Henry’s Pumpkin

On Monday, Henry came home from school with his pumpkin from the field trip he went on that morning. He was very eager to carve it. I asked him to wait until the other boys have pumpkins and we can do them all together. He was not interested.

I didn’t really care that he wasn’t listening to my idea or want to discuss it any further because in the next 45 minutes we had to make and eat dinner, clean up and do homework in order to leave the house for flag football. I had an over tired 2-year-old who was sporadically crying over everything, one boy doing homework and I am not sure what the other boy was doing, maybe running around outside bare footed in 45 degrees and very windy!

Henry's pumpkin

Henry:  I bet my friends haven’t cut their pumpkins out yet.

My response:  You are right because their moms probably didn’t let them.

Henry:  I bet Landon’s mom did, because she is REALLY nice!

It was all fine and wonderful until…

He cut the top all the way around and it fell inside the pumpkin = tears. I kissed him and helped him get the top out.

He continued to carve the eyes, and then the mouth wasn’t working like he envisioned = tears. I suggested he draw the mouth on the pumpkin with a marker so he could follow the lines.

The whole face of his pumpkin caved in = sobbing, serious tears and almost inconsolable.

Henry's pumpkin no face

I am a mean mom because I was kind of laughing inside, considered taking a photo of him crying with the pile of pumpkin chunks on the table and wanted to suggest we throw the stupid pumpkin to the chickens.  Instead, I hunted for a little candle (relieved that I actually had one and found it within seconds), I carved a heart on the back side and showed him how pretty the heart glows. And promised I will buy him another pumpkin when we get pumpkins for the big boys.

Henry's pumpkin glowing

Knee-High Socks – Charlie’s Fashion

Knee-High Socks – Charlie’s Fashion

I bought colorful socks with the intentions of making baby leggings with them. That never happened!

UFO socks for babyleggs

Charlie snatched them up and has worn them. I didn’t always notice when he was wearing the knee-high socks this past winter, because he had pants on. But when springtime arrived and he started wearing shorts to school he kept wearing his colorful knee-high socks. I thought that if kids teased him he would stop. Charlie is a pretty cool kid and well liked at school. So when he continued to wear the knee-high socks with his shorts I just thought that none of his friends or classmates teased him.  I should have asked him.

The day of Henry’s graduation we were walking out of school with Charlie’s teacher from last year.  Mrs. Honken complemented Henry on his colorful socks.

Graduation 4K Henry

I told Mrs. Honken that Charlie started this knee-high sock fashion in our family.  Those rainbow socks were actually Charlie’s.    Henry laid them out the night before so he could wear them for his graduation.   Charlie put them on when he got dressed.  Henry was very sad to see Charlie wearing the socks that morning!  I didn’t have to say a single word to Charlie, he  instantly took them off and gave them to Henry for his special day.

Mrs. Honken thought they were cool socks and said that maybe by next year other kids will be copying Charlie.  And then she asked, “Are your friends wearing socks like that?”  Charlie told her that all his friends tell him he is weird.  Mrs. Honken was awesome because she made a few more comments about how cool she thought Charlie was and how much she loved the knee-high socks.  I was heart-broken to hear this news, but also proud of our boy for doing what he wants and not caring what others say or think!

There is another story about these colorful rainbow socks I need to document and remember FOREVER!  It is so funny, the story made my Aunt Karen cry and if she is your friend she will tell you this story:

Henry wore these rainbow socks to school one day.  Mrs. Fredy, his 4K teacher, asked him where he got those colorful socks from (thinking that they were a gift from someone or for his birthday).  Henry told her, “I got this one from the dirty clothes.  And this one from under the couch.”

Henry adores Charlie and has gladly taken up this fashion of wearing knee-high socks.

Madison H & NM

I don’t have many photos of Charlie wearing knee-high socks.  I found this one from the last day of school he wore these black socks with purple and white stripes.

Last day of school 2014

And this one from last week when he went golfing with Jack.

Charlie's socks golfing

When I searched for examples of Charlie’s socks I found this adorable photo from July 10, 2011 when Charlie was almost 6 years old.

CB's socks

 Charlie thinks his socks are cool and that is all that matters!

