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...


30 January 2013

January Transition

January has been a month of transition...
 Ever since we went to Florida for Christmas (pictures and posts of our vacation coming soon!), Torsten decided that he was all done with sleeping through the night.  I have heard that there is something that can happen at four months old that affects a baby's nighttime sleep. I'm assuming since he was sleeping 12 hours straight every night for two months prior to turning four months old, this has been our problem.  I have spent the majority of the month trying to get Torsten to sleep through the night.  Even though this seems like it would be a night-time job, it's really not.  Eat and sleep times during the day totally affect nighttime sleep, so it has been a month of trying to figure out what exactly will be the perfect trick for little T to start sleeping through the night again.  (Although I say he's not sleeping through the night, for the record, I need to document that he is sleeping seven hours, waking up to eat, and then sleeping five more, so it's really not that bad!)
 Maida brought "Bunny," home.  Bunny is a little stuffed penguin from her classroom.  We were supposed to do some fun things with Bunny for Maida to journal about, but with Erik working the night shift, we kept it pretty low-key.  Maida didn't seem to care.  She still found things to journal about - three pages (front and back) worth!
 Torsten learned how to grab his toes and roll over from front to back and back to front!  None of my other babies rolled this early!  No more changing diapers or naps on the couch!
 Erik had an afternoon off, so he took Skogen skiing for the first time this year!  They were able to do a few runs and Erik was proud of the progress Skogen is making.
 The boys wore their matching shirts that they got for Christmas from Aunt Nancy and Uncle Jay.  The shirts say, "Best big brother in the history of the universe."  Fitting.  :)  I absolutely looooove having three boys!

 Torsten gained a few rolls this month!  :)
 And by the end of January, he was sitting like a pro!  None of my other three sat this well this early, either!
 School was canceled one day because of an ice storm we had and so the kids enjoyed some morning TV together.  Scooby Doo has this effect on them!
 We finally realized this month that Torsten is really starting to look like Skogen.  Skogen loves to call him his twin and beams if anyone else tells him that Torsten looks like him.  I'm thankful my computer always puts the date on the pictures because I have a feeling we'll have a hard time telling their baby pictures apart.
 Erik and I had a date night!  We went to hear a talk on life insurance and got a free dinner!  Although we didn't really get any significant time together, it was fun to be away from the kids for a little bit, and have an excuse to wear heels!
 Now that Erik is back to work, the boys have been very clingy when he's home.  They love any kind of attention he will give them.  The other day when Skogen woke up and realized Erik was home, he said, "I'm so happy to see Daddy here."
 Torsten puts his toes in his mouth whenever he sees them and whenever I take his diaper off to change it, his legs immediately come up and he grabs his toes, as if it's his job to hold his legs for me!
 Torsten is also trying to crawl!!!  He watches the boys zoom around him pushing their cars and wants their cars so badly.  He would much prefer a fire engine or digger over a baby rattle.  If the boys come close enough to him, he will launch toward their car!  His favorite car is by far Skogen's new remote control police car that has lights, sirens, and a radio!
 With Maida being in school everyday this year, Skogen and Klaasen have developed a great friendship.  They want to do everything together.  At the beginning of the month, we had a playdate with 20 kids (most of them were boys) and Skogen and Klaasen chose to only play with each other.  They weren't interested in playing with anyone else at all.
Since Torsten is sitting up now, I started giving him baths in the kitchen sink!  He loves being able to sit and splash and I love not having to try to hold on to a slippery baby.

Overall, this has been a great month of transition.  Having Erik at work (and working mostly nights) hasn't been as hard as I originally thought it would be.  I'm actually enjoying my evenings alone to catch up on whatever I feel like doing and having the bed to myself isn't too bad, either!  We are so thankful that Erik was able to return back to work.  It's nice feeling like we are moving in a forward direction in life instead of just standing still.

