December 2014

December 2014

Jack took our annual family photos:

Family Profile 2014

Family 2014

Aunt Carol brought us the trees behind us in the spring of 2000 (our first spring).  This batch of trees never got cut for a Christmas tree because they were too big when we started having a tree.

We had good snow and great skiing early in the month.  After our first night of skiing Henry wrote a note to his teacher.

Letter from Henry

We had good sledding in our field.   Henry would get a running start and get some serious air before hitting the snow!

sledding Henry air

Nola Mae ran up and down the hill many times.

Nola Mae

The best hats!

Henry black hat  Nola Mae black hat

Early in the month I had two more kinds of soaps that were ready for the holiday: 

  soap vanilla & patchouli soap lavender & lemon grass

The first photo is Lavender, Vanilla & Patchouli.  The second photo is Lavender & Lemon Grass with ground lemon powder.

Charlie dyed a pair of bamboo socks for his teacher.  We did a test pair last month because I wanted him to have a feel for the syringe and working with the dye.  He was easily frustrated with his own socks and it seemed like he hated the whole process.  So I figured we would have to find a different gift for his teacher.  About a week before the last day of school he asked, “When are we going to dye my teacher’s socks?”  I just assumed he hated it and would never want to do it again.  Charlie promised me he would have extra patience for this project.  And he did while he got help from Nola Mae.

dyeing Charlie 3

Mrs. Johnson’s socks:

dyed socks Charlie

The color in this photo is so off from the actual color.  He used a purple and a teal color called Kingfisher Blue.

Charlie and Nola Mae messing around with a backpack:

Charlie & Nola Mae babywearing

We cut our Christmas tree from our property:

I remember planting this tree very well, even what clothes I was wearing, and the pair of gloves I had on. It was one of the first days I accomplished something significant after feeling like crap for months with morning sickness (my pregnancy with Robbie).  I planted a total of 15 trees, only three trees made it this long.  I tried to imagine when we would be cutting this tree down for our Christmas tree.  I didn’t imagine we would have four children around this tree, 11 1/2 years later.

christmas tree 2014

Nola Mae strawberry hat

One of my sisters got engaged this month:

Becca & Ben

Here is some kind of Elemental Warrior equation Robbie made with  some calligraphy pens that I had.

Elemental warrior equation

Dyeing and sewing projects (I have a post all for my December dyeing projects, click here to see them):

My friend, Michelle, gave me some curtains she had in her daughter’s room.  I dyed them, because they were white!

dye ice curtain

Nola Mae and three of her cousins got pretty snow dyed skirts.

dyed ice curtain skirt

My first Maxi skirt for one of my sisters:

sewing maxi skirt becca

Two bags made of dyed fabrics:

bag dyed red mandala

Front of bag:

bag dyed & embrodiery

Back of bag:

bag dyed Aunt Karen

Robbie and I went Christmas shopping and he had the idea that I dye the kids matching shirts.

dyed family shirts 1 dyed family shirts 2

It was my idea to do a “V” for our last name.  Jack helped me with the colors.

dyed family shirts

Jack has been busy in his workshop:

A book shelf for Robbie.

Robbie's book shelf

A tool box for Henry.

Henry's tool box

A bench for Nola Mae.

Nola Mae's bench

We set up the ping-pong table for Christmas break, this could become a tradition I could get use to.

ping pong

More of my favorite photos from this month:

Trombone Robbie

   Robbie Runs

Nola Mae's sled

Monopoly Grandmas

Mama santa hat

Charlie computer

cards Henry

cards Henry smile

Advertisements

November 2014

I have been busy dyeing all the white things I can find.  I am beyond dyeing all the white things in our house, now.  Actually, the only undyed item in our house is my shower curtain in the upstairs bathroom.  It WILL get dyed, I am just waiting for a possible bathroom remodel and inspiration.   I have graduated to getting white things given to me by friends and family and buying really cheap white stuff at thrift stores and even buying dye blanks (flour sack towels, bamboo socks & fabric).  I often think about posting an “ISO” (In Search Of) request on the facebook resale sites that I follow for good conditioned white clothing that might have a stain.

You can check out my dye projects for this month, here.

Because I was dyeing this month I didn’t keep up on household chores, which is a common practice when I have more fun things to do than clean!   I was brave enough to post about “What Normal Looks Like…to Me”. (Click here to see that post).

Early in November Nola Mae and I made a day trip to see my sister, Emily.  While we were in town we got to meet our newest cousin, Derek, his sister Morgan and my cousin Cathy.  We met at a library, and found the coolest library story room in the whole world!

wauwatosa library story room

Inside was awesome!

wauwatosa library story room books

Every day Henry carries a huge load to kindergarten!  Agenda book, boots, snow pants, gloves, hat and winter coat (on the outside) and lunch box (on the outside).  It is too hot on the bus to wear his winter coat for the hour-long ride.  He also tells me his feet get too hot if he wears his boots.

Henry's load for school

The school allows children to leave winter clothes in their cubby. I have two pairs of snow pants in almost every size because Robbie and Charlie have left a pair at school and recently have worn the same size. Henry has rejected the 2nd pair I have in his size, because some silly thing about the straps. The day he forgot to pack his snow pants, it didn’t seem to bother him because his teacher had a pair for him to wear. I was secretly hoping he was freezing at recess so he would agree to leave a pair at school.

When Robbie was younger we would make a nest for him to sleep in.  I got the idea because he is a pheasant lover and when he was little falling asleep in a nest helped him go to sleep.  Now at 11 years old, he has a double bed all to himself, I often find him in a nest.

Robbie's nest

I look closer at this nest and it reminds me of the swaddling we HAD to do when he was a baby.

 

Cozy and under blankets close to the fire, ready for our 7 AM reading time!  I am not a morning person!  Once the boys get on the bus at 6:50, it takes a lot of effort for me to stay downstairs and not crawl in bed.  Reading is a good distraction!

Reading with Nola Mae

Reading Pile Nola Mae

We are slowly working on reading 1,000 books before Kindergarten.   My challenges have been taking the time to write in this pile of titles afterwards,  I lost the folder for about a week and am now out of the habit.  I know we will get there, but it will be fun to know when we do reach 1,000 books.

Nola Mae loves Henry’s “reading finger”. That thing was creepy to me when Robbie brought his reading bags home in kindergarten, I was a little better about it when Charlie brought his reading bags home and this time with Henry I was looking forward to it. I assume kids love them and it makes them point to the words.

Reading finger Nola Mae

I was inspired to try making carrot juice again when we scored some sweet flavored “seconds” at the winter farmer’s market.  Since then, Nola Mae often asks to make carrot juice.  Our five pounds of carrots didn’t last very long.

carrot apple juice Nola Mae

Too much dyeing and too little sewing this month!  I made two of these hats.

Hat fleece A Anita

My baby wearing days are numbered.  I will be taking and sharing more photos in the future.  Action shots help sell wraps, so when that time comes I will have the photos!

Baby wearing with my  Ellevill Zara Aubergin wrap.

wrap ellevill abergine

October 2014

October 2014

I started out this month posting about Henry’s Pumpkin, click here to see that post.

