My favorite things, 46 yeas old.

b-day-bike-1

My favorite things, 46 yeas old:

Chocolate

Caramel Cashew Custard from Kopp’s Frozen Custard

Beer

Coffee

Making applesauce

applesauce w H

Picking berries

raspberries

Cross Country Skiing

skiing family

 

Running

Biking

bike train

Tie Dyeingdye towels blue (2)

Fall and Winter

fall-leaves-nola-mae-henry

Watching my kids play sports (and playing with them).

charlie skateboard  Charlie & Nola Mae soccer

My favorite place, Iola Winter Sport Club

skiing Nola Mae & Henry 2014

 

A few people inspire and motivate me:

Inspiration vs. Motivation:  Jillian Micheals made me realized these are two different things.  I can be inspired by people and their activities but it is motivation that gets me outside exercising and being active.

I am motivated by my triplet sisters who are 18 years younger than me.  All three of them are active and do fun things.  I want to be able to keep up with them in their adventures and do fun things with them.  Wait, maybe not keep up at their speed, maybe just do fun things with them.

Frugal Sisters' Half Marathon 13 end

  • My sister, Kayla, is fit and a fast runner.

IMG_4842

  • My sister, Becca, is an Ironman (TWO TIMES!).

becca-ben-ironman

 

Most importantly, my kids motivate me.  I want to be thinner so I look awesome, but that isn’t what gets my butt going.  My motivator is my kids.   I want to be able to ski, run, bike, hike, play soccer, bowl, and play with them for many years.   I am one of those “older moms” and I am NOT getting any younger.  I will be 60 years old when my last child goes off to college.

Robbie is now a faster skier and runner than me.  I thought I would be  faster than him for a little longer.  Oh well, I think I could out last him in a long distance ski race or running race, right now.  But not for long.

kids-running-biking-1   kids-running-biking-2

 

To celebrate my 46th birthday I decided to do 46 miles. I wanted it to be a birthday triathlon, inspired by Becca’s Ironman.  I have this awesome road bike.

b-day-bike-2

b-day-bike-4-mile-15      b-day-bike-3

 Arrived at Sunset Lake for a swim.  It was so refreshing.

b-day-bike-5-mile-30  b-day-bike-5

 Final miles when I arrived home 48.5 miles in less than four hours.

I decided not to run because I got my 46 miles done and  I needed to have energy to finish the day as the mom of the house (making dinner, driving for cross-country practice and to Point for soccer practice).

I picked raspberries while I waited for the bus to drop off the kids and then had one of my favorite snacks, fresh raspberries with rice pudding.

b-day-snack

My adventures aren’t over with, in November I will participate in Rails to Trails Marathon with my whole family.  This winter I hope to ski more days than I did last year and possibly complete at least one ski marathon.

I would love to hear what motivates you.

What adventures do you have planned for the next year?

What birthday activity will you do for your next birthday?

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Nola Mae – 4 years old!

Happy Birthday, Nola Mae!

nola mae fall blog

 

Nola Mae is special to us for  many reasons…

She is named after my Grandma Nola.

Grandma Nola  Nola Mae

She is smart and a great problem solver.  (She didn’t have a bag along, so she stored her notebook in her hat.)

Nola Mae tablet in hat

She will be able to  say that she has skied every year of her life, as long as she doesn’t move away from our winter wonderland.

1st year on skis

Skiing Nola Mae

2nd year on skis

Ski Henry pulls Nola Mae

3rd year on skis (this was on her 3rd birthday)

Nola Mae skiing 2

4th year on skis

Ski Norseman Nola Mae

She is very flexible (she loves to eat snow while skiing).

ski nola Mae 1 yoga pose

I uploaded my video on youtube of Nola Mae going down a fairly steep hill:  https://youtu.be/m05E79MrrFY

She has three older brothers who adore her.

skiing family

She loves being outside.

sledding

 

sledding Nola Mae

 

snowboarding Nola Mae

She loves her babies.

baby doll Nola Mae kisses wrap scarf grass  babywearing nola mae

She loves to help others and do jobs.

cleaning with Bailey & Nola Mae

Because she has no sisters, she has a special friend who she adores and often plays “sisters” with.

