Week 32 – August 6 – 12, 2012

Week 32 – August 6 – 12, 2012

Henry and I took a road trip this week.  He complained that the sun was in his eyes and “looking at Nola Mae isn’t working.”  I usually suggest that he look at Nola Mae, who is to the left of him,  when the sun is in his eyes because it isn’t too long until we change directions on the road.   My suggestion really wasn’t working because we were driving north for a long time and the sun wasn’t moving.  I gave him one of Nola Mae’s hats to cover his eyes.

When we got home he put one of his hats in my bag so it is with us next time.

We picked the older boys up from summer school and went to the Big Falls hydro dam for a picnic lunch and some adventures.  The water is so low we can walk on the rocks everywhere.  You can see the water lines on the rocks in this picture of Henry to get a feel for the low water level.

The dam was turned off so I let them swim over by the rope swing.  There were people going off the rope swing.  It was very entertaining and I may be brave enough to do it if I can talk Jack into coming with us.

While the boys played in the rapids and on the rocks I was able to find a big indent in a one of the boulders and make a nest for Nola Mae.  And it was shady!

While we were there playing in our normal spot where I think it is safe a grandma and grandpa showed up with two grandkids.  They were letting them slide down this big rock into the swirly waters that make me nervous.   I guess with the water being so low this spot makes for an awesome slide.

And the water is about chest deep for Charlie.  They had so much fun!  Unfortunately this is a sunny spot.   We didn’t stay long but I promised we would come back as long as we didn’t get any rain.

The reason for my road trip…to pick up my newest wrap.  This woven wrap is designed in Norway by a company called Ellevill Wraps of Norway.  My wrap is a Zara Velvet.   I purchased  this wrap from a mama in the UK and split the shipping cost with someone else who was also buying a wrap from the same person.

I didn’t love it at first because it seemed to have more pink in the weaves than what I saw in the photo!  It is growing on me and has sort of satisfied my craving for more purple in my life.

My dream purple wrap is a Zara Tri Purple or a Zara Aubergin (if you have a minute you can search Google Images for those two).

Aunt Danna is finally home!  She was gone for a year living in MT working for AmeriCorps.  In my opinion this was the best time to meet Nola Mae.  She was awake and full of smiles for Aunt Danna!

Robbie loves experiments.  He has lots of plans for many different inventions and experiments.  I don’t like them because there is a mess and usually wasted food.  I let them do just about anything in the kitchen.  They learn so much and they are expected to clean up after themselves.  The boys wanted to make jello for dinner.  So I let them pick the flavor and they each made their own dish.  Robbie mixed two tablespoons of every jello flavor I have.  I don’t buy the boxed jello, I buy it in a bag – the directions are 1/3 heaping cup to 1 cup of boiling water and 1 cup of cold water.  He said it turned out pretty yummy.  I have about 7 different flavors and his turned out dark green and sort of brownish looking.  I didn’t try it.  I probably should have.

Robbie had a friend’s birthday party, his first sleepover.  I am almost through all of their friends for giving a pillow case with their name on it.  I don’t know what I will do for gifts next year.

Robbie has been wanting to make a parachute all summer.  I am not sure if he was imagining one for his body or a toy.   We searched the internet for parachute ideas and directions.  While I made the pillow case he made his parachute.  It turned out so nice he made one for his friend and we wrapped a package of gum to the parachute.

I am not sure if everyone knows that Jack started a big project this summer.  (Now everyone will know.)  He is making a cedar strip kayak for our family.  If he doesn’t mind I will share more progress photos of the kayak.

Henry and Nola Mae sleeping while I work on the computer in the wee hours of the morning.

Week 31 – July 30 – August 5, 2012

Week 31 – July 30 – August 5, 2012

Robbie was counting his pennies by 50 in piles.

August 2nd is our anniversary.

I was inspired by my cousin to put on my wedding dress, 15 year later.  The zipper in the back must have shrunk.  (This one is for Cathy, who has a reason to put on her wedding dress many times throughout the year.)

Sunset Lake was very quiet today.  We left early and had breakfast on the beach.

Nola Mae napped in the back of the car.

Robbie and I made a snake in the sand.

In the evening on our anniversary we saw Tom Pease, again!  Only two times this summer.  Next year will be better!