Henry's pumpkin

Henry’s teacher had this note attached to a new pumpkin for him to take home two days later…

Letter Mrs Fechter

Robbie turned 11 years old this month.  I decided to do a birthday post for him this year because I haven’t been mentioning him very often in my blog.  Robbie’s Birthday

We don’t give many gifts or big gifts or have a huge party.   During the last year I have been not planning parties where we have many friends over.  Since our family grew to four kids, birthdays needed to be simplified.  Our family celebrates birthdays in a very simple way…we do special things – you pick your favorite dinner meal and dessert, you invite a friend to do something fun with us around your birthday time and we do something fun as a family.

I dyed a sheet for Robbie this summer with the intentions of having it made into a quilt.  Robbie helped me pick out the colors of the rainbow to use.   I loved that idea!  He doesn’t know that he is my “rainbow baby”.    I hired to have it machine quilted  and it was finished just a few days before his birthday.

dye swirl rainbow quilt finished

 I started this quilt in February after learning that my cousin would be having her “rainbow baby” in September.  I finished it the last week of October and gave it to her on October 31st!

quilt rainbow

 

quilt rainbow baby

 

Homecoming week at Iola means the school has an Orange and Black day.   I dyed their bandanas for this occasion and I expect they will get a lot of use out of them.

Dye bandanas orange and black

My sister Emily had her liver transplant in September.  I posted two posts around the time of her transplant.  A Prayer for Emily and A Sister’s Emotions.   She came home in October.  I have saved these before pictures to share an after picture at the same time.

This is the week she was in the hospital before her transplant.  She was very jaundice, I believe her bilirubin levels hit and all time high of 40 the week this picture was taken.

Emily Jaundice w John

I went to visit her and was pleased to see a smile on her face and she her in good spirits.  What else can you do when the doctor says, “You are not going home until you have a transplant.”  When I sat down next to her bed with the hospital window at my back I was shocked to see how yellow the whites of her eyes were and her skin color compared to John’s was also shocking.

Four days before her liver transplant:

Emily jaundice2

Emily jaundice 1

Almost three weeks after her transplant:

Emily not jaundice eyes

Emily not jaundice

Emily is home, recovering and getting stronger every day.  She told me she has lost a lot of weight since her transplant and looks very healthy.

Drinks!  I have a few favorite drinks.  I love coffee the most.  All kinds of coffee!  I also love beer, but don’t get to drink that very often.   Jack’s mom went to Finland, over a year ago (?), and brought a pair of Kuksa (Finnish drinking cups) for us.  We finally sat down next to each other on the couch and broke in our cups drinking Four Roses Single Barrel.

Kuksa cup breaking it in

 

 I also have to share a new find for me – a local coffee roaster is here in my area.  I had no idea!  Here is the link to the article where I learned of them, “Ruby Coffee Roasters sees business perk up”. 

ruby coffee

 Kuksa cup espresso

I also like to make and drink smoothies.  My best friend in college, Bethany, first introduced me to smoothies.  One day I made the mistake of prepping the blender with the smoothie ingredients and not blending it until after the boys got home.  When Robbie saw the blender before the blending happened he scrunched up his nose and said, “what is that going to be?”.  He didn’t drink my smoothie that day.

If he only knew that every day the before blending looks the same, he probably wouldn’t drink my smoothies.

 smoothie before             smoothie

Charlie has begged me for jobs that he could get paid for around the house.  It was hard to come up with something since everyone does jobs around here for no pay, like emptying the dishwasher, feeding the dogs, taking care of chickens, sweeping and vacuuming, cleaning up rooms, making firewood, stacking and bringing in firewood.  I only fold clothes when they come off the clothes line, if they come out of the dryer they get separated into each person’s own laundry basket.  That is as good as it gets around here and sometimes I wonder why we have dressers.  I decided folding laundry was a job I would pay to have done for the sake of it getting done and Charlie earning money.  Nola Mae isn’t very helpful when it comes to folding clothes.

Laundry charlie & Nola Mae

 Nola Mae loves to be measured, we’ll see if all our body measuring pays off when we go in for her well-child appointment this week and if she lets the nurse measure her.  When ever she finds one of my tape measures I measure her head circumference, arms, feet, toes, legs, nose, and ears.  It is a fun little game for us.   After her bath she stood there for a long time so Henry could count every inch.

Measuring Nola Mae

 I have worked really hard to exercise 5-6 days a week.  Doesn’t always happen that many times in a week, but is my goal!   I had recently organized our basement and got my Nordic Track out in the open for when there was a day I had time to get on it and do it.

One day it was windy and too yucky to run outside and I was too lazy to drive to the ski hill to hike on the trails.   I was wishing it was winter because skiing on a day like that would have been fine.  So I climbed on the Nordic Track and skied for an hour.  I had a great workout and imagined I was skiing.  I thought it was funny that our box of ski boots just happened to be right there in my face.  I couldn’t decide if that made it helpful to imagine skiing or painful because I wasn’t skiing on real snow.

nordic track

 Our school had a day off on a Friday this month.  I figured going to the skate board park in Waupaca would be a good idea because we would have the park all to ourselves.

 Charlie had fun riding his bike.swan park 3

 And everyone had fun sliding.

Swan park 2

 Nola Mae ran all over the place and tired herself out!

Swan Park 1

 Swan Park also has a very nice hiking trail.  We went on the trail through the woods and Nola Mae got a little nap.

swan park hike

 Robbie was in charge of the camera.

swan park Robbie selfie

Instead of trick or treating I bought each boy a bag of their favorite candy and we stayed home.  We had a good time in the woods making improvements to their forts.

Fort in woods

 And they had a fun game of 500.

500 Robbie & Charlie 1

 

500 Robbie & Charlie 2

 

 A few babywearing photos:

 I slingafied the other half of my friend’s woven wrap Winter Lilies.

ring sling didymos winter lillies

 

 I made these linen wraps for my cousin a matching one for her daughter.  (Rucksack Carry with Tibetan Tie)

wrap linen blue Cathy

 

 I took the boys and Jack to the ski hill to show them the new trail and Jack took this cool picture of Nola Mae waiting to be wrapped.

wrap Girasol rainbow back carry

 And this one when we were done wrapping.

wrap Girasol rainbow back carry tada

 Double Hammock  Carry with my Ellevill Norwegian Jack wool woven wrap.

wrap ellevill Jack action

 

 Wool wraps are tricky to wash.  I wanted to wash it to soften it up a little more, and it worked!  I had to take a photo of how pretty it looked on the drying rack.  It is a beautiful wrap!

wrap ellevill Jack drying

Swan Park nap in my woven wrap Ellevill  Zara Velvet.

swan park nap

 

 

I was hoping to share my dyeing projects from September and October before this post, maybe that will be next?

For now you can see some of my dyed items in my etsy store:   https://www.etsy.com/shop/skiingmama

 

 

September 2014

September 2014

First day of school photo:

First day of school 2014

On the first day of school, Nola Mae and I took a bike ride to town to run errands.  I needed to do lots of things this day, grocery shopping, library, bank, post office, drop something off at school and most importantly get exercise and get away from the house so I wasn’t thinking about missing my boys.  Our way home was a lot of work for me…27 pound child, 15 pound bike trailer, 75 pounds of groceries and library books.

