Project 365 Week 21

Project 365 Week 21

Project 365: Take a photo a day and see your life in a whole new way.

5/23/11 (Monday) – One of our flowering crab tree, may favorite one.  I took the middle photo and Jack took the other two.

5/24/11 (Tuesday) – The last week of soccer – team photos.

5/25/11 (Wednesday) –   I brought down the kittens from the upstairs of the garage.

  Henry thinks they like my stinky shoes.


Other things Henry was up to today.


5/26/11 (Thursday) –  Today, Charlie celebrated his upcoming summer birthday at school.  Reality hit me and I did a double take when I saw “Happy 6th Birthday, Charlie!” on his crown.  Really, is my sweet Charlie going to be six years old?

His first choice for his birthday treat was chocolate chip muffins and my homemade applesauce.  I made the muffins, doubled the recipe, while Henry was trying to help, Robbie and Charlie were playing basketball in the dinning area and I was also working on making dinner.

Guess what happened…I used 6 tablespoons of baking powder instead of 6 teaspoons!  As I was measuring I thought it seemed like a lot and I double checked the recipe book and still screwed it up!

The final treat was chocolate cup cakes with left over frosting from the previous two cakes I made.  Green Bay Packer colors was the request!

5/27/11 (Friday) – Extending a flower bed and minimizing the lawn mowing!

5/28/11 ( Saturday) – We were able to go to Big Falls for a little fishing this afternoon.

We tried to fish out Charlie’s fishing pole that Henry threw into the water.

5/29/11 (Sunday) –  I collected this tiny green egg this afternoon.

The boys and I did some gardening today.  They helped me put up this trellis.  They planted cucumbers and some climbing flower, I can’t remember the name of, at the base.

My Dream Come True

I never imagined my life to be as good as it is today.  Well, some days I have to remind myself that my life could have turned out worse.  Especially on days when I have a  head ache, two boys playing basketball in my kitchen and one screaming because he wants the ball all the time.  Or when all three are running around in circles or playing ball tag in the house or tooting and giggling non-stop.  Believe it or not, they could be doing all these activities at the same time!

Here is how it all started: When I was 19 years old I was beginning to realize that a healthy and loving relationship is possible.  These kinds of relationships really do exist in this world.   I was in college, trying to get out of a horrible relationship and trying to figure out what my major should be and what I wanted in life. I wanted a career.  I wanted my own space and freedom and years down the road I knew I wanted a husband and children.  For most of my life I thought that I would get married, have kids and then get divorced.  By the age of 19 I was getting the idea that a divorce didn’t have to be in my life’s plan. I figured out other things I wanted to do…I wanted to be happy, I wanted to see mountains and try new things, like hiking, canoeing, camping and be more adventurous. In the spring of 1992, when I was 21 years old my dear friend, Kay, introduced me to this awesome, kind, loving, intelligent, caring, sweet and handsome young man named Eddie.  I was eager to meet him because I couldn’t believe that her new boyfriend was real until I laid my own eyes on him.  The three of us had a quiet evening in her apartment having dinner and visiting.  I loved him!  He was just as wonderful as she described.  At one point he left the room, probably to use the restroom, I had to ask, “Does he have a brother?”  Her response was, “Yes, but he is 17 years old!”  I said, “Never mind!”