I am not sure who loves Tom Pease more, me or Henry.

Maybe Henry loves him more because he will jump and dance for Tom Pease.

A baby shower cake I made for a dear friend.

My Ellaroo wrap on the line drying.

I learned a new back carry. I was looking at YouTube while drafting this post to figure out what carry this is – Double Rebozo Shoulder to Shoulder (DRS2S).   I just realized I am doing it wrong (or at least different).  Even though this video is in Dutch I still like watching it.

We did some garden work this weekend with Nola Mae in the shade.  These are rare times when we get a photo of Robbie and Nola Mae.

Week 30 – July 23 – 29, 2012

Week 30 – July 23 – 29, 2012

Recently, I have seen a few recipes on home-made popsicles.  I don’t have the popsicle molds because they don’t get used often enough to justify the space in my cupboards.  Plus too many parts that can get lost.  I made a very thick smoothie with just peaches and a tiny bit of milk or yogurt (I cant’ remember).  The smoothie was yummy!  Anyway, I had leftovers and the boys were DONE with peaches.  I added a few blueberries to the peach smoothie and froze it in Dixie cups.  These popsicles were a huge hit.  Now I am thinking I may have to look for popsicle molds.

Henry thought it was cute and funny that Nola Mae could balance these blocks on her head.  Is this the start of big brother torturing tricks?

My Kitchen Aid mixer came home just in time for my frist cake job of the summer.

Since I was baking and playing with frosting this week I decided that I needed to take a cake to the Liver Walk after party.

Now you can see why I use stencils for all the writing on my cakes!

I fixed it by letting Henry squirt frosting all over the top of my cake.

And then I smoothed the frosting out.

We left for the weekend on Thursday after Jack got home from work.  Friday morning Jack met with a vendor in Milwaukee.  In the afternoon we went to Doctor’s Park and Lake Michigan.  The water was wonderful and I couldn’t resist, I went in with my clothes on!

After the beach the boys played on the swings.  I had my Ellaroo baby wrap in the car and was able to turn it into a skirt (an idea I got from my friend Brianna who introduced me to wraps).

Henry has now officially cooked with all his grandmas – making pumpkin bars with Grandma Lynn.

I nursed Nola Mae while Henry cuddled with us for his nap at my Dad’s.  After Henry was asleep I took this photo and was able to sneak Nola Mae out of the bed without waking both of them.

Week 29 – July 16 – 22, 2012

Week 29 – July 16 – 22, 2012

Monday, July 16th:  I can’t express how tired I am of spilled milk!  I have been threatening that I am going to charge the boys for their spills of wasted milk and start counting how many spills we have in a week.  I don’t really want to know because I would probably get more irritated.  When they spill they are expected to clean it up themselves.  I had to take a photo of Henry cleaning up his spill by wanting to drink it off the floor.  This is problem solving from a 3-year-old that makes me laugh and scream all at the same time.

Charlie wanted to write a letter to my dad, Grandpa Bob, because he wanted to know if he could play video games at his house when we come to visit.  Charlie wanted to have Nola Mae’s company.

Tuesday, July 17th:  This week I finished making this bag.  This is my purse/diaper bag.  I didn’t use any kind of pattern for it.  The design was inspired by Nola Mae’s baby quilt (not done yet and no photos to share).  I took the dimensions from a free bag that I got from JoAnn Fabrics that I was using until I wore the handles out.  It is huge and I fill it up every time I leave the house.  I never expected to have such a large bag but when I have a baby in cloth diapers, a 3-year-old not fully potty trained, a wrap to carry, snacks for kids and water bottles it fills up quickly!

I am seeing the fun possibilities of having more purple in my life, thanks to Nola Mae.  I bought these fabrics this week with plans to make her some things.

Wednesday, July 18th:  Robbie has been reading and listening to the Harry Potter books.  Today he spent three hours listening to Harry Potter on CD.

I ordered 15 pounds of these Rainer Cherries through my neighbor.  The price was good, at least, better than what they are in the store.  They appeared to be “seconds” and tasted delicious!  I am not sure how long they lasted here, maybe a few days.

Thursday, July 19th:  Nola Mae rolled over from her back to her belly for the first time today at 3 months 11 days old.  How did this time come so fast?  I am not ready for this!