Bike errands

I have planned to dye my hair a non-traditional color (purple) for many months.  I finally got around to doing it and it faded to pink (not one of my favorite colors).  In the last month I have considered chopping my hair just twice to get rid of it.  When my mom first saw me after I dyed my hair, she joked with me that my fabric dyes got in my hair.   Now, I am feeling like I will keep it for a while.  Next, I will attempt purple and maybe more colors.

 hair dye pink

Jack has made many cigar box guitars in the last year.  This month Charlie finished a two string cigar box guitar.

 cigarbox guitar in progress

Jack made a video of Charlie and shared it on facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10202628856665701&set=vb.1326037913&type=3&theater

cigarbox guitar Charlie's

I have an amazing husband, he deserves a blog post all to himself.   He is talented in many areas, he is intelligent, he is teaching our kids many skills, he creates beautiful wooden furniture and boxes.

I was a little skeptical about these ugly pieces of wood when he loaded these into our car.

wooden burrow

One day he handed this beautiful bowl to me and told me he made it from the wooden burrows that we brought home.

wooden burrow bowl

Charlie turned a bowl with Jack.  He took his unfinished bowl to school to show his teacher.  Charlie was eager to finish it and then took it back to school.  One day I was looking for Charlie’s bowl to take a photo.  He told me he gave it to his teacher.

We got together with all the Vater cousins this month, unfortunately because Grandpa Neil passed away.  It was wonderful to see our kids having a blast with their cousins, and visit with the cousins we don’t see very much.  Nola Mae and I missed out on the last family gathering because she was sick.   I am not interested in doing the math on when I last saw Jack’s cousins from CA, it was sometime when Ben was still a little boy.  When Ben opened his mouth I just about died, because he had a man’s voice, not a little boy anymore!  Ben is the tallest man in the Vater family.

vater cousins and family

I have many sisters, four of them, all of them are amazing in their own way!  Early this month, Becca completed her first Ironman in Madison,  2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run.

I wasn’t able to make it to Madison to cheer her on.  I was able to watch her finish from the comforts of my home, 130+ miles away on my computer through the live-feed video on Ironman’s website.

I have my very own finish line photo of her.

IronMan Madison Becca

 Nola Mae loves to put clothes on, take them off, and put extra layers of clothing.  While I was taking a shower  Nola Mae climbed   on the counter and was putting socks on and taking them off.  I took this picture with the intention of doing a blog post with all the photos I have collected of her in her many outfits.

Nola Mae socks happy

Everything was going great.  You can see all the socks on the floor that she had on and took off.  Then she got stuck in these blue socks, that is when things started to get UGLY!  Exactly, one minute later…

Nola Mae socks sad  Nola Mae socks sadder

Two days later…there was an outfit that included many layers and many tears – three shirts, one dress and one pair of tights – she wanted more clothes on and I wouldn’t help her.

Nola Mae flopping

The above photos aren’t so pretty ones of Nola Mae, but this one is!

Nola Mae

When you co-sleep and put your child to bed before yourself they claim their spot.

Yours spot

I knew Henry was outside on the deck.  I heard sounds of a trombone.  I was afraid he snuck Robbie’s  trombone upstairs and outside.  I was relieved, happy and very excited to see him making music with the vacuum cleaner hose, rather than the $754 trombone!

Henry hose trombone

Four days before my birthday a wonderful gift arrived at our house – a spiral ham and caramel popcorn!  I was delighted, ham is one of our favorite things.  Especially, mine because one ham goes a long way here.  If I am remembering correctly this ham gave us  at least four meals, fillings for additional meals, made awesome snacks and were added to cold lunches for boys.  The very last of this ham will be eaten sometime this fall when I make my favorite soup!

bday ham

On September 11th, Nola Mae and I drove to Milwaukee to see my sister, Emily.  Earlier in the week she was admitted to the hospital for liver failure and the talk was “she isn’t going home until she gets a new liver”.  Her MELD Score was so high, she was on the top of the liver transplant list for the Midwest.  As the week progressed and she got more fluids and antibiotics she was feeling and looking better.  I was thankful to see her in better spirits and health later in the week so that when and if a new liver came to her she would be strong enough to make it through a transplant.

Emily hospital 9-11

On Monday, September 15th, around 4:30 AM Emily was told that there is an organ donor who is a perfect match for her.   I am pretty sure this was the longest day in her entire life.  It sure was for me!   The staff took her to surgery for the liver transplant at 5:30 PM.  If I am remembering correctly, I got the call at 12:21 AM, on the 16th, telling me that her surgery was done and she will be heading to ICU.

Click here to read my thoughts on the day of Emily’s transplant, “A Sister’s Emotions”.

I spent the day before my birthday glued to my computer and close to the phone waiting for any news on Emily’s transplant.  I didn’t get much sleep that night and woke up for my birthday in a zombie-like state.  I knew Emily was sedated, well cared for in ICU and I needed to get the heck out of my house!  IT was MY birthday and I wanted my special coffee and I wanted to use my 60% & 50% off coupons at JoAnn Fabrics!  So Nola Mae and I went to town!

I made a trip to my favorite thrift store and found a bunch of dye blanks!

  I bought these fabrics.  The birds and butterflies were on the $4/yard rack.  The bottom white fabrics I bought for making dyed scarves.

bday fabric

A close up of one of the white fabrics.

dye blank for scarf

I made two scarves from this fabric – one for my step-mom and one to sell or give away as a gift (or maybe keep for myself).

Dyed Scarf Rainbow colors

My last stop in town was Starbucks, thanks to my sister Danna and her boyfriend, I purchased a yummy coffee and this beautiful coffee mug.

bday coffee cup

The boys (& Jack) gave me a package of socks, these awesome rubber boots and something else.  I can’t remember what the third thing was.   I love my new boots and wear them every day!

bday boots

Usually my garlic gets planted in October.  The planting window for garlic in Wisconsin is mid-September to November.  I remember this because my birthday is the beginning of this planting window and my brother’s birthday, which is at the end of October, is my absolute last day for planting garlic.   This fall, I started planting my garlic before my birthday and then finished planting 200+ cloves of garlic the day after my birthday.

garlic planting 2014

We are were still picking raspberries into October.

Raspberries 8-31-12

 Every year I find a pair of Walking Sticks in my raspberry patch.  They are always attached to each other every time I see them.  This time I happened to have the camera with me and when I bumped them, they came apart and I took this photo.

walking stick

I have accumulated many dye blanks, I am always looking for more.  Recently, I  had some time to organize and prioritize my dyeing projects

dye thirft store blanks

I also had some time to set up a little dyeing space in my basement and got busy.  In one week I dyed 20 pieces.

dye table

We paddled up the river from Big Falls when the leaves were beautiful.  It was a great way to end the month.

paddle car fall 2014

paddle big falls 2014  paddle rocking 2014

I am making and selling soap again this year.  I started early for Christmas by making four batches.