Charlie’s Legos

Charlie’s Legos

Charlie loves Legos.  He is always creating amazing things with Legos.  We took this picture a while ago.  After taking the picture he asked if he could write something on the computer for the internet.  I think he meant that he wanted to post it on my blog (like I do with just about everything).

Here is what he typed with very little help from me and no help from the computer’s spell check:

“I  love  legos  and   like to bild  lego   and  bild  with  my    papa.

And    I  love   to   bild   cars   and    I   like   to   bild   anything

with     legos   and   that is the end”

Here are other creations by Charlie over the last few months:

Charlie got this set for his birthday and put it together with a little help from Papa.

Charlie’s 6th birthday cake request was for a Lego cake with one of his own designs on the top.

 This is the largest piece Lego set that he has worked on.

 Robbie and Charlie with their Christmas presents completed.

 The Lego table was brought out into the middle of the living room for better lighting.  Charlie was looking at a book on how to make wooden toys and found something he could make with Legos (notice the book propped up in the Lego box).

The Lego guy that was inspired by the wooden toy book.

 Charlie can build anywhere!

 A cross-country ski built out of Legos!

When Charlie went to kindergarten he was in heaven once he found out that his teacher had a huge box of Legos in her classroom.

A conversation with Henry – 1/10/12

A conversation with Henry – 1/10/12

Often I refer to Charlie as “Lego Man” because he loves Legos and can build anything with Legos. Henry of course hears this ALL the time!

Just the other day Henry and I had this conversation:

(I’m buckling Henry into his car seat)
Henry: We going?

Me: We are going shopping for sewing things. You are my sewing and shopping boy!

Henry: Me Lego Man and Tractor Man!

(While eating lunch at our favorite restaurant)

I was telling Henry how happy I was because he was eating so well and would grow up to be strong and healthy.

Henry: Me Eater Man

(While collecting eggs)

Henry:  Me Chicken Man!  AND Egg Man!

My weekend with Robbie

My weekend with Robbie

This may have been the first weekend I have spent with just Robbie since before Charlie was born (over 6 years ago)!

Jack must have been feeling brave taking Charlie and Henry for a weekend with his college friends and a trip to visit his mom and grandparents. I say that “Jack must have felt brave” because Henry was still in diapers and was breastfeeding before the weekend. When they got home he was still in diapers and still wanted to “nuk”.  Nothing has changed!   I don’t know how much money Jack paid out for someone else to change the poopy diapers that happened while they were away, my sister Emily wasn’t there to rescue him. 

This post isn’t about them it is about the wonderful time I had with Robbie.

We were left alone at 4:00 on Friday afternoon. We were waving good-bye from the kitchen to Jack and the two younger boys and there were no tears in the car or in the house.

After Jack, Charlie and Henry were out of sight we started to make our plan for the weekend.

Homemade pizza Friday night, I was missing Jack because his pizza is so much better than mine!  Robbie said my pizza was just as good as Papa’s.

Robbie helped me feed the dogs and take care of the chickens. We sat around playing with the Legos before bed. At bedtime we cuddled in my bed and read a Junie B book (my least favorite book). Just before we got started Robbie thanked me for reading with him.

Saturday morning we had a quick breakfast and went to the ski hill for our first youth ski of the year.  I worked with the new and very young kids while Robbie went off with other parents to play on a downhill.  I have a little anxiety when I am not with Robbie during these lessons.  If he is bored he tends to tease the girls, and not follow directions from the other parents.  The worst thing he did this morning was take the snow shoe trail back to the chalet with his friend.  The rest of the morning Robbie played and skied with his friends, we cleaned up the chalet a little and I did a few other jobs before leaving.

Aunt Susie stopped for lunch with us on her way home. She showed us her recent fabric purchases which involved a lot of pheasants.

Robbie was willing to spend time in the sewing room with me. He had a project in mind while I continued my sewing on this baby quilt that I am working on. Thankfully I have a couple of sewing machines set up for this very reason! Robbie thanked me for sewing with him, because “if Henry was here we would have to take a break for a nap and snacks!”