During the last day of swimming lessons the kids get to play – go off the diving board and down the slide.  Robbie surprised me with this dive.  I didn’t know he could do this!

Charlie was entertained by doing twists in the air.

Friday, July 20th:  We love blueberries in muffins, pancakes, yogurt and just plain.  Because I have four kids, I decided that this summer we would skip going to the blueberry patch to pick our own blueberries.  So I cheated and ordered 50 pounds of blueberries from Country Corner Sales in Marion. Pick-your-own at Chet’s Blueberries in Custer was $2.25/lb and I paid $2.53/lb.

I now have 22 quart bags of blueberries in the freezer.

Saturday, July 21st:  Nola Mae rolled over from her back to her belly!  She has also been able to get things to her mouth to chew or suck on.

A pillow case for Robbie’s birthday party gift.

Sunday, July 22nd:  Blackberries are ripe!  I think Helen (Grandma Hanna) might have a photo of Robbie at age two, wearing this same shirt, in this same pose.

Summer 2012

Summer 2012

My days with four kids are very busy and stressful for me right now.  I am feeling a bit overwhelmed this summer.  Every week I am tempted to quit my weekly blog posts and a few other things.

I am not getting much sleep which causes me to be crabby and not motivated.   Nola Mae is not to blame, she is a great sleeper!  I stay up late because it is the only time I have some peace.  I don’t want to go to bed once our house is quiet.  I want to sew, work in the garden, blog or just sit at the computer and drink my water (wishing it was a cold dark beer).  I want to blog because it helps me sort out my thoughts and helps me come up with solutions to my troubles.  When I sit here at the computer with a blank blog post my mind is blank or I am only thinking of the stressful days and frustrating moments that no one wants to hear about.

Many people have asked me how my summer is going and I really don’t know how to answer this simple question without a complicated answer.  I have been honest with a few people (the ones who really care to know the real answer) and the others who are just asking for the sake of  “small talk” get the simple answer of “our summer is going well.”

The honest answers:

This summer is a rough one.

This is one of my worst summers.

The horrible things I have done:

I signed the boys up for the longest summer school sessions at the beginning and at the end of the summer.

I paid $25 to have  1/2 hour of peace for eight days, by signing Henry up for swimming lessons.  And I loved it.  Thankfully, Henry loved swimming lessons.

I almost starved my nursing baby. (I am working on a blog post about this.  I am not sure when and if it will ever get done.)

I continue to let the older boys rot their brains with computer games during the day.

I am in a food funk and let them have chips and cheese dip for lunch one day, smoothies another, and just fruit and peanut butter toast another day.  These are just the meals that I can remember that I slacked on.

We have gone out to eat way too often this summer.  And I have stopped caring how much a meal costs for our family to eat out.  And I can’t wait until the next time we eat out or Jack brings home dinner.

I have no patience and do a lot of screaming (and swearing).

I have told the boys that some parents hit their kids when they misbehave and some days I want to.

I wish we could go to the beach every day.  We don’t because it is too much work to get out of the yard.

I look forward to my few nights out this summer with my book club and the one night that has been planned for me to go out to eat with other moms.

There have been days we only went outside for less than an hour.  Maybe this is because it has been too hot outside.  I hate the heat and wish for snow to come soon.

I admitted to a friend recently that I am looking forward to school starting.  I haven’t started counting down the days until September 4th, yet.

None of these things I am proud of.  At the end of each day I feel like a horrible mother and hope that tomorrow will be a better day.  And next summer will be better.

Until things improve in my life I will be doing the bare minimum on my weekly blog posts.   My weekly posts may have a different layout to them.   I hope I will be able to capture some good photos to remember these days while my children are small and still at home.   I know these days should be cherished.

I am certain that some day when all my kids are living somewhere else and I have more peace and quiet than I will know what to do with.  I will wish for a day of Henry screaming, Charlie’s silliness, Robbie’s talk of robots & his inventions, fighting brothers, wrestling boys, boys climbing on the cupboards, spilled milk at every meal, random balls being thrown through the kitchen, sword fighting in my sewing room, pillow fights in my bedroom, Legos on the floor, flowers, corn and milo stalks being cut off because “me don’t like them”, star wars games blaring from the computer, Harry Potter books on CD blaring throughout the house and boys to hug.