Fast forward to November 1993: I was single, a month away from graduating from college; with dreams of  going to graduate school in a far away state. AND staying single for a long time! It was Thanksgiving weekend. Kay had been talking to Eddie’s mom about life drawings  (they are both amazing artists) and she was interested in trying something new.  Kay asked me if I could model for them, I agreed. When I was at Eddie’s mom’s house I saw this picture… I thought to myself, “When I have kids I want a little blonde headed boy just like that!” That evening Kay invited me to join her, Eddie and another couple from high school (Katrina and Gene) to dinner.  I had no interest in having dinner with these lovebirds. What kind of fun would I have sitting at a table with two couples in love and me as the fifth wheel? No thank you!  Kay tried to convince me that I wouldn’t feel alone because Eddie’s brother, Jack, would also be there.  I could talk to him.  Right!  What would I have in common with a young boy who is a freshman in college?!  Still, not interested!  Kay is a very convincing person and I agreed to meet them for dinner. During dinner I didn’t talk much, just listened to the conversations around me; Eddie asking Jack about his classes, the guys talking about deer hunting and me catching up with Kay and Katrina.  After dinner we went out to a local bar where there was dancing.  (My best memories of my  college years was going to the bars and dancing all night with my girlfriends.)    It was crowded and loud.  Jack and I got stuck hanging out together while the others mingled.  The music was good for a little hick bar next to the railroad tracks.  I can’t remember if I asked Jack to dance or if he asked me first.  We danced to a few of my favorites songs.  The “dance floor” was crowded, we danced close and I could tell he had “a grove”.  I didn’t find out until much later that he can’t really dance, by then I was in love and it didn’t matter!  By the end of the night we exchanged contact information (he had an email address – I had just recently learned about email and couldn’t believe the concept of email), a nice hug and a little kiss. During my last month of college I could only think of finishing college, going home to spend time with my mom and triplet sisters (who were 5 years-old at the time and cute as can be), and of course seeing Jack again. He wrote me short notes on post cards once a week and we talked on the phone a handful of times. I did most of the talking; little did I know that would be how all our phone conversations would go (and it is still that way).

Fast forward to December 22, 1993: Jack brought Eddie’s truck to Stout to help me move all my junk home.  I was embarrassed that he saw all the boxes of my worldly goods.  On top of that embarrassment, he brought his sister.  I never met Susie before this day.  I heard from Kay about how intelligent and how amazing his sister was (and still is).   My very first memory of Susie is her carrying out an old milk crate full of my stinky shoes.   Have I mentioned how embarrassing this day was?  Oh well, it was free help! Our first date (same day as moving day): When we got everything unloaded at my mom’s house Jack invited me to go Christmas caroling with his extended family that evening.  This sounded like fun!  I wasn’t getting too serious about this guy so it really didn’t matter if I sang Christmas songs with his cousins, aunts, and uncles.  Well, afterwards they had a party at his grandma’s house and I fell in love with everyone I met.  My favorite memory of that night was watching his cousin, Kate, toddling around, too little to sing.  (Now she is in college and has her own blog, click here to see how beautiful she can sing!)

Fast forward to August 1996: I didn’t go to graduate school.  I had a job I loved with an awesome company and with potential for growth.  I was still living with my Mom and loving it!  I was in love with Jack!  I am sad that I don’t have this exact date but this was the month he told me he wanted to marry me.  Helen took this picture of us right before or maybe it was minutes after we told her that we were getting married.

Fast forward to August 2, 1997:

Our honeymoon was five weeks long.  One of our many adventures was backpacking for three days in the Cascade Mountain Range within Snohomish County, Washington.

After our honeymoon Jack moved back to Platteville to finish his last year of college and I went back to my little house in Amherst.  In May of 1998 he got a job in Clintonville and we moved to Iola.

Fast forward to September 1999:

Our new house and farm!  We would hike around our property almost every day.  One of my favorite memories of these early years is of a Saturday night in the spring of 2000.  We were planting trees and enjoying our time together and realized it was a Saturday night.  If someone would have told me when I was 19 years old, “In ten years you will be on your own farm planting 200 trees with your husband on a Saturday night and loving it!”   I would have laughed in their face! In the next few years during our hikes around our property I would imagine a blonde headed boy running through the field.

Fast forward to October 2003:

Fast forward to August 2005:

Fast forward to April 2009:

Fast forward to May 2011:

Our blonde headed boys!