Robbie wanted to make this sign for his bedroom door.  He used my sewing machine for his name and picked out a variegated thread that matches this fabric perfectly.   This is as far as we got this weekend.  I am trying to talk him into something that is a little more functional.

Evening was approaching and we were starting to get hungry. How did the time go by so quickly? That is what happens to me when I work in the sewing room!  We went to Subway for dinner (a rare event) and Robbie thanked me for buying a sub for him.

Since we were in town we went to the IGA for some groceries on full bellies! I still agreed to buy Robbie a package of those cinnamon rolls that come in that round cardboard box. That is what he wanted for breakfast in the morning.

Saturday night we unloaded the groceries, took care of the dogs and chickens. Before bed we made our list of things to do on Sunday.

Robbie’s list:

Then we cuddled up to read a couple more chapters of Junie B.  I need to find boyish chapter books that we would like to read.  Junie B is so naughty and sassy!!

Sunday morning we went to Sunday school.  Not an activity on Robbie’s list, but it was on mine!   I packed food for us to eat at the ski hill so we wouldn’t have to go home after church.  We played Candyland while snacking on our food and then we went out to ski!  Robbie whispered a sweet little “thank you” while we were sitting there.

I have always intended to be faster than our boys until they hit the teenage years and joked about them chasing me until then.  Well, not today!  I was chasing this boy all morning.  Towards the end of our ski we were racing up and down the hills. And there were times I thought I was in a roller derby – this boy wanted to use me to go faster and tried cutting me off a few times.

Reading for 20+ minutes!

We got some jobs done quickly and headed to Northern Lights to watch the Packer game and have dinner (two very rare events).  Robbie and I played darts during half-time.  I got a few hugs and “thank you”s during the Packer game.  When the games started to get really bad we decided to go home.  I don’t think I could have lasted much longer!  We were hoping Jack and the younger boys would be home by this time.  They weren’t.  

Robbie and I read a few more chapters of that dreaded Junie B book and I tucked him into his own bed.  He was tired and missing Charlie.  Robbie fell asleep within 10 minutes!  We had a great weekend (51.5 hours) at home together!

25 Rules for mothers with sons

I found this list “25 Rules for Moms with Sons” post on someone’s blog and fell in love with it.  (click here to see orignal post)

I was touched and inspired by this list that I had to share it on my blog.  I hope that many moms with sons find this and read it (with a tissue).


25 Rules for Moms with Sons

1. Teach him the words for how he feels. Your son will scream out of frustration and hide out of embarrassment.  He’ll cry from fear and bite out of excitement.  Let his body move by the emotion, but also explain to him what the emotion is and the appropriate response to that emotion for future reference.  Point out other people who are feeling the same thing and compare how they are showing that emotion.  Talk him through your emotions so that someday when he is grown, he will know the difference between angry and embarrassed; between disappointment and grief.

2. Be a cheerleader for his life There is no doubt that you are the loudest person in the stands at his t-ball games.  There is no doubt that he will tell you to “stop, mom” when you sing along to his garage band’s lyrics.  There is no doubt that he will get red-faced when you show his prom date his pictures from boy scouts.  There is no doubt that he is not telling his prom date about your blog where you’ve been bragging about his life from his first time on the potty to the citizenship award he won in ninth grade.  He will tell you to stop.  He will say he’s embarrassed.  But he will know that there is at least one person that is always rooting for him.

3. Teach him how to do laundry ..and load the dishwasher, and iron a shirt.  He may not always choose to do it.  He may not ever have to do it.  But someday his wife will thank you.

4. Read to him and read with him. Emilie Buchwald said, “Children become readers on the laps of their parents.”  Offer your son the opportunity to learn new things, believe in pretend places, and imagine bigger possibilities through books.  Let him see you reading…reading the paper, reading novels, reading magazine articles.  Help him understand that writing words down is a way to be present forever.  Writers are the transcribers of history and memories.  They keep a record of how we lived at that time; what we thought was interesting; how we spoke to each other; what was important.  And Readers help preserve and pass along those memories.

5. Encourage him to dance. Dance, rhythm, and music are cultural universals.  No matter where you go, no matter who you meet – they have some form of the three.  It doesn’t have to be good. Just encourage your son that when he feels it, it’s perfectly fine to go ahead and bust a move.