  Nola Mae & Bailey

My favorite blog post I wrote about Nola Mae is “With No Mom”:  https://skiingmama.wordpress.com/2015/10/23/with-no-mom/

She hasn’t changed much in many of the areas of her personality since her last birthday post:

https://skiingmama.wordpress.com/2015/04/08/nola-mae-3-years-old/

Henry’s Birthday – 7 years old

 Henry’s birthday is tomorrow or today depending on when I finish this and post it.  I have struggled with my blog for a few months now.  I don’t make time to post or have anything pressing to blog about.  Well, I do, but I don’t make the time to do it.

So, I sit here with a blank screen and don’t know what to write.    I started rambling on and on and a couple of hours later, this is what I have to say.  (Edit:  one of my ramblings was starting Henry’s birth story.  Wow, I  don’t want to write about that now.  I will save that for another time!)

 

Henry skiing

What can I say about my sweet Henry?

Some days he is not so sweet.

Some days he is not so nice to Nola Mae and some days he is unbelievably the most awesome big brother any sister could ask for.

henry and Nola Mae in yellow weeds

Some days he can be rotten.

Some days he can be the most kind and loving little boy.

Henry

Some days he can have closed ears and is unwilling to do the jobs he is expected to do.

Henry w chickens

Some days he can be willing to help with every  job  on his list and extra.

Some days he is funny and cute.

A story from this past fall:

I sent an email to Henry’s teacher and his math teacher…”I wanted to share this story with the two of you.  I am not sure which teacher Henry was talking about when he was telling my mom (Granny) about why the teachers were at school and he wasn’t on the professional development day.

Granny and Henry were talking about why he had off school that day and he said the teachers still had to go.  Granny said it was probably one of those days where the teachers learn new things to help them be better teachers.  He told her his math teacher had to go to learn math because she didn’t know what 200 + 200 was.  Henry said, ‘She asked the class and I knew, it’s 400, but she didn’t know so she has to go learn math’.

One more story that will make you giggle:   Henry told me, ‘Mrs. Honken doesn’t have enough apples to make apple pie for the field trip next week, she needs one more apple! Can I pick the biggest apple off our Big Apple Tree?’   I can’t express how excited Henry is for the up coming field trip to your apple orchard (His teacher has a huge apple orchard!).  So excited that he doesn’t believe me that you probably have enough apples to make many apple pies!

Here is her response…”Oh Jenny, he’s so precious!!! His giant apple caused me to totally redo my writing lesson plans for the day…we are going to practice descriptive writing about the giant apple. It has to go in the hall (along with the picture you sent!!). Thanks.”

Henry biggest apple

Some days he can be thoughtful.

Recently, Henry was on a roll talking about nurses.  Henry’s facts about nurses:

“Nurses love kids.
People who love to make kids feel better go to school to be a nurse.
Nurses love to take care of kids that is why they want to be a nurse.
Nurses are kind to everyone.

I wish I was a grown up and could be a nurse, so I could take care of Granny.  Maybe even be the one to help her with her surgery, like her doctor.  I could be like Aunt Karen and take care of Granny.”

This week my cousin, Andrew, emailed me and mentioned in his email that Henry has a very high EQ (emotional intelligence quotient).  I appreciate his insight and kind words because when my patience is low from the wildness, the chaos of our life and the naughtiness.   I need to remember the kind, loving, respectful and wonderful boys we have.  And let the handsome eyes and beautiful smiles melt my heart.

Henry smiles

My sweet Henry has given me lots of stories to write about.  In all his sweetness he isn’t giving me many heart attacks anymore.  One of my favorites:

Heart-Attack-Henry – https://skiingmama.wordpress.com/2011/07/26/heart-attack-henry/

Okay,  I have more than one:  https://skiingmama.wordpress.com/2013/08/28/my-empty-nest/

If you want to check out Henry’s past birthday blog posts:

https://skiingmama.wordpress.com/2014/04/07/henrys-favorites-age-5/

https://skiingmama.wordpress.com/2015/04/07/henry-6-years-old/

Spring is here!

Spring is here!

We celebrated two birthdays last week.

Henry birthday cake 6 birthday cake Nola Mae

dyed birthday shirts

Nola Mae loved her Peppa Pig.

peppa pig love

First paddle of the year, Lake Iola, on a very windy day, April 12th.

first paddle 2015

My paddle with three kids in the canoe didn’t last very long.