“Cleansing Calendula”, with essential oils: Lavender & Tea Tree and ground Calendula flowers for a great exfoliation.    Aroma:  Soft, floral.  Benefits:  Renewing, cleansing, stimulating.

soap calendula flowers & lavender & tea tree  

“Cinnamon Swirl”  with essential oils:  Orange & Cinnamon and ground cinnamon, which gives it the dark color.   Aroma:  Warm, spicy   Benefits:  Warming, comforting, energizing

 soap cinn & organe

(these are the same soap, just different batch and different method of coloring with the ground cinnamon)

“Jumping Juniper”  essential oils:  Juniper, Lavender & Rosemary   Aroma: Floral   Benefits: Restoring, empowering, balancing, purifying, &  uplifting.

  soap juniper, lavender & rosemary

I have about twelve pounds of garlic to sell.

garlic for sale 2014

It was a good birthday month for me!

August 2014

August 2014

A moment when everyone was getting along nicely!

4 kids talking

Charlie is thrilled about his candy DNA he made in summer school.  I had to take this photo for Aunt Danna who is studying Bio-Chemistry at UW-Madison.

Charlie Science

Charlie celebrated his 9th birthday.

charlie bday cake 9 yr

Mask making:

 

blue tape mask

blue tape mask 4 kids

 

We biked to Big Falls this summer for the first time.  Round trip was 16.5 miles.

We went to the Sweet Shoppe for some games and ice cream.

 

 

big falls sweet shop

 

big falls playground

big falls waterfall

 

Charlie’s new hair cut – trim at the beauty solon.

 

 

charlie long hair

 

Then a buzz cut from Papa:

charlie short hair

 

This hen has always acted “broody” so I decided to give it a try to let her hatch some eggs.  I expect chicks any day.

 

chicken coop hatching eggs

Nola Mae loves to come to the chicken coop with me.  She has figured out how to climb so she can collect eggs.

chicken coop Nola Mae

My garden is doing well:

Garlic crop was a success.  I am not sure how many pounds I grew this year.

 

garden garlic 2014

I was able to recruit some helpers for the peeling and trimming jobs.

garden garlic cleaning

garden garlic trim

We got a lot of rain this month.  I didn’t get out to the garden to pick my green beans for a few days.  I was surprised with an 11.5 inch long green bean.

  garden forgotten green bean

We found this cute frog in my purple cone flowers.

garden frog purple coneflower

I have lots of corn in the freezer, about 120 cups.

garden corn

I did some dyeing this month, check out my post Dye Projects – August.

These dyed items found new homes this month:

dye clothes

 

Granny visited us for Charlie’s birthday.  Nola Mae put her glasses on.

   Nola Mae Granny glasses

Napping Nola Mae.

Nola Mae sleeping

A common scene at our house.

Play house swing

I made a new soap this month:

Tea tree and lavender essential oils with ground Calendula flowers.

soap calendula lavender & tea tree

My very popular soap:

Orange and cinnamon, swirled this time.

soap cinnamon orange

Playing on the sinking canoe is always a lot of fun!

sunset sunk canoe

I made this wrap for someone, 100% linen, color is honeysuckle and beautiful!

wrap 100% linen honeysuckle

I had to try it out!

wrap 100% linen honeysuckle action

July 2014

 July 2014

This month started out pretty horrible.  I had strep throat.  Once I was feeling better, I hurt my back while pulling weeds in the garden.  I literally spent over a week sleeping and lying around.  I feel fortunate to have independent children, a hubby who is able to take a day of vacation anytime and a wonderful doctor friend who will see me in her office on her day off and again on the weekend.  I wouldn’t have been able to get better as quickly without  her!   That week did a number on my brain too.  I haven’t recovered from that lost week yet!

If you come to our house, Nola Mae will want to show you the big hole in the garden.  There once was a large rock there.

garden hole get ready

This hole keeps her busy and entertained.

garden hole jump

Another source of entertainment in our yard.

Nola Mae Tractor

Waiting for fireworks.

Henry & Nola Mae fireworks

Mr. Ernst baling his hay in our field.

Mr. Ernst marshmallows

Counting Mr. Ernst’s marshmallows.

counting bales

I love this smile!

Henry smile

Our big boys went to North Dakota with Grandma, Grandpa, uncle and cousins.

ND July 4 2014 cousins

ND July 4 2014 bluff

When they called me from North Dakota they told me they could spend all summer there because they were having so much fun.

ND July 4 2014 swimming

All four kids together after the big boys came back from their trip to North Dakota.

four kids on rocks

Henry has this great friend, Micheala, who he sat next to in school, they played together, helped each other with projects and giggled a lot together.  Micheala invited Henry to her birthday party at the pool.  Every day we counted down the days until the day before the party.  Henry helped me pick out the fabric for this bag to give to her, because she LOVES pink!

bag pink batman

The weekend came…Eddie came to help Jack cut down the huge oak tree that was leaning towards the house.

Oak tree standing

Oak tree plan

Helen counted about 120 to 130 years for the age of the tree.

Oak tree down

Oak tree sawing

  Jack and Eddie did a fabulous job dropping the tree away from the house and garage.  Jack put his chain saw in a “safe” place.  The tree landed perfectly on our wood pile and did not damage the chainsaw!

Oak tree chainsaw

 The video on facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10202381381878986&set=vb.1326037913&type=3&theater

We have an awesome firewood pile.  Charlie thinks we won’t have to make firewood for a couple more years.  I didn’t have the heart to tell him we make firewood for future years, not the coming winter.  This wood is what we will burn, not this winter, next winter (2015-16) and hopefully some will be left for the following winter (2016-17).

Oak Tree firewood

The weekend was over…On Sunday night, after reading our bedtime story, Henry asked me again, “How many days until Micheala’s party?”  At that moment I realized we missed the party, it was yesterday.   The poor boy cried himself to sleep.  I called the mom and made an ice cream date with Micheala.  We picked her up and while we were in the car Henry had a whoopee cushion and kept  blowing it up and squashing it.  They were giggling so hard it just melted my heart to see them having such a great time.  While at the ice cream shop they talked and talked while just sitting on the riding toys.

birthday ice cream 2

birthday ice cream

Fifty-five pounds of blush and bing cherries ($1.66/pound).  We ate almost all of them except for a quart size bag of them went into the freezer.

cherries 2014

Five days later, eighty pounds of blueberries arrived.  I paid $2.25/pound.  The kids were slacking this year and only ate about fifteen pounds before we made one pie and froze the rest.

Blueberries 2014

 There are wonderful times in my life when all four kids will play nicely together, not often, but it does happen.  They went down the path to the edge of the field and played for a very long time.  I can’t remember how long but long enough for me to keep wondering “What in the world are they doing?”  Finally, this is what I saw coming up the hill.

Best big Brother Robbie

And then something like this happens…Henry and I picked raspberries one hot afternoon. While we picked Henry and Nola Mae weren’t getting along.  They were mostly fighting about who would get my next handful. I sent Nola Mae to a shady part to eat her raspberries. Henry was still kind of mad at her so he said, “Nola Mae I hope you eat ALL your raspberries! And then you poop, raspberry poop, on your head!”

 Henry & Nola Mae

Our lotion girl:  Thankfully this mess was outside.

lots of lotion

 My sewing projects:

I made this wet bag for a friend who uses cloth diapers.

diaper wet bag butterflies

And this Didymos Winter Lillies wrap was made into a ring sling for another friend.