6. Make sure he has examples of good men who are powerful because of their brains, their determination, and their integrity. The examples of men with big muscles and a uniform (like Batman and LaMarr Woodley) will surround your son from birth.  But make sure he also knows about men who kick a$s because of their brains (Albert Einstein), and their pen (Mark Twain), and their words (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.), and their determination (Team Hoyt), and their ideas (The Wright Brothers), and their integrity (Officer Frank Shankwitz), and fearlessness (Neil Armstrong), and their ability to keep their mouths closed when everyone else is screaming (Jackie Robinson).

7. Make sure he has examples of women who are beautiful because of their brains, their determination, and their integrity The examples of traditionally beautiful women (like Daphne Blake, Princess Jasmine, and Britney Spears) will surround your son from birth.  But make sure he knows about women who are beautiful from the inside out because of their brains (Madame Marie Curie), and their pen (Harper Lee), and their words (Eleanor Roosevelt), and their determination (Anne Sullivan), and their ideas (Oprah Winfrey), and their integrity (Miep Gies), and fearlessness (Ameila Earhart), and their ability to open their mouths and take a stand when everyone else is silent (Aung San Suu Kyi).

8. Be an example of a beautiful woman with brains, determination, and integrity. You already are all of those things.  If you ever fear that you are somehow incapable of doing anything – remember this:  If you have done any of the following:  a) grew life b) impossibly and inconceivably got it out of your body c) taken care of a newborn d) made a pain go away with a kiss e) taught someone to read f) taught a toddler to eat with a utensil g) cleaned up diarrhea without gagging h) loved a child enough to be willing to give your life for them (regardless if they are your own) or i) found a way to be strong when that child is suffering...you are a superhero.  do not doubt yourself for one second.  Seriously.

9. Teach him to have manners because its nice.  and it will make the world a little better of a place.

10. Give him something to believe in Because someday he will be afraid, or nervous, or heartbroken, or lost, or just need you, and you won’t be able to be there.  Give him something to turn to when it feels like he is alone, so that he knows that he will never be alone; never, never, never.

11. Teach him that there are times when you need to be gentle like with babies, and flowers, and animals, and other people’s feelings.

12. Let him ruin his clothes Resolve to be cool about dirty and ruined clothes.  You’ll be fighting a losing battle if you get upset every time he ruins another piece of clothing. Don’t waste your energy being angry about something inevitable.  Boys tend to learn by destroying, jumping, spilling, falling, and making impossible messes.  Dirty, ruined clothes are just par for the course.

13. Learn how to throw a football or how to use a hockey stick, or read music, or draw panda bears (or in my case alpacas), or the names of different train engines, or learn to speak Elvish, or recognize the difference between Gryffindor and Slytherin, or the lyrics to his favorite song.  Be in his life, not as an observer but as an active participant.

14. Go outside with him turn off the television, unplug the video games, put your cellphone on the charger, even put your camera away.  Just go outside and follow him around.  Watch his face, explore his world, and let him ask questions.  It’s like magic.

15. Let him lose Losing sucks.  Everybody isn’t always a winner.  Even if you want to say, “You’re a winner because you tried,” don’t.  He doesn’t feel like a winner, he feels sad and crappy and disappointed. And that’s a good thing, because sometimes life also sucks, no matter how hard (as moms) we try to make it not suck for our kids.  This practice will do him good later when he loses again (and again, and again, and again, and again…..) Instead make sure he understands that – sometimes you win – sometimes you lose. But that doesn’t mean you ever give up.

Source: None via Emma on Pinterest

16. Give him opportunities to help others There is a big difference in giving someone the opportunity to help and forcing someone to help.  Giving the opportunity lights a flame in the heart and once the help is done the flame shines brighter and asks for more opportunities.  Be an example of helping others in your own actions and the way your family helps each other and helps others together.