We paddled into the windy part of the lake and got blown to the shoreline.  My strategy of paddling in this wind was:  paddle really hard for as long as you can, get blown to a shoreline, aim the canoe to where you want to go, paddle really hard for as long as you can, get blown to a shoreline, aim the canoe to where you want to go.  Repeat until you get back to where you started!  Charlie and I aren’t ready to paddle to a campsite in the Turtle Flambeau Flowage this year.

Our first hike on the River Walk Trail in town.

spring first river walk

Snake Watching:

(There are NO snake pictures on this post!)

We have seen the first snakes of the year. One the other day by the garden woodpile and today by the deck. I try my hardest to not show fear and disgust when seeing snakes.  I have accepted the fact that we have to live on the same planet as each other and I still dislike them very much!   I must be doing well at this because Nola Mae has no fear of them. She is curious and knows to give them space. Today the sun is shining, it is warm outside with a slight breeze and the deck is a nice place to snake watch. snake watching 1

snake watching 2

I was amazed how long this kept Nola Mae occupied.

snake watching 3

Henry's letter

This doesn’t have much to do with springtime, just a cute photo I took of Nola Mae, who fell asleep in my room waiting for me.

Nola Mae – 3 years old!

Nola Mae black hat

Happy Birthday! Nola Mae – 3 years old!

I dyed this shirt for Nola Mae’s birthday. I found this shirt at a thrift store early this month and thought that it needed a little more rainbow to it. Nola Mae Birthday   Nola Mae wasn’t interested in getting interviewed, this is how our conversation went before I gave up:

Me:  I want to know what some of your favorite things are, like your favorite movie?

Silence!

Me:  Is it Peppa Pig?

Nola Mae:  NO, me not watch it. You take it back to the library.

Me:  How about your favorite color?

Nola Mae: Me not telling you.

Me:  How about your favorite snack?  What do you like to eat when you are hungry?

Nola Mae:  Me not telling you.

Me:  Where do you like to go?

Nola Mae:  ME NOT TELLING YOU!

Silence.

Nola Mae: Me want to go to that restaurant. Me want to go a playground. Me want to go to school. WAIT, NOT school, a playground!

Me:  What do you like to play outside?

Nola Mae:  Don’t know, something else.

Silence.

Nola Mae: What do you want to play?

Me: I want to play, “You tell me what you like.”

Me: So Henry, what do you think Nola Mae’s favorite food is?

Henry: I don’t know.

Nola Mae: CANDY! Nola Mae Ellevill wrap Me:  Henry, what do you think Nola Mae’s favorite game is?

Henry: Maybe hide-and-seek?

Nola Mae: YEP!

Me:  Henry, What do you think Nola Mae’s favorite color is?

Henry: Nola Mae, is your favorite color blue?

Nola Mae: NO, blue AND purple! AND RED!

Me:  Henry, what do you think Nola Mae likes to do outside?

Henry: What do you like to do outside, sledding?

Nola Mae: Yes.

Nola Mae:  Playing games. Sledding.  Games. Nola Mae's sled I have given up on her favorites, she loves to talk about what she wants to talk about.  And if I word my questions or statements differently I could get more answers from her.

I want to remember our 2-year-old Nola Mae…

Nola Mae called Henry “Henny” until two days before her birthday.  Now she is saying “Henree”.  Sometimes she would think I was calling her Henny when I would say Honey to her.  In my sleep deprived/fried brain sometimes I think I did call her Henny and she wasn’t very happy with me about that.

Henry and Nola Mae

Nola Mae isn’t keen on nicknames and is very vocal about that now that she knows they are out there.  The first time someone referred to her as a little peanut is when she learned this.  Later she asked me “what a peanut?”  After I explained to her what people sometimes say, she told me in a very clear and loud voice “ME NOT A PEANUT!”

Nola Mae is friendly and very talkative to everyone.  Every day at the ski hill we would see people getting ready to ski and she would want to know their name and sometimes tell them something about what happened that day.  I appreciated all the grown-ups who gave her a few minutes of their time.   And it was fun to see them again and they would talk to her (not me) and make sure she remembered their name from the last time.