Fast forward to April 2012:

Nola Mae 054 blog

These photos needed updating…May 2015

crab apple Robbie

crab apple CharlieCrab apple tree Henry  crab apple tree boys

crab apple tree Nola Mae

crab apple tree kids

Project 365 Week 20

Project 365 Week 20

Project 365: Take a photo a day and see your life in a whole new way.

5/16/11 (Monday) –  I finished sewing 50 of these flags for my brother-in-law’s company, Keepers Goals, click here to see their website.


5/17/11 (Tuesday) –  Soccer games.

Charlie was serious tonight.  During this game he only asked me once when his game was going to be over (in previous games he has asked at least four times).

This is Robbie kicking the ball.  We have gotten a couple of shots of him in this position.  It must be a very powerful kick.   I laugh every time I see this photo!

More action shots of Robbie…

5/18/11 (Wednesday) – I baked and decorated this cake for my book club, my second attempt at the hydrangea flower.


5/19/11 (Thursday) – Our chicks arrived today, click here to see my post and photos  on the chicks.

The pillow case I made for Robbie’s friend’s birthday party.  Robbie told me that Will loves the Green Bay Packers.  This was as close as I could get for green and gold material.  The fabric store was sold out.  As much as it may kill me I am thinking I need to have some Packer fabric in my stash for future projects.


5/20/11 (Friday) – Charlie’s class had a field trip to a large dairy farm in our area.  Henry likes to climb.  He didn’t like the calf licking him.  Henry kept saying, “bite!”

5/21/11 (Saturday) – My sister, Danna graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point.

My siblings (Kayla is in Peru).

The cake I made for our two graduates.

 Robbie lost his first tooth today!

5/22/11 (Sunday) – My first harvest of asparagus!  I have waited three years for this.


This is where we pick up chicks!

This morning our 47 Barred Rock chicks arrived.

Henry helped move (throw) them into our brooder.

The chicks are safe and warm now.

Behind the green curtain is where there is a light and a heat source.

The old curtain (red) was ripped and worn out.  The last time I used it I used duck tape to make it work.  I made a new curtain for this batch of chicks.  Thank you Susie for the green material.

Still safe, for now!


This is what she will look like.

(From Murry McMurray) The Barred Rock is one of the all time popular favorites in this country. Developed in New England in the early 1800’s by crossing Dominiques and Black Javas, it has spread to every part of the U.S. and is an ideal American chicken. Prolific layers of brown eggs, the hens are not discouraged by cold weather. Their solid plumpness and yellow skin make a beautiful heavy roasting fowl. Our strain has the narrow, clean barring so desirable in appearance. Their bodies are long, broad, and deep with bred-in strength and vitality. These chickens are often called Plymouth Rocks, but this title correctly belongs to the entire breed, not just the Barred variety. Whatever you call them, you can’t beat them for steady, reliable chickens. Baby chicks are dark gray to black with some white patches on head and body.

Project 365 Week 19

Project 365 Week 19

Project 365: Take a photo a day and see your life in a whole new way.

5/9/11 (Monday) – Charlie’s flowers.

5/10/11 (Tuesday) – Our hike at IWSC.

 As the ball was being thrown in from out-of-bounds Robbie hit it with his head.  It is amazing that I got a photo of part of it, especially because Henry was on my lap.

Robbie claims he got hit in the face with a soccer ball and it loosened his tooth.  His first loose tooth, at 7.5 years old!


5/11/11 (Wednesday) – Henry cuddling with the two eggs he and Charlie collected this morning.


5/12/11 (Thursday) –  I was able to dig more plants this week.  I gave 38 bags of flowers to my friends and this photo is what I took to a plant sale (44 bags/containers), with a total of 107 bags!  No wonder it has taken me five years to get this job done!   After this batch of plants  was taken out I was able to till up a larger area in my garden.  Charlie and I planted potatoes, carrots, beets and green onions.



Skip to photos on Friday!!!  

And for anyone else who can’t stand looking at worms!

WARNING WORM PHOTOS!  Scroll down to Friday!