Didymos winter lilies ring sling convert

 I dyed this in June and sewed it into a ring sling this month.

dye ice Navy over Intense violet ring sling

and this one.

ring sling green july 14

My first minecraft creeper inspired pillowcase.

pillowcase minecraft creeper

My dyeing projects:

Charlie designed the glue resist on this cloth to cover his desk.  He wanted rainbow colors, which I used to ice dye it, but it doesn’t look very rainbow-ish to me.  When he saw it for the first time he said, “Awesome!”  I was holding my breath because it didn’t turn out like I expected.

dye glue resist ice Charlie

I made this ring sling for a friend who loved the ring sling I made last month in the same colors.   This one turned out a little darker and just as beautiful.  We traded this ring sling for a new bike for Robbie.

dye ice cerulean blue & better blue green 2nd time ring sling

Robbie with his new bike.  I think we got the better end of the deal!

Robbie bike traded for ring sling

 This is a picture of “testing my patience”.  I have learned that dyeing stuff takes a lot of patience.    All of those items in the bags first sat under ice for over 24 hours, then I gently put them into these plastic bags for 12 hours.

dye ice rainbow swirl batching

Then they needed rinsing with the hose, and then rinsed in the washer for many rinse cycles.

dye ice rainbow swirl rinse

 Once I dried everything in the dryer I hung them on the line to get a good look!

dye ice rainbow swirl on line dye ice rainbow swirl osnaburg

dye ice rainbow swirl ring sling 2

This was a white sheet that I will make into a quilt for Robbie.

  dye ice rainbow swirl sheet dye ice rainbow swirl Tank

This was a white table-cloth.

Dye LWI rainbow table clothe

with matching napkins that I dyed.dyed rainbow napkins set 1

  We have a trombone player!  He is very happy to be done playing the piano.

  Robbie Trombone 1 Robbie Trombone 2

I have had this sign on my fridge for many months.  I was reminded this month how very important this is for everyone to follow (adults and children)!  I hope you follow this advice too.

THINK

June 2014

June 2014

June was a productive month for me.   I am happy with the amount of things we did and the things I accomplished since it was our first month of summer vacation.   Things are getting easier for me with four children, because I remember past years in June I spent the month adjusting to summer vacation and me feeling very frazzled.

I did a lot of dyeing this month, check out my post about those projects here.

purple dress

A friend asked me to make her daughter a rainbow skirt for her birthday.  Her favorite color is pink so I reversed the rainbow and put the pink on the bottom so it is more visible and because I can never make the  same thing twice.  I always have to mix things up!

Spiderman was in the house when I needed a model and

skirt ruffle rainbow for Laura

he was pretty good at twirling around.

skirt ruffle rainbow for Laura spin

I had helpers planting my hanging baskets and flower pots.  I am usually picky about what color flowers go together and how many get planted in certain pots.  Not this time.  Lately, I have challenged myself to “let go” of the middle steps and be happy with the finish product – planted flowers.

planting flowers

I got my garden planted this month.  And my garlic is looking awesome!

garden June 2014

Since I am so late at getting this post done I am able to include a comparison picture of the garden a little over a month later.

garden July 10 2014

Jack had some company while he changed the oil in his car.

 changing the oil

Henry had his 4K graduation.  I also wrote a blog about these awesome socks Henry is wearing.  (Click here to read that)

Graduation 4K Henry

 

 First day of school, September 2013.   Frist day of school 2013

Last day of school, June 2014.

Last day of school 2014

 

Our strawberry patch was going strong this year.  I didn’t have much time to pick them all when they were ripe.  So I often sent kids outside to “eat as many strawberries as you can!”

strawberries Charlie

Strawberries Henry & Nola Mae

Nola Mae playing in her kitchen.  The hole for the sink (was a plastic bowl) is a common place for her body.  She usually goes from standing on the stove, to standing on the narrow shelf, back to the stove and then into the sink area.

Nola Mae kitchen

Aunt Susie came over and switched up our dinner table seating arrangements.  Henry worked it out so he and Nola Mae could share the piano bench.  And they were pretty cute together!

Henry & Nola Mae at table

My sister, Becca, is training for the Madison Ironman this year.  She is amazing!  My Mom, our sister Danna and I went to cheer Becca on at the High Cliff Half Ironman race that she participated in this month.  All I can say is “WOW!”

tri becca

Our cousins came to visit with us for a couple of days.   I had a wonderful time with a house full of children, seven kids – 10 years old to two years old.  Although I had to share my time with Jessie and seven kids, it seemed much easier to visit with her than it is when we are at a family gathering of 50 people.

Jessie field

jessie rock cousins

Our youngest babies together.  These two littlest cousins got along amazingly well for being two-year olds.

Jessie cousin friends

Our oldest babies together.  Some how our middle children got missed, isn’t that what always happens?

Jessie oldest kids

We spent a few days at Granny’s while our cousins (Andrew & Libby)  and Aunt Karen from the West were visiting.  Our visit happened to overlap on my Mom’s birthday.  When I announced my plans to the kids that I was going into the sewing room to make Granny’s birthday present Henry followed me down to the sewing room with his own idea.  He asked me what Granny’s favorite color was and I said blue.  He gathered scraps of fabric, cut pieces out and told me his design – to make Granny’s house.  I serged edges and he sewed the roof, windows and the door on.  This was the first time he has sewn something on my machine.

Henry sewing for granny Henry sewing Granny's house

This is what I made for my Mom from one of my dyed projects.

dye ice on glue resist bag

 You never know what you will find on the farm.  Henry happened to wander into the corn field and found hundreds of little frogs hopping around.

       Mom's Henry's frogs hands 1

He took a handful back to the house to show Granny.

Mom's Henry's frogs hands

I had a blast this weekend.  Visiting with family, watching and playing soccer.  We have our own CrossFit coach in the family, so we did a WOD (I don’t have a photo of that).

Mom's soccer on the farm chopper box

The littlest goalies.

Mom's soccer on the farm little goalies Mom's soccer on the farm

We ended our time with cousins at Diamond Lake.

Mom's Diamond lake resting

Four days after leaving Granny’s I took the two big boys to Grandma Helen’s to spend four days with the Vater cousins in North Dakota.

I didn’t realize this month was full of extended family stuff until I put this post together.  What a great month!

May 2014

May 2014

No matter where her owie is the band-aid goes on her face.

Nola Mae Band aids

 

In 4th grade the kids put on a “manufacturing day”.  They manufacture items to sell to the rest of the elementary school.  Robbie recycled crayons into Lego shaped guys and into flowers and stars and made stuffed monster faces.

Manufacturing day Lot

 

Manufacturing day Monsters

Manufacturing day table

We planned a last-minute picnic lunch with our moms for Mother’s Day.

Mother's Day photo 1

My mom stayed for the whole day, so we went for a bike ride with my mom, Robbie, with Henry on the tag-along and Nola Mae in the Burley.

Mother's Day photo

Robbie’s class had a field trip to Madison.  We rode a hot steamy bus together for a total of 5 hours, I quilted for 4.5 of those hours while visiting with him and got a little cuddle time after a long day.

Madison bus w Robbie

 We toured the capital.

Madison Capitol

 

We went to the Wisconsin Historical Museum  – a beautiful place!   I was impressed by how much Robbie had learned in school before this trip.  When we toured the Capitol the kids already knew a lot about the history of our state and about what happens in the Capital.   I first realized this when we were at the museum, Robbie and I walked into a section about Aztalan.  As soon as he saw this area he said, “Oh!  Aztalan, I know all this!”   I pointed out that we need to appreciate this stuff and we needed to walk around and look at all the cool tools in person, not just in books!