Nola Mae has a friend, Lily.  She talks about her almost every day.  Lily is an imaginary friend.  Lily has been at Nola Mae’s school, rides Nola Mae’s bus, is nice and sometimes mean to Nola Mae.  Sometimes Lily is sick.  Sometimes Lily helps Nola Mae.  One day I was sick and accidentally fell asleep, while I was sleeping Lily came over to play.  I think Lily is avoiding me.  Recently, Nola Mae told us that Lily died.  I wasn’t sure if Lily dyed or died, since both words are talked about in our house.  I haven’t noticed much talk of Lily, lately.  So maybe she did die.

Nola Mae was an awesome skier this winter.  She loved the downhills and groomed trails.  At the end of the winter she was flying down the hills in the tracks all by herself.  After a nose-dive into the snow she wasn’t afraid to do it again!

Nola Mae skiing 1

Nola Mae skiing 2

The things I know Nola Mae loves…

  • to paint. “Painting with Pappa!”
  • to cross-country ski.
  • to play our memory game and her version of Blokus and Spot It.
  • to read books with someone and by herself.
  • candy but not enough to motivate her to use the potty.
  • to play outside.
  • to follow her brothers anywhere.
  • to push the kid sized shopping cart around the grocery store.
  • to help with any project.
  • to show any guest to our house her jumping on the bed tricks.

Nola  Mae Painting 2 I know she loves Peppa Pig, so I made this stuffed Peppa Pig out of fleece. peppa pig 1   Click here to read last year’s birthday post for Nola Mae.  

Henry – 6 years old!

  Happy Birthday!

Henry – 6 years old!

I dyed this shirt for Henry to wear on his birthday, unfortunately he is sick today and can’t wear it to school:

 Henry's rainbow shirt(Henry asked that I wash it tonight so he can wear it again tomorrow)

He picked brownies for his birthday treat to take to school.

We have been on spring break, Friday – Monday.  I made a big deal yesterday with Henry about his last day of being five years old.   There is something special to me about being five. You are only five once!  When you are five you are cute, innocent, funny, happy, full of energy, a philosopher, smart, polite, kind, honest and caring.  Henry has been all these things and more!

Henry smile

 

I learned at Henry’s parent teacher conference, that Henry does get grumpy, Mrs. Fechter share this with me:

Henry grumpy

 

When I interviewed him on his last day of being five years old he told me these things:

Favorite color:  Blue.

Favorite animal – Baby cub lion.

Favorite food – Fried chicken.

Favorite fruit – Pear.

Henry's missing teeth

Favorite restaurant – Hibachi Grill.

Favorite thing about school – Gym.

Henry skiing

Favorite movie:  Batman.

Favorite job:  NO JOB!

Favorite thing to do at home – Ride my bike outside and play on the tablet.

sledding Henry air

Friends at school – Alex H, Micheala, Sophie, Landan, Addy, Michael, Emmett, Lewis, Gwen & Jocelyn.

Favorite holiday:  Christmas and Halloween, cause there is candy.

Henry's kite

I asked him, “What do you want to do when you are six years old?

  1. “Just eat, so I can grow even more!” and
  2. “Play outside!”

cards Henry smile

 

Click here to see Henry’s favorites from last year.

 

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!

Happy Birthday, Charlie! Age 9

Happy Birthday, Charlie!

charlie golf cart

Charlie wanted to decorate his cake.   It is a little hard for me to let this go since I love to decorate cakes.

charlie bday cake

I hope he had a fun birthday weekend.  We invited Granny to come spend the day with us.  I made his favorite meal for dinner.  And he didn’t have to do any firewood until the day after his birthday.

I thought the best gift was an awesome flash light – inspired by Grandpa Bob’s collection of flash lights.

 

 

charlie bday cake 9 yr

Charlie told me today that his best birthday gift was the Legos and the pillow.

Our Last: 4-year-old Henry

Our Last:   4-year-old Henry

Today is Henry’s last day being four years old.  He is the funniest and cutest four-year old I know.  I love four-year olds!

Family photo shoot Henry 2013

Have you ever read the series of books by Louise Bates Ames, PH.D., & Frances LIlg, M.D., from Gesell Institute of Human Development?  I own the set of ten books (Your One-Year-Old to Your Ten-to Fourteen-Year-Old) and recommend them to every parent.  There is always a “rough” or “frustrating” time with every age of child.  These books have helped me to understand my child at the age they are, helped me to appreciate all the things I love about them, helped with ideas of how to handle situations and reminded me that this “rough” time will be over soon.