If you like to look at worms, check out this cool handful

of worms we “saved” from the rain. 

Only four worms were fed to the chickens.

The rest of the worms were put under the milkhouse roof in the dry grass.


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Extra space  to skip the worm photos!

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The chickens loved eating some of the worms we saved!

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Extra space  to skip the worm photos! 

It is clear!

5/13/11 (Friday) –  I baked and decorated this cake for my church’s bake sale on Saturday.   It is a 9×2″ round pan on the bottom and a rounded top that was baked in a bowl.


5/14/11 (Saturday) –  My sister, Becca’s graduation from the University Wisconsin-Stout.


The triplets:

5/15/11 (Sunday) – Jack built this cart with his brother this weekend.  The wheels came off an old cart that was used at Bending Branches.

Old Dresser

Old Dresser

(Three drawers and mirror)

The dresser was in my grandparents’, Nola and Richard Fabian, house on Kilbourn when they bought the house in the summer of 1957.  It was used in a room that they rented out until Alice (my mother) was in high school.  That was her room for the last 6 months that she lived at home, and the only time that she had a room to herself.

The dresser was given to my mother, Alice Hamm, after Nola died and my grandma’s house on 74th was sold, 1984.

I am not sure who used the dresser between the three of us kids (Jenny, Emily or Stevie Schroeder).

My sister, Danna Hamm, used the dresser for a few years; the dresser was given to Jenny in the summer of 2004.

On the side of the dresser I found my name written in black marker.  I am not sure when that happened, sometime when I was still writing my J’s backwards, probably 4 years old, while visiting grandma.  I don’t know if she ever knew I did that?

November 2, 2004, I started to re-arrange Robbie’s room, which led me to refinishing this dresser.  I stripped and sanded it within two days, after Robbie went to bed.  I spent a few late nights out in the workshop.  After the stripping and sanding was done, my name was no longer there.  I regret sanding it off, now that I have put together the history of this dresser.  This project happened so fast that I didn’t think to take a “before” photo.   

The stain is “special walnut.”

Dresser was completed on December 8, 2004 and put into Robert William’s bedroom.

Missing knob on bottom drawer will be the next improvement.  The attached mirror will be done at a later date.

Robbie used this dresser until July 2010.  When he moved into size 7 clothes they no longer fit in the drawers.  He is now using a dresser that came from my father’s side of the family, until my brother is ready for it.

Henry will be the next boy to use this dresser.

Robbie’s Special Place

Robbie’s Special Place

(Robbie’s five senses.  Written in first grade.  I have left his spelling.)

I hear the toall gras swaying.

I smell cinnamon rolls baking.

I feel the hot steam.

I see my Granma putting frosting on.

I taste the cinnamon rolls when I came inside.

The Russian Slough is in North Dakota where Grandma and Grandpa have a house.  We go there to vacation and hunt pheasants.  This is truly as special place for all of us.  A special place where all the grandchildren will have many wonderful childhood memories.

Project 365 Week 18

 Project 365 Week 18

Project 365: Take a photo a day and see your life in a whole new way.

5/2/11 (Monday) – Our new (new to us) play house.


5/3/11 (Tuesday) – Skunk Lake and the Ice Age Trail – hiking while it snowed a little.  We found this great tree to walk across. (My friend, Kat was the photographer for the hike.)

Then it was the Moms turn to have a little fun.  You can see the snow in this photo!


5/4/11 (Wednesday) –  I don’t have any photos for today.  It was a productive day for me and good progress was made in the garden. I dug up : 54 bags of flowers for a few more of my friends.

5/5/11 (Thursday) – It rained today, no pictures.

5/6/11 (Friday) – Mother’s Day Tea at Charlie’s school.

The finished project:



5/7/11 (Saturday) – Jack planted 77 trees. I joined him after cleaning up after breakfast.    


5/8/11 (Sunday) – Mother’s Day (these are all Jack’s photos)

The handsome boys that made me a mother!