While I was on the field trip, Jack stayed home with Henry and Nola Mae.   He took these photos:

Madison H & NM

 Jack finished planting 175 trees this month with Henry’s help.

Jack's day planting trees

 They worked on firewood and made a big pile in the woods.  Henry told me the pile took a lot of work because it is taller than him.

Jack's day firewood

Charlie & Nola Mae soccer

Piano Henry & Nola Mae

Robbie and I met Jack and the kids at piano lessons.  During Robbie’s lesson we walked around town.  I was there when Jack took this photo of Charlie.

Iola Charlie bench

When I was looking at photos from this day I knew this is one I wanted to include in my blog and save in my memory forever!  Because he is looking directly at me, giving me a look I don’t see very often: “love”.  He is the boy that seems to dislike me the most.   I wasn’t talking about candy, minecraft, ice cream, or legos.  We were just looking at each other.  I was thankful for Jack being there because I could hear him taking pictures of something during this look between me and Charlie and I was hoping it was of Charlie.

Iola Little Shivers

 

 We had a rummage sale during our town’s city-wide rummage.  It was a one day sale for us, with constant people coming from 7:30 am – 3:30 pm.  I thought it was worth it and very successful.  But there was still a lot of stuff left.   I was able to invite a few friends over to take one last peek.  Then I loaded it all up and took a full car load to St. Vinnie’s in Plover.

St Vinnie load 1

St Vinnie load 2

St Vinnie load 3

This small load went to friends who couldn’t come check out my stuff but had a “wish list”.

St Vinnie load Friends

We were talking about going on a bike trip and Nola Mae found all our bright-colored biking vest and put them on and told me she was ready.

bike Tomorrow river trail getting ready

 Jack took many pictures and even put together an awesome video from our bike trip on the Tomorrow River Bike trail from Amherst to Scandinavia.

bike Tomorrow river trail

 My mother-in-law would say, “there is some kind of learning going on here.”  These were very old and stale taco shells I found in the cupboard.  I had them on the counter and Nola Mae brought the stool to the counter, pulled out the potato masher and just started mashing them.  It kept her busy while I did my stuff and the mess wasn’t too bad.

Nola Mae potato smasher

 She asked for this “hair band aid”, honestly, it wasn’t my idea!

Nola Mae 1st ponie tail

 Henry and Nola Mae were in the yard getting blankets and books ready for reading in the shade.  Henry came into the house and asked me if he could take the camera outside to take a picture of Nola Mae being cute.  This is one of his photos.

Nola Mae

 My car was in the repair shop last week.  The day it was ready to come home Jack drove the truck to his friend’s house and got a ride the rest of the way to work.   Henry and I biked 10 miles to their house to pick up the truck.  If I was thinking ahead I would have put Nola Mae’s car seat in the truck, instead we had to pack it in the Burley.  Henry talked the entire way,  peddled hard up and down the hills, especially when a scary dog came after us.

Bike to Big Falls Gene's

 

Bike to Big Falls Picnic

 

 We couldn’t pass Big Falls without checking out the water and

Bike to Big Falls Water H

 getting our feet wet.

Bike to Big Falls Water NM

We had a little extra time before the boys got home from school to drive to the neighboring sawmill for some bark mulch – $40 for a truck load.  I think I could have gotten a better deal if I planned a head and went when the guy I know was working.

Wood chips

 Nola Mae and I took  a short trip to Milwaukee for my cousin’s baby shower.  I made her this ring sling this winter, dyed it with snow, Flamingo Pink and Sunflower Yellow (Dylon Dye).

snow dye ring sling pink & yellow snow dyed pink & yellow ring sling in action

Nola Mae and I had a wonderful visit with my Dad and Step-mom, Lynn.

Dad's swing

Dad's Marbles

 We went for a walk and Nola Mae found a dead bird.  Against my Dad’s suggestion she still picked it up and looked at it.

Dad's dead bird Nola Mae

Dad's yard pole Nola Mae2

Dad's yard pole Nola Mae

The boys will be done with school on June 12th.  I am pretty excited about the things we will do this summer.  I have plans for everyone to make a “wish list” of the goals they have, the things they want to do, and where they want to go.

 

April 2014

April 2014

April was a busy month for us and for my blog.   I posted six times this month, see all my posts here:  https://skiingmama.wordpress.com/2014/04/

Then the snow started to melt.   Henry has learned about spring-time at school (and at home of course).  He thinks spring should be here already:

spring hot blooded Henry

He told me today (April 30th), when I told him it was time to go outside, “I am not going outside when all that grey stuff is in the sky.  And that fog is yucky.  It has to be light out there and then I will want to go outside.”

 

This month we celebrated Henry’s 5th birthday:

 Birthday Henry 5

 

 My brother and nephew called to sing “Happy Birthday” to Henry.  He loved it.

Birthday call

The cake, this teenage mutant ninja turtle cake is pretty close to earning  my “ugly cakes” award.

Teenage Mutant Nija Turtle cake

 These things sure are the ugliest cupcakes I have ever decorated.  I was pretty embarrassed sending them to school with Henry.   And was reassured that four and five year olds don’t really care.   At the end of the day I found out there were extras and he delivered one to Charlie’s 1st grade teacher, Charlie’s current teacher, and one to Robbie’s teacher.  Now I am really embarrassed!   On a positive note this was the first cake decorating project I have done in the last two years where Nola Mae wasn’t crying or needed to be worn.

Teenage Mutant Nija Turtles cupcakes

 

Then the next day was Nola Mae’s 2nd birthday:

Nola Mae facing forward

 I turned her around to face forward in her car seat.  She wasn’t unhappy facing backwards,  now that she is two she is okay face forwards in her car seat.  Often I noticed her cranking her neck around so she could look out the front window.  Now she just tells me “go that way”.

We skied on snow:

When we were getting ready to go out to ski Nola Mae wanted to wear her baby.  So I wrapped them both.  I think this is one of my favorite baby wearing photos, minus my eyes being closed because the sun was so bright.

This was April 15th.

babywearing  double ski

 I had the best  ski with my friend, Mary, on April 17th at the ski hill.

April 18th was our last ski.

And we skied on grass to find the snow:

skiing on grass

Last ski babywearing

Can you see her feet in my shadow?

Last ski looking for snow

 This was the last piece of heaven for me this winter…four of my favorite boys on snow, laughing, getting exercise and

Last ski 1

 a fun little chunk of snow to ski back and forth on for a little while.

ski last ski

 The boys headed back to the chalet without me, like usual, and when I came in I found them doing this…

last ski boys waiting

All three boys had a friend’s birthday party to attend.   Two birthday parties landed on the same day, the same weekend Jack’s canoeing trip was scheduled for, and the same day I needed to work at the ski hill for our big spring trail run.  Grandma Hanna saved the day!   She played with the kids, transported them to the birthday parties, visited the library, and cleaned the messiest parts of my house.