In the book Your Four-Year-Old  Wild and Wonderful one paragraph in the book says this:

“For the most part, we have found the boy or girl of this age to be joyous, exuberant, energetic, ridiculous, untrammeled-ready for anything.  What a change he offers as compared to his more difficult, demanding, Three-and-a-half-year-old, just-earlier self!  If at times he seems somewhat voluble, boastful, and bossy, it is because it is so exciting for him to enter the fresh field of self-expression that open up at this wonderful age.”

henry kick ball

Another one of my favorite paragraphs:

“The child of Four loves language.  He loves to talk, to rhyme, to whisper, to sing.  Or even to shout.  He is his own self-appointed commentator and often his own audience.  He loves words, likes to try them out, likes to play with them.  He likes new and different words.”

There are many things in this book that apply and don’t apply to Henry because every Four-year-old is different.  The authors do a fabulous job describing many characteristics and behaviors you would find in any four-year-old child. 

Now, let’s talk about my sweet four-year-old Henry, so I never forget what a fun four-year-old he was.

 

Henry is a great helper! 

Jobs Henry's coffee

 Henry can put away the silverware from the dishwasher, set the table, sweep, mop, fold and put away his own clothes, feed the dogs, collect chicken eggs, vacuum, get the mail, bring in firewood, load the washer, make a bed, make his own toast/bagel, flip a pancake, follow directions while baking/cooking with me, reach in any of the high places where I hide our candy treats, get himself dressed, answer the phone better than some kids twice his age, play independently for long periods of time, and do many jobs in the garden with me.

We were getting ready to make a smoothie.  He disappeared and came back with hearing protection.

Henry hearing protection blender  Henry hearing protection

And always ready to help as batman with rotten teeth.

Henry batman rotten teeth

 

This day he started helping me get the boys’ after school snack ready, before I was ready, by cutting the strawberries.

Henry & fruit

Often I will say, “I’m going to change Nola Mae’s diaper, then I will be ready to go outside to feed the dogs.”  A minute later, I hear Henry leave the house.  When I look outside he is feeding the dogs!

One day, Nola Mae was carrying around a glass (with water in it) a glass that Jack uses for his “Papa drink” (bourbon and coke) and said, “Nola Mae, you can’t drink that it has coffinee in it!”

Another day:

Me:  Java’s back from our walk.  (Because she wondered off and didn’t come home with us).

Henry: I’ll go put her away.

Me:  No, I’ll do it.

Henry:  I have shoes on, you stay in!

 

I am always entertained and impressed with the things that he tells me or the things that he does.

Henry has taken a small amount of piano lessons (5-10 minutes, once a week) for about 6 months and had his first recital in December 2013, although his song was not recognizable he still amazed me by going on the stage to perform and is very excited about practicing his piano, almost every day!

Piano Henry & Robbie

Last summer we had not one single bluebird nesting on our property, usually we have at least six out of ten bluebird houses full.  While we were out for a run, Henry and I saw a bluebird.  Henry said, “Maybe I could sneak up on her and whisper ‘come live at our house!'”

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Often he draws pictures of me with one of my babies in my belly and goes on to tell me what order they all came out explaining, “Robbie is the biggest, Charlie is bigger and I am bigger than Nola Mae.”

   henry drawing w baby in belly

 henry drawing of mama

Henry copied Robbie’s melted crayon artwork by taping his crayons to the paper after he made the marks, very clever!

Melted crayons art

 

 

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“Chocolate Treating”  instead of “Trick-or-Treating”

I love the way his mind works.

We rent our field to a neighbor who bales large bales wrapped in white plastic.  First thing Henry said one morning, “Yep, Mr. Ernst put marshmallows in the field last night.  BIG MARSHMALLOWS!”

hay marshmallows

One time he came to me…

Henry:  Does my face look sad?

Me:  Yes.

Henry: I can’t get the sadness off.  (Rubbing his eyes)  Now do I look happy?

Me:  Yes.

Henry:  I can’t make it happier.

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One of the many times I found evidence that someone was snacking on a sugary treat, I found a chocolate chip bag in the garbage.

Me:  What is this?  What about eating healthy stuff?

Henry:  I don’t have room in my tummy for stuff!  Like oranges, apples and pears.  Just yummy stuff!”

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“I love my blanket because it catches my blueberries and doesn’t make foot prints.”