19 January 2013

Skogen's Fourth Birthday - Pirates

I love that I don't have to hire a marching band, set up house-size inflatables, and buy out a party store just to throw a party for my kids.  They are so happy with so simple.  
This year for Skogen's birthday, he asked for four people to come celebrate with us:  Bumpa, Grandma, Grant, and Hailey.
So simple.
He requested a pirate theme, which was awesome because we had decorations left over from a "Pirate and Fairies" party that we had when Maida turned three!  
So simple.
Our kids hardly ever get pop or candy, so when they see me come home with a two liter and a bag of tootsie rolls, they consider it a wild party.  
So simple.
Our dining room table turned into pirate ship, paper mustaches, balloons, cardboard treasure chests,  red bandannas, pirate coloring sheets, and not only pop, but ice cream in their pop - according to the kids, this was the "BEST PARTY EV-AHHH!"  
So simple.

Here's how the "BEST PARTY EV-AHHH!!!" went down...
 We got pizzas for dinner to have with our rootbeer floats.  After eating, the kids colored pirate coloring sheets that I printed from here.  They loved coloring so much and were so proud of their work that I decided to display all the pictures under our counter.  They loved seeing their pictures hung up!  Then we played "Pin the X on the Treasure Map."  I bought a few treasure maps from Hobby Lobby in the party section and cut red X's out of construction paper.  The kids loved this game!  After the treasure map game, I had made up a scavenger hunt for the kids and hid some treasures.  They absolutely loved running around the house finding all the clues.  Good thing Maida's older friend, Hailey, was here because she was able to read all the clues for the kids.  They enjoyed their treasure boxes of eye patches, compasses, and gold coins (all purchased at Hobby Lobby).  After this we went downstairs where we played "Cannon Ball Pop."  The kids each had a black balloon (which was supposed to be a cannon ball) tied to their ankle.  They were supposed to run around and try to pop each others balloons.  The last one with their balloon still inflated won.  The game didn't exactly go as planned - the kids couldn't get the balloons to pop!  So, after several minutes of the kids running around crazy, we called it a tie.  The last game of the night was breaking a pinata.  This also didn't go as planned - the kids couldn't get the pinata to break! It went on and on and on.  Finally we had the moms take turns and when we still couldn't get it to break, Erik whacked it a good one a couple times and the kids ran for the long-anticipated candy.  We finished off the night with a few presents and cupcakes.

14 January 2013

Happy FOURTH Birthday, Skogen!

Skogen!  It's your birthday!!!!  You are FOUR years old!  This evening I read you a book that I made online of the story of your birth.  You were amazed to see what I looked like with you in my belly and you smiled and beamed when I showed you how happy your Daddy, your sister, and I all were to welcome you into this world.  We are still so happy to have you, Skogen, and feel so privileged to be your family.  Even though we aren't celebrating until Friday with your friends, I decided to go ahead and have a special day for you.  In fact, you have had a special week!  Daddy took you to the cities with him for a one of his eye doctor appointments and because you were so good, he took you to ride some rides at the Mall of America.  You love alone time with Daddy and haven't stopped talking about being with Daddy and riding on the rides since you got home.  

This morning I had some presents on the breakfast table and some pancakes with frosting and sprinkles waiting for you when you woke up.

I also decorated your door with streamers and balloons!

When you woke up, you had no idea what to think of the balloons.  You knew they were for you, but it was almost like you were so happy and excited, it made you shy!  When I told you that we had a special birthday breakfast, though, you jumped out of bed and ran into the kitchen.  Then you woke up Maida and Daddy because you just couldn't wait for them to get up and celebrate with us!

(Ignore my long johns.  :)  I went skiing the night before and hadn't changed, yet!)

After pancakes we opened presents.  You let your brother and sister help you open the big present.  You were so excited to get the snowmobile that you have been wanting from Costco!

You were also really excited about some presents your southern family sent up for you!