17. Remind him that practice makes perfect. This doesn’t just apply to performance-based activities (like sports and music) but also applies to everything in life.  You become a better writer by writing.  You become a better listener by listening.  You become better speaker by speaking.  Show your son this when he is just young enough to understand (that means from birth, folks – they are making sense of the world as soon as they arrive), practice trick-or-treating at your own front door before the real thing.  Practice how you will walk through airport security before a trip.  Practice how you order your own food from the fast food cashier. Practice, practice, practice.

18. Answer him when he asks, “Why?” Answer him, or search for the answer together.  Show him the places to look for the answers (like his dad, or grandparents, or his aunts/uncles, or his books, or valid internet searches).  Pose the question to him so he can begin thinking about answers himself.  Someday, when he needs to ask questions he’s too embarrassed to ask you – he’ll know where to go to find the right answers.

19. Always carry band-aids and wipes on you. especially the wipes.

20. Let his dad teach him how to do things …without interrupting about how to do it the ‘right way.’  If you let his dad show and teach and discover with your son while he is growing up, some day down the road (after a short period of your son believing his dad knows nothing), he will come to the realization that his dad knows everything. You will always be his mother, but in his grown-up man heart and mind, his dad will know the answers.  And this will be how, when your son is too busy with life to call and chat with his mom,  you will stay connected to what is happening in his life.  Because he will call his dad for answers, and his dad will secretly come and ask you.

21. Give him something to release his energy drums, a pen, a punching bag, wide open space, water, a dog.  Give him something to go crazy with – or he will use your stuff.  and then you’ll be sorry.

22. Build him forts Forts have the ability to make everyday normal stuff into magic.  Throw the couch cushions, a couple blankets, and some clothespins and you can transform your living room into the cave of wonders.  For the rest of his life, he’ll be grateful to know that everyday normal stuff has the potential to be magical.

Source: None via Tabitha on Pinterest

23. Take him to new places Because it will make his brain and his heart open up wider, and the ideas and questions and memories will rush in.

Source: None via Anne on Pinterest

24. Kiss him Any mother of sons will tell you that little boys are so loving and sweet.  They can be harsh and wild and destructive during most of the day.  But there are these moments when they are so kind and sensitive and tender.  So much so that it can cause you to look around at the inward, reserved grown men in your life and think, ‘what happens in between that made you lose that?’  Let’s try to stop the cycle by kissing them when they’re loving and kissing them even more when they’re wild. Kissing them when they’re 2 months and kissing them when they’re 16 years old. You’re the mom – you can go ahead and kiss him no matter how big he gets – and make sure he knows it.   p.s. (this one is just as important for dad’s too).

25. Be home base You are home to him.  When he learns to walk, he will wobble a few feet away from you and then come back, then wobble away a little farther and then come back.  When he tries something new, he will look for your proud smile.  When he learns to read, he will repeat the same book to you twenty times in a row, because you’re the only one who will listen that many times.  When he plays his sport, he will search for your face in the stands.  When he is sick, he will call you.  When he really messes up, he will call you.  When he is grown and strong and tough and big and he feels like crying, he will come to you; because a man can cry in front of his mother without feeling self-conscious.  Even when he grows up and has a new woman in his life and gets a new home, you are still his mother; home base, the ever constant, like the sun.  Know that in your heart and everything else will fall into place.

Missing the School Bus

Missing the School Bus

The boys missed the bus for the second time in four years.  Can you believe my baby has been in school for four years?

This is a good record considering my history of missing the bus or running out of the house as, Marlene, the bus driver was beeping the horn.

My siblings and I were horrible about being on-time for the bus.   When I was in middle school and high school the bus came from the south.   We could see the bus coming from over a half mile away.   Some years when the south field was planted in corn that made watching for the bus a bit more challenging.  When we missed the bus we had to walk over a half-mile to meet the bus when Marlene was making her loop back to town.