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“I wish we had a more better potty.  Like a potty dryer next to Papa’s bathroom drawer.  So it sucks up the potties.”

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When we are in the car he talks non-stop and many times I wish I had the video camera mounted on the dash.  I just might do that one of these days.

One day he told me while we were driving he noticed a car going faster than us.  And said, “they better slow down because they may get policed for driving too fast!”

Another time in the car we had this conversation…

Henry:  There is a stinky girl on the bus.

Me: Is she a pretty stinky or a yucky stinky? (holding my breath because I was afraid he told her this fact, that she is stinky)

Henry:  A pretty stinky.  When mamas go dancing with papas, they smell stinky like that.

 Side note:  I don’t wear perfume and sadly, Jack and I don’t go dancing.

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This winter when it was too cold for the dogs to be outside in the kennel they stayed in the mudroom.  Henry went in there and told the dogs, “No eating Nola Mae because she is my sister.  NO HURTING HER!”

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“It is a good thing I have boogers, so I don’t smell anything when you toot.”

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Henry’s teacher told me that during “share time” the question was “what did you do this weekend?” Some kids said stuff like “went swimming”, “played outside”, “went to my grandma’s”, Henry said, “I peed on the couch.”

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About our wedding photo…  Henry:  Why do you have a big one and a little picture like this?  Me:  Because it is my favorite.  Henry:   It’s my favorite too because papa looks different.

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I have saved funny Henry stories forever (in emails and on scraps of paper)  and now seems like the time to put them all in one place…

Henry was playing outside, came running into the house to ask if he could go to Marlene’s because “I know she is home. I hear her in her yard.”   I said yes and reminded him to ask her if she has time to visit when he gets there.  A few minutes later he came back because Marlene wasn’t home.   I asked, “What did you hear then?”   His response, “I think it was just my echo.  I even knocked on two doors.  Or maybe she was sleeping.”

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A few weeks after Nola Mae was born…

Henry:  Do all babies have blood on thems head?

Me:  After they are born, yes.

Henry:  Why was Papa holding my shoulders , so I don’t fall in?

Me: Fall in what?

Henry:  In the bucket.  He was holding me close to him so I didn’t fall in!

Side note:  Henry was in the room when Nola Mae was born.  He retold the story to Korina and Christie (two of our three midwives) and me a couple of hours later.  I wish I had that conversation recorded or written down.  His recount of the birth was amazing for a 3-year-old.  I only remember bits and pieces.  And one of my memories is that the bucket was a key object in the birth.  He told us that Christie didn’t let the baby fall in the bucket, but he thought the baby was going to fall in the bucket.  I have this picture from our birth photographer, Brianna.  This is as close to “holding me close” that I could find in our photos. 

Nola Mae's birth blog

B Pure Photography

 

 Henry retold the story of Nola Mae’s birth to Robbie and Charlie when they woke up to meet our new baby.  Another moment, where he was so darn cute and said some cute things that I will never remember.

Nola Mae's birth boys blog

B Pure Photography

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“Oh Mom!  Nola Mae is done nukking. Her mouth is off a nuker. Now put her in your room!”

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“Nola Mae woke up from a nap crying…Henry:  Nuk her!  Or I will nuk all the milk!”

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3-year-old-Henry was getting tired and crabby while shopping today and asked to “Nuk here!” and went to a bench to sit down. I explained that we could nuk at home because we are almost done. Surprisingly, in his frustrated and tired emotions he said to me “for privacy?” I am sad to say “yes.”  I didn’t have the courage/energy today to do it in public today.

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“You should put some hair on Nola Mae.”

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Nola Mae was chewing on the end of my braid…Henry:  Oh NO! She is eating your tail!

 

Henry’s first “selfie” that he took.

Henry first selfie

 

Please feel free to share any funny stories about Henry in the comments.

I am looking forward to falling in love with our 5-year-old-Henry.

 

Books:

Your Four-Year-Old: Wild and Wonderful http://www.amazon.com/Your-Four-Year-Old-Louise-Bates-Ames/dp/0440506751/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1396734050&sr=1-1&keywords=louise+bates+ames+four+year+old

Your Five-Year-Old: Sunny and Serenehttp://www.amazon.com/Your-Five-Year-Old-Louise-Bates-Ames/dp/0440506735/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1396733952&sr=1-1&keywords=louise+bates+ames+five+year+old