Before bed Uncle Brandon, Aunt Karlie, Kinley, and Evyn called on the computer to sing you Happy Birthday.  We all had fun seeing them on the webcam.  They made your whole night!

 You can't wait to bring cupcakes to school tomorrow and you especially can't wait for your party on Friday, although you really don't understand why it was your birthday today and your party is on Friday, but seemed to just go with the flow of things today, anyway.  You love to tell me you are four now and keep promising that now that you are four, you won't do anything naughty.  Ha!  I stole an idea from a friend and decided to interview you today.  You loved being interviewed and kept begging for more questions!  Here's our interview...

1. What is your favorite color? Green and Blue and Brown
2. What is your favorite toy? 
My firetruck
3. What is your favorite fruit? 
4. What is your favorite tv show? 
Scooby Doo
5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? 
6. What is your favorite outfit? 
My white sweatshirt with my blue pants.
7. What is your favorite game? 
Hi-Ho Cherry-O
8. What is your favorite snack? 
An orange
9. What is your favorite animal? 
A lion
10. What is your favorite song? 
The Alligator one with the monkeys in the trees and the alligator snaps the monkeys right out of the trees!
11. What is your favorite book? 
The book about Spider Man’s town.
12. Who is your best friend? 
13. What is your favorite thing to do outside? 
Play ball
14. What is your favorite drink? 
Orange juice
15. What is your favorite holiday? 
16. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? 
My dream light
17. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? 
19. What do you want to be when you grow up? 
A doctor at the Mayo Clinic
20. What is your favorite room in the house? The living room.
21. What is your favorite thing about preschool? Playing cars
22. Where is your favorite place to visit?  Bumpa and Grandma’s house
23. What is the hardest thing you’ve ever done?  Built my new snowmobile.
24. What are you scared of?  Rock climbing
25. What makes you happy?  Mommy
26. What is something you are excited about?  Riding on rides at the Mall of America with Daddy.
27. What is your favorite thing about Daddy?  Doing rides with him at the Mall of America.
28. What is your favorite thing about Mommy? All the things she did for my birthday.
29. What is your favorite thing about Maida?  Playing dress up with her.
30. What is your favorite thing about Klaasen?  Playing cars with him.
31. What is your favorite thing about Torsten?  When he holds my hand.

I love you, Skogie Bear and love watching you grow. Your teacher wrote me an email today and told me that you are "a great kid and a pleasure to have in class."  You ARE a great kid (KID?!!  That sounds so old!) and I know that you will always be a pleasure to anyone, wherever you go.  

So proud of you,

10 January 2013

Santa's Lap

Before Christmas gets too far away...

I'll always remember the night.  Skogen refused to wear socks with his Toms, despite the near negative temperatures.  Torsten wore pants that were way too small and shoes that were way too big.  Maida refused to get her hair done or wear anything even remotely cute.  Klaasen had a fever of 104.1, felt crappy, and since we couldn't find his tennis shoes, he wore Skogen's tennis shoes (which were way too big).  It's amazing we even got out the door!  After starting the car to warm up and getting everyone's coats on, we looked for Klaasen's shoes for over an hour.  

Once we finally got to the mall, of course Santa was on break.  However, we made the best of the situation by wasting some time eating dinner in the food court (which, if you have four kids, seems like there is more spilling food on the ground than what actually gets in the mouths).  Luckily after we ate, the line wasn't too long and the kids eagerly anticipated sitting on Santa's lap as we watched other children happily join him on his big red and green chair.

When it was our turn, Maida and Skogen bashfully, but willingly, approached Santa.  Klaasen, on the other hand, talked a big game while standing in line, but when we got up there, he wouldn't get close.  Santa magically pulled a small red stool out from under his chair and Klaasen (with much coaching from Mommy) agreed to sit there.

