Bee Morning

Charlie Bee Morning

To my dad for saving me from such an awful pain.

Bee Morning

I got up and said, “Dad can I go kayaking?”  It was in the morning before it was day when the moon was still up.  I went out of the tent very quietly.  I went to the lake.  I snapped on my tight blue life jacket and got in the cold wet kayak.

I paddled and paddled until I was close to the island.  I saw two turtles. I whispered, “Wow turtles!”  I got close and the tried to pick one up.  But I failed.

After that I continued on to the island.

I stepped on the island and I think I stepped on a huge active bee nest because they all swarmed up on me.  They stong me all over.   I dived straight into the water.  It was warm and there was lots of sea weed.  I stayed under water as long as I could.  I had to eventually come up for air.  They were still there!  I screamed, “Aaaaaaaa!”  They stong me several times again.  I swam back to the island.  I was screaming.

My dad heard me.  Then he ran to the nearest camp site and asked them if he could use their raft.  They said yes because they understud that he really needed it.  He frantically paddled out to me.  He picked me up and ran back to the raft.  He got stung lots of times too.  We went back to shore.  We gave back the raft.

Next we took off our wet shirts because there were bees in them.  They were so wet and stuck to us.  We went back to ower camp site.  My bee stings were still hurting a lot.

After that I wasn’t feeling very well so I went and layed in a hammock.  My cousin Sara read a book to me for a half hour.

Bee sting reading

My dad and I hiked to the showers and I soaked in the shower.  It felt so soothing!  I used cold water.  I had to use cold water because that would help my bee stings heal.

When we were done we drove to the hospital.  I had to go to the emergency room.  I was there for more than 3 hours.  When I was done they gave us some medicine to use for it if it happened again because they thought I might be allergic to bees.

(Charlie’s writing assignment in 3rd grade, 2015)

I wrote about this event shortly after it happened in 2012, click here for that post.

Mother’s Day 2012

This year’s Mother’s Day was the best so far. I think I say this every year.

I slept in and needed to because I was recovering from the flu that started early Friday morning and lasted into the night on Saturday. Nothing like having two days wasted that you can’t get back. I shouldn’t complain too much about this because I just learned that a friend has been recovering from pneumonia and after 5 weeks she was able to go for her daily run on Mother’s day for the first time.  Nola Mae is five weeks old already!  Some days it feels like just yesterday she was born and some days it seems much longer.

When I finally woke up I found a very clean house, pancakes, eggs and bacon for breakfast. Jack and the boys did all the cooking and cleaning for the whole day.

Henry helped me plant three rows of onions. Robbie told me stories of inventions he wants to make and plans he has with his cousin Michael. Charlie had wonderful manners and behavior, he pointed out to me in the afternoon that he hasn’t been sent to his room all day long.

At school Charlie wrote this:

And Robbie wrote this:

In the afternoon we went to Keller Lake, one of my favorite spots. Usually we have this entire park all to ourselves. There were at least 20 other people there. I guess this park really isn’t our little secret.

The boys climbed on these rocks, watched the fish and tried to catch them with their hands.

I look at this picture and I am still having a hard time believing that I am a Mama to four children.  Could I still be dreaming?

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.

Small Towns

Small Towns

Living in a small town is wonderful.

I lived in Milwaukee until I was 12 years old and then we moved to a small town. I learned very quickly that you can’t get away with much in small towns.  Everyone knows your name, who your parents and siblings are, where you live and what kind of car you drive.

When Jack and I finally moved in together after being married for nine months we moved to a small town of about 800 people, similar in size to our childhood small towns.

This is Iola’s Main Street:

I knew this was a wonderful town shortly after moving here.

During our first spring I was planting trees in the field and decided to take our two dogs to the boat landing three miles away for a quick swim to cool off.  I hopped in the car without shoes and without my purse.  While we were at the boat landing I cut my foot open.  It was horrible, I was bleeding like crazy and from what I could tell it was a long and deep cut.  I went to the clinic in town because the closest emergency room is twenty minutes away.  I knew the receptionist, Patty, from my first winter of skiing at the ski hill.  Patty took me to a room and got me comfortable and frequently checked on my dogs that were waiting in the hot car.  I needed many stitches.  I remember saying during the stitches and in between screaming that this has to be worse than childbirth.  Since this incident I have given birth three times and I still think those stitches were more painful!  After I was stitched up I needed to get a prescription filled at the pharmacy in town.  Thankfully we have a pharmacy in town and one with a drive-up window.  I pulled up to the window and told the pharmacist, Susan, that I needed this prescription filled, but I didn’t have any money.  Susan took the paper out of my hand and then asked, “You don’t have any money now or ever?”  I reassured her that I could pay the next day.  She seemed willing to fill my prescription before knowing my answer.

When Robbie was almost two weeks old our only heat source ran out.  We woke up on that Saturday morning to a very cold house.  I called the closest supplier, Norm’s, to see if he could bring us fuel oil.  I explained that we just had a baby and we didn’t realize it was time to fill the tank.  He was here within the hour.