They missed the bus today because:

  1. I think Ralph was a few minutes early.
  2. I was not wearing my watch and keeping a close eye on the time.  This current watch’s alarm isn’t set to go off at the time when we should be putting coats on and walking out the door.
  3. I didn’t notice when the Waupaca County bus went by.  This bus going by every morning is my indicator of where we should be with our morning routine.
  4. Charlie read books while he was eating (I was actually enjoying this sight) and ate his breakfast very slowly.
  5. Each boy hated what I picked out for their clothes and dawdled getting new ones and then getting dressed.
  6. They poked around while trying to pack their bag full of snow pants, shoes, gloves and a hat.  Charlie never got this far because he was half-dressed when the bus was here.  Robbie was ready to run out the door and did.  The way our house is situated and with all of our trees in the front blocking our yard, Ralph can’t see them as they are running out the door.
  7. The boys weren’t at the end of the driveway like always when Ralph arrived.  So he just drove away.

Charlie was happy to miss the bus and Robbie was a little irritated.  Henry was upset, “Bus leaving!  Bus leaving!” Charlie made some comment about being glad he didn’t have to go to school.  I told him that it would probably be more fun to go to school than to sit in his room all day or do jobs with me.

Thankfully, earlier this week I talked to my friend Dawn who lives at the end of Aasen road, just two miles away, and I found out that the bus gets to her house at 7:30.   I didn’t have to take them all the way into town.

During this extra time we had before meeting the bus I told Charlie he couldn’t play with any Legos this morning, which means “No touching the Legos!”

I  put the boys to work, cleaning off the kitchen table, cleaning up their PJs and  blanket, putting away the clothes I got out for them, and cleaning up toys, as  Charlie was doing this he picked up some Legos and said “Yeah!  I get to touch Legos!”  They also cleaned up the extra shoes and  boots that were all over the floor, Robbie ground coffee beans for me, Charlie feed the dogs, and they both practiced their piano.

What I learned this morning:

  1. Set the alarm on my watch for five minutes before the bus is to arrive.
  2. Wear my watch every morning!
  3. Have the boys lay out their clothes the night before.  I do this every night after they go to bed, they can start now.
  4. Encourage Charlie to eat his breakfast first.  Once he is ready to walk out the door he can read books or play with Legos with his extra time.
  5. I can look through our stash of winter clothes to see if we have extras and they can leave some things at school.

Henry, my future dancing partner

Henry, my future dancing partner

One of my blogging friends, Susan from Coming East, posted this video clip of Ginger  Rogers and Fred Astaire dancing in the movie Swing Time.  She also posted two other dancing videos but this one was Henry’s favorite.

I showed it to Henry and he loved it.  He requests to watch it every time we walk past the computer, or when he is sad or tired.  When he watches it and the clip finishes he says “See it again, please!” or “NOT WORKING!!!” depending on his mood.

 I love her dress the way it flows.  I love her strong thin legs and how much fun the two of them look like they are having.  It makes me happy!  When I am feeling kind of sad I will come back to this and watch the dancing!

Sometimes I watch it with Henry and then we look at the other suggestions YouTube has on the right side of the screen.  That is when I found this amazing clip on YouTube!

The clip claims it is Ginger Rogers dancing at 92 years old with her 29-year-old great-grandson.  I was curious to see how old she lived to be and found out on Wikipedia that Rogers lived to be 83 years old.  If you read the comments under this clip you will see someone mention that this is not Ginger Rogers, but a 73-year-old woman.

Now I don’t really care who this lady is!   I am still highly impressed that a 73-year-old body can move like this!  I should start dancing!

Since I found this new love of Henry’s I have been getting my hopes up that I may have a dancing partner soon!



Henry keeps me on my toes. He has added something very special to our family of all boys. He tests the condition of my heart and keeps me running!  Recently, I have referred to him as “Heart-Attack-Henry.”

I am not sure why we have toys for a two-year old when a hammer works as a teething toy.

Our wood shed, my arbor in the garden and many other places on our farm have proven to be more exciting than our wonderful playhouse.

The wood shed…

wood shed2

The arbor in the garden…

Rock walls (17 months old)…

Ladders (17 months old)…

Tractors (18 months old) …

Our fun playhouse…

Who needs a diving board when you have a rock cliff to jump off into the lake?

jumping H 0

Henry has always been “cage free” (no crib for this boy!) until today!

He decided to crawl into a tomato cage.  This didn’t really give me a heart attack.  It goes to show what this little boy can get into right in front of me.

I couldn’t stop laughing.  Laughing is good for your heart too!