Henry’s friend was given this ice dyed cape that I made.

iced dyed cape

ice dyed cape hood

Charlie’s friend got a store-bought gift, which I thought was kind of boring.  I don’t have many good ideas for a homemade gift after all of their friends get a pillow case.   And they are too old to have fun with capes.  When Charlie saw the gift I bought for his friend he asked “how come you didn’t buy two?”  I asked him, “Why, does it look like it is going to break right away?”  No, Charlie wanted one for himself.

Robbie and I made this  Minecraft TNT pillowcase together, which was perfect for that boy!  I walked into the party and saw Minecraft stuff everywhere.  That mom put on a pretty amazing Minecraft themed party like no body’s business!

pillow case TNT Landon

Side note:  I went to school on a Friday where there was a reading party kids can bring pillows and blankets to get comfy to read.  I saw one boy with a pillowcase I made a couple of years ago, so that was cool!

We were home for Easter:

I took the opportunity to dye eggs with the boys while Nola Mae napped.  She woke up at the tail end of things, she was happy to watch and hold an egg.

happy with one egg

 This was the first year we had enough of our own brown eggs to dye.  I saved them so they were “old” eggs like the store-bought eggs in order for them to peel nicely.  They peeled nicely and they were the most beautiful shades we have ever had.

Easter eggs

I spent a total of $27 on our Easter treats/gifts this year.  Each boy got a small gift with a small amount of candy in their basket.  Charlie learned how to make those rubber band bracelets using his two fingers from a girl on the bus.  This sweet girl has given him many handfuls of rubber bands.  So I decided he should get a couple of bags of his own.  Robbie and Henry were very excited about the cool colorful socks they got.

Charlie's rubber bands

 Nola Mae waiting by the window for the boys to come home:

Nola Mae blueberries

We had Charlie’s VIP (Very Important People) Day:

Each child is scheduled for  a VIP Week.  The child can fill out the “all about me” poster and include photos of them as a baby and other childhood photos,  and photos of their family and pets.

VIP poster

And then one or both parents come to class towards the end of one day for 30 minutes to talk about their work, hobbies and/or  interests.  I did a little demonstration on cake decorating with Robbie’s class when he was in 2nd grade, so Charlie wanted to do the same thing.  Extra bonus is that at the end of our time everyone got to decorate their own cupcake.

I talked about sewing with Charlie and my sewing.  I brought the shirt Charlie sewed when he was 5 years old and Charlie’s baby quilt to show them.  I had a few other quilts in my bag, if they seemed interested.

I  also told them about Jack’s interests in woodworking and brought a few of his wooden bowls that he has made.

turned bowls

Charlie’s teacher, Mr. Wester, knows how to facilitate the short time you have with the class so it is organized, purposeful in ways of giving the students opportunities to be respectful, thoughtful and polite while practicing communication skills.  Mr. Wester asked Charlie to introduce me and Nola Mae, he had everyone sitting on the carpet to focus on Charlie and our talk.  I am sure they are well-practiced since it is April already.  The questions the kids had for me and for Charlie were impressive.  My favorite question was from a boy.  He asked something to the effect “what was the most important subject in school for you to be good at sewing?”  Thankfully, I had the “right” answer…”Math”.  He slapped his leg and said, “WHY DOES EVERYONE SAY MATH!!!!?”  It was cute!  I was able to pull out my current quilt that I am working on and explained to them the math I  needed to do to figure out the spacing of many different colors.  It was a perfect “math” example!  I forgot to point out where I made some measuring mistakes.   I had so much fun!  I thanked Mr. Wester for taking the time to do this with all the families because it was so nice to come to the classroom.  I hope that all the other families that had their VIP Day felt as excited and as important as I did being Charlie’s mom.

Charlie's VIP

We took a hike on the boardwalk in town and did a little wrestling:

I am slowly adjusting to the fact that boys wrestle.  I never did that with my sisters or brother.  I became more open about wrestling when I saw home videos of my sister-in-law and her sisters wrestling.  Here Charlie is on top, which isn’t always the case.

 walk wrestling

 Often I wonder how the wrestling match started and why Charlie is the one that seems to get hurt.  And then I see a picture like this…Charlie doing something to Robbie.

walk teasing

Sewing time is supposed to be fun and peaceful.  The month started off great.  I was able to make a few things with ruffles (see my post “I Love Ruffles” ).

rainbow ruffle dress

And then my sewing time became unpredictable and limited.  Nola Mae hasn’t been napping well and seems to know when I sneak away to the sewing room.  I have wanted to take a picture of her on my sewing table for a long time.  This day I had the camera and was able to get this shot:

sewing table

Sometimes it is stressful when she is in the sewing room with me.  Because she wants to be on the table.  If I am sewing at the machine I sometimes let her sit there and she plays with the buttons and papers.  She learned on her own to leave the spool rack alone because once it tipped over and it scared her.

I had some time to make a few cute skirts.  I will post about that next, maybe.

 A very enjoyable sewing project for me was coming up with this valance for someone who found my blog when she was searching for Minecraft things for her son’s bedroom.  She was looking for a Minecraft Creeper valance.  This is the design I came up with, 5 ft long and 17 inches tall:

minecraft creeper valance

 And in the last week of this month I dyed these things.   The fabric squares are muslin, with a base color of light green – my first attempt was a total flop.  So over dyeing with Dylon Blue Jeans looks okay.  I expected better results.  While doing that dye project I slowly dipped this tank top in the dye bath, you can see a gradual change in the shades of blue, if you look closely.

dyed blue jeans shirbori fabric & dipped tank top

Baby wearing photos this month:

Just before our ski.

babywearing doll with flag

 Waiting for the boys to come home.

Nola Mae fake hair babywearing

 If anyone was wondering if it is possible to keep your baby wrapped on your back while flopping yourself on the floor, kicking and screaming.  Nola Mae’s answer is “Yes!”

babywearing flopping on the ground 1

 I am not sure what brought this on.  This is actually one of the first times she has done this.   That’s the reason for the photo.

babywearing flopping on the ground 2

Robbie helped Jack in the woodshop:

 woodshop Robbie

And so did Nola Mae.

   woodshop Nola Mae

I hate making cookies because I don’t like messing with the oven and cookies every 8-10 minutes, plus I eat a bunch of warm ones throughout the process.  The boys love cookies.  My latest and greatest idea is to make a triple batch of cookies and separate the batch into small logs (enough for 1 dozen cookies), wrap them in wax paper and freeze them.  These cookie dough logs are larger than I usually do because I didn’t have any wax paper.  I am not sure how well they will keep in the freezer with just plastic wrap, so we will have to use them up quickly.  I also left out enough for us to have two pans of cookies this time.

cookie dough

I am ending this month with a cold.  I had two very worthless days.  I am drinking lots of water, mullein tea and eating garlic and extra vitamin D.

Cold remedy

March 2014

 March 2014

March was a month full of many highs and many emotionally draining sad days.

Nola Mae’s Christmas gift from Uncle Eddie and Auntie Kay arrived this month.

Nola Mae's Kitchen

Nola Mae dressed herself like this one day.

Nola Mae clothes

My cousin Eric passed away this month after battling brain cancer for over six years.

Eric Hamm & family

This one is one of his daughter, Ashlee’s favorite pictures.