I became more apart of this community after having kids, because I stay home full-time, we shop at the local grocery store, I buy my gas at Norm’s, I visit the post office frequently to send packages to my sisters and we go to the library regularly.

Everyone knows where we live, who lived in our house before us, and they were probably related to someone who lived in our house at one time.  My beautician (I get my hair cut once every three years or so) remembers having hot chocolate at my house when she was a child and she remembers who I am every time I call and when I see her around town.  (She hates that I pull my hair back into a bun!)  All my neighbors go to the same church.

Since we moved here as adults we aren’t related to anyone, so no one knows our relatives (except that we are related to the library director at the Scandinavia Public Library).  It has been a little difficult to fit in because mostly everyone is related to everyone and they have known each other since kindergarten.  Some of my closest friends are also “transplants” to this town.

I often hear, Oh you’re the one…

that put the steel roof on your barn,

that fixed up that old farm-house,

that has that old tractor in your front yard.


What is that tall stuff growing in your garden?

What are you working on now?

What is your husband making in the field?

I saw your cow on the road the last time I drove by.

Here are some recent things that have happened:

Henry and I walked into our local grocery store and one of the cashier yells across the store, “Hello Henry!”

When I walked into the post office to mailed my last care package to my sister, Danna, the postmaster greeted me with, “Good morning, Jenny.”

After I posted a post about my pregnancy on my blog (which means I was ready for this news to go public) I walked through the school and every teacher I saw (even ones I don’t usually talk to) congratulated me.

I walked into the library and the librarian had my books that I had on hold waiting for me at the counter.

My favorite librarian, finds books for us that she knows our kids will love.  Oh yeah, she is related to us.

Henry recognized the woman from the bank’s drive-up window at the grocery store and told me that is the sucker lady (because she gives us a sucker every time).  I didn’t recognize her at the grocery store because she wasn’t at the bank.

We always go to the fabric store, Sew n Sew in Waupaca.  Deb, the sales woman, knows us by name (the store where I purchased my expensive machine and they should remember our names).  Deb remembers Henry loves to look at the buttons, loves to rearrange the thread display and loves the hidden zipper on one of the display pillows. She knows I come there just to look and I make plans to for my next purchase, even it is for something that costs less than $10.

I went to the feed mill and the guys joked with me about the dead chicken on the roof of my car from my previous visit.  And then one of the other employees says, “I thought you were THAT lady!” Now, they all know me by name.  Or maybe they call me the “dead chicken lady.”

I was a little embarrassed by this, so I quickly paid and left.  Maybe I should have explained…I am too lazy to dig a hole to dispose of a dead chicken, or a dead racoon that the dogs drug up from the woods or a dead deer that got hit on the road in front of my house.

My solution for the small dead animals is to put them on the roof of my car, drive slowly down the road for about one and a half miles and then step on the gas around the corner so the dead animal falls off into the ditch where there are no dogs to eat them.   Two times this method has failed me:

The first time it was a dead racoon that the dogs found in the woods and placed right under my clean clothes hanging on the line.  It was so stinky and nasty I put it in a paper grocery bag and put it on top of the car so the dogs wouldn’t chew on it and roll in it.  That is when I got the idea to “dump it” on my way to my bible study.

As I was driving away, Jack was waving me down to stop and signing to me that there is something on the roof of my car.  I gave him a thumbs-up and kept going, slowly.   Then my neighbor was pulling out of her driveway, waving me down and making signs that there was something very important on the roof of my car.  That is when I decided I should stop and take the bag off the car, just to make her happy.  I held the bag out the window until I got to my dumping spot.  I accomplished my goal to get rid of this dead raccoon but I had to touch the bag one more time.  Just thinking about this incident I can smell that nasty thing!

The second time this method failed was when the chicken didn’t fall off of the car during all my errands for the day and was still on my car when I got to the feed mill.  That morning I stopped at the cheese factory, then I drove to Jack’s work and he took me out for lunch downtown Clintonville, where we saw our dentist and dental hygienist.  The feed mill was my last stop.  I did all this driving around with a dead chicken on the roof of my car!  After this visit to the feed mill that is when the jokes started.  I wonder what the cheese factory people think of me?

I may need a new solution for these small dead animals because I have two dead chickens on the window sill in the barn.  Now that the ground is frozen I have the excuse that I am unable to dig a hole.  Really, I am not lazy!

My only solution for large animals, like a dead deer, is to get the chains out and drag it down the road to a place where there aren’t any houses and dogs.  I needed to do this once in the middle of the summer.  Thankfully no one was driving down the road or outside in their yard when I did this.

The dead steer, who strangled himself, is a whole different story.

Now that I have rambled about my dead animals.  Our small town may know that I am the one to blame for the pile up of dead animals on our road.