We started out the morning by having quality family time in the woods making a truck load of firewood.  Really, I like making firewood!

We ate lunch, went to Keller Lake for some fun in the afternoon and went out for dinner. Keller Lake is one of my favorite places.  A very peaceful and beautiful park.  In my opinion it is one of the best kept secrets in Waupaca County.


The playground at Keller Lake.

Henry doesn’t need a fancy playground set!

During our paddle Charlie and I found a mother goose sitting on a nest on one of the rock islands.

Cheers!  Happy Mother’s Day!

My Reflections on Motherhood

 My Reflections on Motherhood

“The most important thing she’d learned over the years was that there was no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one.”   — Jill Churchill

The most important part of who I am today is who I am as a mother and a wife.  So far, my most fulfilling and challenging job in my life has been raising our three boys.  I have been doing this for seven and a half years.  There have been many days I wished there was a workplace for me to go to and many more days that I am thankful for the wonderful husband I have who brings home the bacon so I can stay home full-time with our children!

One of my main goals is to help our boys to grow up to be loving, kind, gentle, considerate, compassionate, respectful, Christian, healthy, hardworking, confident and intelligent men.  Just like their Papa and their uncles!

My many ongoing tasks that take a lot of my energy:  we cook, eat, play, read, and work around the house/garden/farm.  I try to keep them safe and happy; while teaching them to be responsible, to make good choices, and to think before they speak and/or act.   Oh yes, how could I forget I do teach them manners!  If you have been around us you may not believe this.  Why do manners seem difficult for boys to learn?  Some days the constant talk of poop, toots, and burps make me want to pull out my hair.

When there are three boys in one house with different interests and attention spans it is difficult to keep up with all the activities, so things get a little trashed around here at times.  And it feels as though I am not getting anything accomplished.  My escape is to take them outside to ski or go to the beach or work in the garden.

Although mothering is an incredible job that I take seriously and in order for me to be the best mother I also have to remember who I am as a person, click here to see my post titled “I am…”

I have an ongoing conversation with one of my dear friends about how to be the best mom that we can be.  We have come to the conclusion that we are who we are because:  our own mother, our role models, experiences as a child, the books we have read, our friends who are also mothers and last but not least the lessons we have learned from our own mothering.

We have to accept that we are doing our best.  We have to trust that our children will take what we have taught them and make the right choices.  They may not always make the right choices and that is okay, too, because they will learn from their mistakes.   Part of being a good mom is allowing our children to make mistakes and not expect them to be perfect!  In return I hope that our children will grow up to be the best adults and parents they can be.

When I was in college my Dad told me once that one of my purposes in life was to do a better job in this world than my parents.  I have taken this very seriously in all areas of my life.  I also had very big shoes to fill.

I have an amazing mother who raised six children, five of whom are loving, kind, gentle, considerate, compassionate, respectful, hardworking, intelligent, and successful in all areas of their life.

I have the best step-mother in the world.  She loves my Dad and has always shown love, support, kindness and understanding to the three of us kids, even when we didn’t return that love.

I have an incredible mother-in-law besides the fact that she is the reason my husband is on this earth, she raised him to be a wonderful man and a great father to our boys.   She has helped me understand many things about marriage, communication, forgiveness, patience and peaceful parenting.

Mothering is a difficult job, whether you are a stay-at-home mom or a mom who works outside of your home part-time or full-time.  We do the best we can with the resources we have.   I believe it is important to have a circle of moms who love, support and respect us for the mothering we do!

Thank you to all the moms in my life!

I hope you have a wonderful Mother’s Day!

Added on October 25, 2012 when I found this quote: 

“God intended motherhood to be a relay race. Each generation would pass the baton on to the next.” ~Mary Pride

Added September 4, 2013 when I found this awesome blog post, titled, “Moms, When are you going to learn?  I’m not super mom. ”  Definitely worth reading!