Eric Hamm

Eric was a great cousin to my brother, they were close in age and had made a lot of fun adventurous memories together – no mom would ever want to hear those stories.  Eric, his brother Travis and my brother, Steve, were mostly annoying little boys to me when I lived on the farm.  I do remember thinking those little Hamm boys were cute, sometimes.  Eric grew up to become a kind, loving, hardworking, generous man who was a loving husband and father.  He helped my Step-Dad farm, they had breakfast together almost every morning and was the best nephew and friend anyone could ever ask for.  Because we have two cousins named Eric in our family, he is called  “Grandpa Jerry’s Eric” who gives tractor rides by Henry.  Eric was wonderful with Henry and kept him in the combine with him for a very long time.

Eric Hamm & Henry combine

Here is a story that was played on Wausau Channel 7:  http://www.wsaw.com/home/headlines/We-Are-9-1-1—Fire-Fighters-251835861.html?device=phone#.Uy-6_COhLbt.facebook

Nola Mae had a bit of one on one time with her cousin Joey when we were home for Eric’s funeral.

cousin Joey

 There were many pairs of dress shoes in the entry way at my Mom’s house.   I asked Nola Mae to put her shoes away and she found this comfy spot in Ben’s shoes.

Shoes Ben & Nola Mae

 

 I was able to ski with two of my sisters in the same day this winter.  Becca is training for the Ironman race this fall, so we were required to skiing for at least 1.5 hours.  Kayla’s brilliant idea was to make Becca pull Nola Mae in the sled.  I felt like I was flying on my skis!

skiing sisters

 

 Getting ready for a ski. skiing sled

 

Nola Mae strap and ready for a nap in the sled.

skiing ready in sled

We skied backwards on the trails today for the Ski Backwards Party (annual spring party) . I was cruising and debating which way to go because the difficult uphill climbs are really awesome downhills during this springtime party. Just as I was bringing myself back to reality that I can’t ski ALL the trails today while pulling Nola Mae because she will wake up soon. She started screaming. I looked into the sled and saw her hands were out of her gloves and they were freezing! I sat in the snow bank next to the trail and put both of her hands in my stinky arm pits and nursed her until she was happy and her fingers were warm again. I have nursed all my kids on the ski trails at some point and can remember each time. Because it always involved screaming and a really good ski.

 

skiing milkies break

 When Henry saw our shadow he said it looked like a “two-headed monster.”

skiing 2 headed skiing monster

 

skiing shadows

We hit a beautiful spring day for skiing a couple times this month.  One that is memorable to me is a day that I was unable to convince Henry to take the blue and black trails with me.  He told me “you do the blue loop and I’ll do the green loop.”  There have been times this winter that he skied ahead of me, while I packed Nola Mae into the sled, so maybe a 7 minute head start.  Last year when he was almost 4 years old he left the chalet and headed out on the green trail without telling me.  I had many skiers looking for him for me and he was pretty far out there (for a kid that was almost 4) when someone found  him and directed him back to the chalet.  One day we skied together to the shelter taking our blue loop short cut.  With the promise that I would pull him up the big hill.

Here he is getting pulled down the hill to the shelter.

skiing spring

Once we arrived at the shelter I got him comfortable with snacks and did a small loop around the shelter area multiple times.

 skiing shelter snack time

 

 On another day, we went separate ways with the plan to meet at the shelter.  I skied as fast as I could up the biggest hill on the blue loop to meet him back at the shelter.  He told me he would play around on the hill by the shelter and that he would eat his snacks when he got tired.   It was nice to get outside for the fresh air, exercise, a nap for Nola Mae and Henry getting a boost of independence because he is a big boy!

 

My friend, Michelle, has been a good source of hand-me-downs to our family, was doing some cleaning.  She had this electric guitar that was a little broken and no being loved by her boys anymore.  She wondered if Jack could fix it and would we want it?  I thought, “what the heck”, maybe Jack would want it!  When Jack came home I was a little nervous about what he would say to me adding to his list of things to fix.  His eyes lit up and he told me he was actively looking for a used electric guitar on craig’s list.   Jack was able to fix it and it is being played often at our house.

Henry guitar

Robbie found this thin piece of ice outside and was very excited to show me and have me guess what shape it is.  Can you guess?

WI shaped ice

Before one of the snows we got this month a chicken came out of the barn and was walking around in the yard.  When I tried to “shoo” her back to the barn by the others she insisted on walking to the road, crossed it and there was no way I was going after her then.  I said my good byes and wrote her off as a dead chicken.   Especially when I woke up two days later to find snow on the ground.   Later in the day, Nola Mae was in the living room telling me that there was a chicken outside.  I didn’t believe her and told her that chicken is probably dead.  I looked out the window, she was right, there was a live chicken out there!

lost chicken

I got a piece of bread and caught her!

lost chicken catch

This photo was taken just before my most recent This Moment post titled “Trust”.  Henry helped Nola Mae climb the big snow bank and then she wanted to get down and he was going to help her.

helping

 

 Every chance Nola Mae gets she goes outside.  She often asks to go outside.  This is her first time going to the shop to see Papa all by herself.  I remember each boys’ first trip to the shop without help.  I may even have pictures of them doing it like this one.

Nola Mae heading to shop

 When there are still snow banks you can sled!

spring time sledding hill

 The boys had a blast during the last weekend of their spring break sledding down this snow bank into the muddy grass and muddy puddle.  I actually have great videos.

And when we go hiking in the field for one last sledding adventure sometime you have to pull the sled through the mud and grass.

spring time sledding

Babywearing:

 I had an awesome morning in the sewing room! Nola Mae was on my sewing table twice and the rest of the time she played nicely.  (I say that because she didn’t tip anything over or knock all my bobbins and spools of thread on the floor.)  Nola Mae found a long piece of cheetah fabric and wanted “wrap!” It was too short for us so I suggested she get her baby. She went upstairs by herself to get the baby and we wrapped the baby.

babywearing Nola Mae doll

One day Nola Mae wasn’t taking a nap.  I suggested she get wrapped on my back while we work in the sewing room.  She agreed and within minutes she was sleeping!

Ellevill Jack blue eyes   Ellevill Jack sleeping

 Dyeing projects:

I shared the start of this rainbow ice dye in last month’s post.

This is what I got!

A women’s XL shirt, newborn nightgown, 2T turtle neck, 5T cotton dress shirt, newborn onesise, a pre-fold diaper,

ice dye raibow project

Dylon Dye – 2 packs of tulip red, 1 pack of goldfish orange, sunflower yellow, dark green, ocean blue and intense violet.

A ring sling piece or material for a skirt, and

ice dye raibow ring sling

a piece of cotton quilting white on white fabric 54 X 54.

ice dye rainbow quilt fabric

An ice dye of china blue and ocean blue dyes for this ring sling piece.

 ice dye china blue & ocean blue ring sling fabric ice dye china blue & ocean blue ring sling

The shirt is how I envisioned the ring sling to turn out, with less splotches and less purple.   The cloth napkin sat in the dye that dripped into the bin.

ice dye china blue & ocean blue shirt & napkin

Sewing:

I had extra squares from my scrap quilt that I am making and made this trivet.

                  trivet square scraps

 Henry found this scrap piece and wanted me to make him a teenage mutant ninja turtle mask.

teenage mutant ninja turtle mask