Skogen knew exactly what he wanted to ask for.  A race track!  Maida, however, had been dreaming about Santa bringing her an American Girl Doll for Christmas, however, being American Girl Dolls are pretty expensive and Daddy didn't think Santa should have to spend that much money on little girls, we encouraged her to think of something else that she wanted just as much.  Being nervous and not really knowing what to say, when it was her turn to talk to Santa, she said, "I really want the same remote control cars that you brought us last year."  HA!  Poor girl felt so out of place and silly.  Klaasen, wanting to be like his brother, asked for a race track, too.

Asking Santa for gifts wasn't the only thing on our agenda.  The main reason we knew we had to pay him a visit at the mall was because we needed to tell him that were weren't going to be home for Christmas. Our plan was to ask him if he could leave the big presents at our house in Minnesota, but bring the stocking stuff down to the house on the beach where we were staying in Florida.  When we asked Santa, he pulled out a big brown leather notebook and wrote down our names and where we were going to be staying.  He told us that Rudolf has a GPS in his nose and Santa would be sure to program this in!

I'm happy to report that Santa, Rudolf, and the rest of the gang did just what we asked!  They blessed our children with socking stuffers in Florida and had one big gift each waiting for us when we got home.  Skogen and Klaasen both got their own race tracks for their cars, Maida got a Cinderella carriage and Cinderella doll, and Torsten got a wooden train.

07 January 2013

There is nothing sweeter.

(If you're looking for our Christmas letter, click here.)

Life is full of bitter and sweets.  Lately I've happily indulged in the sweets...

 There is nothing sweeter than a sleeping boy. 
 I love to sneak into the kids' rooms at night and kiss their sleeping cheeks!

 There is nothing sweeter than some good Daddy time! 
I love to watch my boys grin and giggle when they are with their Daddy.  I love having a husband who values time with his kids.

 There is nothing sweeter than a good-bye kiss from princess before Erik's first day back to work!
We are so thankful for all the healing Erik's body has done over the last year and super excited that he is back to work again!  God is so good.

 There is nothing sweeter than waking up next to Daddy.
All of our babies have loved to snuggle and sleep next to Erik (and does Mommy!).  Morning time together is so magical.

 There is nothing sweeter than some alone time with my boys when Maida is at school.  
I love listening to their conversations and enjoy playing all things boy.  I can't wait to watch them grow up together!

 There is nothing sweeter than a sister who loves her brothers so much (most of the time!).
She is such a little mommy and I have no idea what I would do without her.

 There is nothing sweeter than a precious little girl in a sparkly dress and heels!  
I love that Maida likes to dress up for school and hope she always wants to look nice.

 There's nothing sweeter than baby smiles.
I love how his whole body smiles when he's happy!  His arms and legs go crazy!

 There is nothing sweeter than a baby in jeans and shoes.
What's even sweeter is when baby discovers he has shoes on and loves to kick them, try to grab at them, and drool on them.

 There's nothing sweeter than a finger-sucking boy.  
He doesn't suck a pacifier like his brother Skogen.  He doesn't suck his thumb like his brother Klaasen.  He sucks his first two fingers!

There is nothing sweeter than a little boy in a sweater!
I love to dress my babies up and take their pictures!  Torsten cooperates well, which is why I have a lot of pictures of him!  However, I'm sure once he's on the move, we won't be so lucky to get a still picture!

 There is nothing sweeter than a baby and his toys!
I love watching him reach and discover everything around him.  He is so interested in the sounds and colors.  It is interesting watching a baby learn about his environment.

 The is nothing sweeter than my little girl's curls.
She doesn't like them or want them, but I love to see her bounce out of the bath!  Her curls bring me back to when she was a baby, full of happy bouncy curls.

There is nothing sweeter than photo texts from Daddy of Skogen on a lunch date!
 I love to give this boy extra special attention and I love to see him smile when we do.

I feel so blessed to be a mom of these four and nothing makes me happier than spending each day with them.  I hope I always remember what sweetness they bring to life.

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