Everyday I am thankful that we found this small town to raise our boys in.  I love our small town and all the people here.

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.


Waiting takes a lot of patience.
Late last week I started feeling sick like I was getting strep throat. It didn’t seem possible because when strep hits me it usually comes on quickly. So I waited for it to continue to get worse or better.

Sunday I called the on-call nurse and scheduled an appointment for Monday morning.  I waited for the appointment time to arrive and prayed that if I indeed had strep the doctor would be able to see it and give me meds.

Because of today’s “late start” day  for Robbie it meant that all three boys were home this morning and I had to take all three boys to my appointment. It actually went well, with a little threatening that I would take Robbie to school early to wait in the lunch room until school started. I don’t like threatening but didn’t have the energy to be creative and positive.

The doctor looked at my throat and right away said, “Yes that is strep throat!”  THANK YOU!  Now please give me meds!  He emailed the prescription to the pharmacy in our home town.  So I had to wait until we could get back to our town to start the meds.

I drove very slowly waiting for the time to get a little closer to the start of school so Robbie could go directly to his classroom.

I am home now cuddling looking at pictures in books (because it hurts to talk) with my two little monkeys and watching them play with their dominos waiting for the meds to start working.

While sitting on the recliner in front of the fire, that Charlie is managing for me, I am staring at cookbooks that we don’t use very often.  I picked up the home-made ice cream book and had to put it down because it makes me want to eat and is making me more hungry.  My last meal was on Saturday night.  And I want to make home-made ice cream!

I am waiting for Henry to be ready for his nap so I can take one with him.

I am waiting for Jack to get home so he can cook dinner and clean up our mess from today.

I am waiting for my throat to be better so I can eat and drink something.

I am waiting to have more energy so I can take care of my chickens and animals, cook for my family, do some laundry and finish my blog entry for last week.

I am waiting for more energy so I can be back to normal.

I am…

I am… (Not Just a Mother)

I love my job as a SAHM, and my interest are driven by that love.

But at the same time, I am able to hold onto many interests, and realize that there are still many things that make me ME, even if most of my focus is still on parenting my children.

I’d like to introduce myself. I’m Jenny. I’m a mom, but I am also many other things:

I am a gardener – I love flowers, apple orchards, raspberry and blueberry patches and vegetable gardens.  I love to grow milo (A.K.A. broom corn) and garlic.  The less lawn to mow the better!

I am a farmer – I should probably say “a-wanna-be-farmer.”  Currently I have a horse and a pet cow named Vanilla and 25 chickens.  I want less cows, but can’t part with my sweet Vanilla, and I want more chickens.  Maybe a steer or two this spring?  I love red meat but can’t buy it from the store!

I am a-wanna-be-soap maker – I have been making soap for over two years.  I completed my ninth batch tonight.  My success rate is 50%, kind of stinks!  I should clarify – 50% success means that the quality of my soaps were good enough for gifts or to be sold.  The other 50% was still usable for us.

I am a quilter – I love making quilts and hand quilting them.  Since I don’t have much time for that right now I sew  things that can be completed during nap-time or in the early evening hours.

I am a runner and cross-country skier – I have completed only two running marathons in my life and five skiing marathons.  I have plans to run every marathon in the state of Wisconsin and some in the bordering states before I die.  My skiing goals are to complete the American Birkie on my classical skis and to travel to Norway to ski the Birkebeinerrennet.

I am a reader – I read every night before going to sleep. I will read most books recommended to me by my friends.  I learned to love reading in my late teens, in my opinion, way too late!   I started a book club twelve years ago that meets every month.  I love my library.  I don’t have to purchase books because I can find just about any book I have ever wanted to read in our library system.  People who say they “don’t read” freak me out. It is as foreign to me as telling me you don’t like chocolate.

I am a grocery shopper – the only kind of shopping I love is for groceries.  When I go to a new town I love to find their local grocery store.  I love stores that sell bulk foods.  I love huge grocery stores and I love little ones.

I am a stockpiler of food and supplies – when something that I always buy is on sale I buy a lot of it (I learned this one from my mom).  Since I live in a small town and don’t get to the store or a larger town very often I make sure I never run out of the main staples for our meals and needs.  I can’t just run to the store for of a gallon of milk, a loaf of bread or toilet paper.

I am a cake decorator – I love to bake and decorate cakes for all occasions.  I love any excuse to decorate a cake even for silly occasions, like an ice fishing weekend with the hubby’s college buddies.

I am organized and my house is always trashed – cleaning is for the birds!

So there, ten things about me that are true, current, and have nothing to do with my children. Sometimes when I feel like all I do is take care of them, I remind myself that I have many things that make me ME.  Things that are true ALL the time.  I’m still ME, no matter what happens, and I don’t have to wait until my children are grown to remember that I still have my own unique personality.

Now that I’ve talked about me, how about you?  Feel free to leave a comment using “I am”, tell me a few things about yourself that have nothing to do with your kids.