mom and dad pitched in a whole lot to help hold the fort down when we were in and out of the hospital.  The kids love their Grandma and Bumpa and now think it is totally normal to have them visit at least once a month!

Maida turned five on May 3rd and started kindergarten this year.  She continues to impress us with her ever-growing intelligence and her very vivid imagination!  She got her ears pierced in October and is excited to switch out her earrings for the first time from the sparkly pink flower studs to the blue sparkly dolphins when we visit Winter, the dolphin from the movie, “Dolphin Tale,” when we are vacationing in Florida over Christmas*.

Skogen has really grown over the past year.  He turned three on January 14th and is in his second year of preschool and has a wonderful teacher.  He started soccer with Maida this year and they both continue to be two of the highest scorers on their team.  Skogen has his Daddy’s passion for most things, like skiing, and also enjoyed a weekend at Flaming Pine Youth Camp being a manly man with Erik during the Father/Son Retreat.

Perhaps one of the biggest changes for Klaasen this year was becoming a big brother!  He turned two on July 27th and has always been the baby, so we were unsure of how he’d handle this.  To our surprise, Klaasen has accepted his new role very well and continues to try to keep up with his older brother and sister in every aspect of life.  He can’t wait to start preschool and soccer and recently potty trained in a day, thanks to the encouragement from his siblings.  In fact, cheering for each other in public restrooms still occurs regularly.

We hope this letter finds you and your loved ones doing well and looking forward to 2013 as much as we are.  Erik will be starting residency again in January, Kara will be taking over Erik’s role in our ski racing league, Maida and Skogen are going to take off their training wheels, Klaasen is going to start preschool, and Torsten will be on skis 12 months from now.  We love hearing from our friends, so keep in touch.  Always check back to the blog to see what the Scharrers have been up to!  We are excited to see what God has in store for our family.

Erik's blog posts about his injury:



Other notable happenings in 2012:


*  UPDATE:  I apologize for the delay in getting this out since most of our cards were sent before Christmas.  We made it to Florida, our first trip south for Christmas ever!  We exchanged the white ski slopes for the white sand of Fort Myers Beach and enjoyed the sun burns, in place of the wind burns.  :)  We made lots of memories there and plan to post pictures and stories soon!

20 December 2012

Christmas Letter 2012

We are experiencing technical difficulties. Please check back soon for our Christmas letter!
Happy Holidays,
The Scharrer Family

09 December 2012

A Month's Worth of Pictures

I'm beginning to realize just how much those little moments mean... the little moments to catch a snuggle on the couch with your two-year-old, or to lay in bed and chat with your five-year-old.  The times you choose to hold your three-month-old while he sleeps instead of putting him down and opportunities you have to sit and play with your three-year-old instead of sit and watch.  My kids are my whole world and I am savoring every minute with them.  It's not very often that I am able to get on the computer and even less often that I have the time to blog.  I don't want to give up, though, and feel blessed to be able to record life somewhere in a place where we will always be able to look back on, and also in a place where long-distance family can keep up with our life as it happens.  I hope to get better at keeping things updated around here, even if it is just in the form of a month's worth of pictures...
Planning a trip!

Potty trained in one day - just had to tell him that the diapers went, "bye-bye."

Maida is a life saver for me at night.  When I'm trying to put the boys to bed, she reads to Torsten.

First time in the exersaucer

Books with sister 

Movie night with popcorn from the boy souts

Sibling wrestling match

Our new Costco opened!  Now we don't have to make trips up to the cities just to go to Costco!

Skogen wrote his name for the first time (and has since improved his writing A-LOT!!!)

My sister, Kim, came to visit with her dog, Boone

Maida entertained us with her clothing choice

Maida was the "Helper of the Day" at school and was able to keep the letter of the day

My friend, Kristin, came to visit with her daughter, Kailey (who is attached to the funniest pacifier I've ever seen!).

Snuggles with Auntie Kimmy

Trying out new hairstyles since NONE of the curls grew back. :(

Playtime with Aunite Kimmy

Summit got "fixed"

Our living room got a makeover, thanks to my sister!  We hung curtains and the shelves.

I love our new space!


My friend, Whitney, did my hair for an National Guard formal dinner

All dressed and ready to go!

Me and my date

Erik and the officers from the unit

Skogen had a Thanksgiving program at his preschool

They sang some cute little songs for us!

We made a turkey together

So proud of Skogen

A well-deserved pedicure!  :)

Torsten and his friend, Nolan, all bundled up!

Princess

Love this boy!

Got the baby toys out for Torsten and he was SO happy about that!

Erik had PRK on his eyes - no more glasses!

Precious.  My little girl and her teddy "Bella," under the glow of her pink nightlight.

"The light got into my eyes, mom!"

I don't want to forget what it feels like to have a snuggly baby napping on my lap.

Nighttime stories with big sister

Torsten started sleeping 12 hours every night!

Klaasen can sleep in the strangest positions!

We enjoyed a night out with some other residents

Nolan and Torsten

Frosting Christmas cookies with our friend, Hailey

Some of the finished cookies

Playing in our first big snow


So funny watching the boys try to make it down the hill on the sled!

Watching football

Special Christmas movie night with mom


07 November 2012

Soccer 2012

It's no secret that Erik lives for skiing, but what you might not know is that his love for soccer is a close second.  During our first year of marriage Erik was bound and determined to teach me how to play soccer, but every time we walked to the park to play, most of my time was spent watching Erik practice his juggling, kicking, dribbling, and any other kind of fancy moves he could think of.  Every once in a while, he'd kick the ball at me and instruct me how to properly kick it back, but for the most part, he was lost in his own game.

To this day, Erik still gets lost in his own game.  If there is a ball around, you can bet that Erik can't walk by it without a few juggles or, "Kara, watch this!  How long do you think I can keep this ball in the air with just my head?!"  When the chance came for Maida and Skogen to play soccer this summer, Erik was insistent that we find a way for them to play, even with three surgeries and a new baby's arrival!

Maida and Skogen have been playing soccer since the end of July.  They have come a loooooooooong way!  Their coaches have been awesome and we have been very proud of their accomplishments.  Erik was unable to make one of the most recent games, so I videoed the game for him with my cell phone (all while watching a crazy toddler and nursing an infant!).  As we all gathered on Maida's bed that night after Erik got home from his meeting, and watched the soccer game together, I realized that it might be fun for our out of town family members to "watch" a game, too!
For the grandparents, aunts, uncles, great-aunts, great-uncles, and cousins (and anyone else who really cares about watching 7 minutes of toddler soccer!)...

[Skogen is orange and Maida is yellow - at the beginning of the video you will see Skogen pull away from everyone with the ball and Maida is the one right behind him.]

03 November 2012

Torsten, you are TWO MONTHS old!

Dear Torsten,
You are TWO months old!  I can hardly believe it.  These last two months have been two of the best two months of my life.  I have never felt so happy, so full of enjoyment, and so complete.  You are everything that I have been waiting for and an answer to so many of my prayers.  I am so thankful for the blessing you are to our family.

Last month Skogen and Maida played photographer and practiced with our big camera.  To my surprise, they took better pictures of you than I ever could have snapped.  I'm really not sure why the pictures haven't made it on the blog, yet, (hmm, maybe it's because I have four kids and NO time!) but better late than never...






We had planned on having Maida and Skogen take some pictures of you at two months, too, but we all have been so busy lately with school, gymnastics, soccer, and our kitchen remodel.  I was able to catch you on video, though, which may be more fun for our long-distance family to get to see your character, too...

I want to remember everything about you, T.... your silky blonde hair, your sweet little sounds, and your precious toothless smile.  Every day I take the time to take everything about you in.  I look at your perfect little face.  I smell your sweet baby smell!  I listen to your soft baby voice.  And I feel your super soft skin.  I want to remember everything!

You are the happiest baby EVER!  I often call you "Chill" or "Chili Bean" because you really truly are very "chill."  Nothing seems to bother you.  In fact, I don't think we've ever heard you cry!  Your favorite place to be is right in the middle of the action and your brothers and sister have no problem keeping you entertained all day long!  I hold you often, but if I'm not holding you, you love to sit in your bouncer, on the couch, or lay on the floor.  Two days ago I brought up the exersaucer and you have tried that out a few times.  Like everything else, you are totally cool with it.  You still eat about every two hours during the day, but sometimes space it out to every three.  I have to say that I don't really pay attention, though, because there is no way for me to try to keep you on a scheduled like I often tried to do with the other three.  I usually just feed you whenever you let me know that you're hungry.  You are awake for longer periods of time, now.  You are usually awake for about an hour or an hour and a half and then you take about a half hour nap.  Sometimes in the evening you sleep for an entire hour.  When you go down for naps, I usually rock you to sleep or your fall asleep in the swing or in your car seat while running the other three around to school and sports activities.  I love to rock you to sleep and even though it might make things harder when you're older and I need you to go to sleep by yourself in your big boy bed, I still want to rock you.  I treasure that time.  When you get tired, you usually make a high pitched moan.  I know what that means and hold you on your side against my tummy, in the same position I nurse you in.  Sometimes you take a paci at this time, but most of the time you know what to do and go right to sleep.  At night I swaddle you in the halo swaddle sack and immediately when that sack goes on, your eyes start to go to shut.  I can usually lay you down while you are still awake and you will put yourself to sleep.  You always sleep seven hours, wake up to eat, and then go back to sleep for four more.  I am totally okay with this since Klaasen still woke up every two to three hours all night long until he was two years old.

You smile at anything that has a face (like your sister or stuffed animals and toys).  You love to look and talk to yourself in the mirror.  You are starting to reach out your hand to touch or bat at toys.  You can bring your hands to your mouth and seem interested in sucking on them, but make funny faces when a finger or your thumb goes into your mouth.  You tolerate tummy time for about ten minutes at a time and never like to sleep on your tummy.  Your back is your favorite position.  You follow objects, like your siblings or the dogs, around the room and can also follow my voice, too.  You stick out your bottom lip when you are sad, but never cry.  You have a dimple on your left cheek!  You usually only poop once a day or once every two days.  You wear cloth diapers almost 100% of the time and I love our system of using both prefolds and pocket diapers.  I bathe you about three or four times a week and just like your brothers and sister, you have always loved the water.  You also, like they did at your age, like to watch Baby Einstein

You weighed 17.5 pounds at your two month appointment last week and that is exactly two pounds heavier than Skogen was at two months and exactly two pounds lighter than Klaasen was at that age!  It will be interesting to see how you grow from here!  You wear a size 9-12 months and you are 24 inches long.

You are such a joy and I can not imagine life without you.  I love sharing you with your siblings and I enjoy watching them interact with you.  The love they have had for you since the very beginning is amazing.  I can't wait to share you with more family and friends and wish Daddy was able to be home more often to get to know you, too.

You are such a blessing to us,

Mommy

We write to taste life twice, once in the moment and in retrospection.”
~Anais Nin