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

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December 2013 – Month 12

 December 2013 – Month 12

I forgot to add this one photo from our Thanksgiving meal at my mom’s.  I have no idea what Henry is so excited about, it was very difficult for Jack to get all the boys looking at the same time.  We are missing the two oldest grandsons in this photo.

Thanksgiving 2013

A couple of us got sick in early December.  Charlie came home sick from school one day and the next day he wasn’t 100%, so he stayed home, slept in, made four snowmen in our yard and shoveled the steps for me.

Sick Charlie day after snowman

When Nola Mae was sick she walked into the boys’ room, laid down and fell asleep for a couple of hours.  When Robbie and Henry came home from school they saw her like this and knew this was a very unusual sleeping spot for Nola Mae.

Sick Nola Mae

She was back to her old self again the next day, coloring on her legs with markers and getting into everything.

Nola Mae cooking

 I went back to my mom’s for our cousin’s cancer benefit.  All of my siblings were there.  Kayla and Becca worked on Christmas candies.

Candy making cremes Candy making Becca  Candy making snowflake oreos

My oldest nephew, Devin, came along and Nola Mae warmed up to him very quickly.  He has always been wonderful with little kids, since most of his childhood, Emily had an in-home daycare.

Devin & Nola Mae

 Nola Mae missed Henry.  My mom has an answering machine message saved on her machine from Henry.  Nola Mae listened to it often.

Nola Mae phone

I am in search of the recipe for this Chocolate Peanut Butter cookie.  Anyone know this recipe?

Cookie Chocolate Peanut butter

Santa came to Henry’s school for the parent outreach activity.  He told Santa he wanted a robot.

Santa w Henry

We traveled to my Mom’s for Christmas.  We also celebrated my triplet sisters’ birthday.  All three are intelligent, kind, loving, hardworking and beautiful inside and outside!

Siblings Danna  siblings Kayla  Siblings Becca

I decorated this rainbow cake for them.

Cake rainbow Sisters

I built a fort for the little ones to play in.

Fort at Granny's

We introduced my nephew to skiing.  He was a natural!

Kale skiing

Robbie loves Grandma Hanna’s raspberry jello. Granny made it for our Christmas dinner and Robbie got to clean the bowl.

Jello Robbie

For the last few years my siblings haven’t exchanged Christmas gifts.  This year I suggested we do an ornament exchange.  They could be homemade or bought and we needed 7 ornaments (one for each sibling, mom and self).  All my siblings participated and made their ornaments for the exchange.  I think they all had fun and I hope that we can do it again next year.

Ornaments Sibling exchange 2013

A long and late drive home.

Sleeping in the car Henry

cuddling

Our Christmas Day family photo.  (Notice the size of the tree behind Jack.)

      Family photo outside Dec 13

I was looking for photos of Java and found this family photo, taken in early January 2004.  We are standing where our wooden fence is now.  Same tree behind Jack.

Family photo outside Jan 04

Nola Mae has her own cape.

cape Nola Mae

All of our kids got a wooden vehicle for their 2nd Christmas from Papa.

   hovercraft

 Jack’s homemade Quarto game.

          Quarto Homemade

I was in the kitchen cleaning and noticed it was quiet.  I grabbed the camera and found all these kids playing nicely and quietly.

Quiet children 1

 

Quiet Children 2

 

Quiet Children 3

 

Quiet Children 4

 Santa found this brand new snowboard for Henry at St. Vinnie’s.

snowboard Henry

The older boys got a bigger snowboard to share from Santa.

snowboard Robbie & Charlie

The boys were outside playing and I was upstairs at the computer and heard this conversation:

Charlie:  Do you think Santa really watches us?
Robbie:  Yes!
Charlie: He knew our snow board broke.  He knew we loved it.  And then he gave us a new one.
Robbie:  I know.
Charlie: Yeah, he is totally real!

Our family went skiing the day after Christmas.

skiing

My dog, Java, who was almost 12 years old started looking pretty old this past year.  She died on January 30th.   I posted a “This Moment” post with a photo of our first two dogs who are both gone now.

java puppy

This is Robbie when he was a baby.

Java w Jenny RW

It will be a long time until I have another dog that I will love as much as I loved those two dogs.

On a happier note, the rest of my December…

A cold morning at breakfast.

Cold at breakfast

My sewing projects this month:

Upcylcled elephants for a friend that is having a baby this winter, made from table cloths from her wedding.  I am planning on making her a ring sling from one of those table cloths.

table cloth elephants

I made these two child size Mei Tai for a friend.

Mei Tai butterflies Henry  Mei Tai Nola Mae

I made these two sweater owls for my youngest nephews for Christmas, upcylced from wool sweaters.

 Owl Kale  Owl Brooks

I also made one for each of our kids.

Owls sweaters w kids

One of the best gifts anyone can give me is time in my sewing room.  Jack and the kids stayed busy upstairs, eventually Nola Mae found her way down to the sewing room and sat nicely on my lap while I sewed the binding on the denim Rail Fence quilt that I made for Jack many years ago.

Quilt denim binding

Quilt denim Jack's

I label all my quilts and when this quilt was close to being finished I anticipated finishing it in 2005.  In case you don’t remember in 2002 we had no kids, just two dogs.  Robbie came in 2003 and in the summer of 2005 we moved to the garage, gutted our old farm-house for remodeling, lived in the garage and Charlie was born two months before the house was finished.  This quilt got worked on off and on over the years.  My mom inspired me to finish this one.  She has made some very beautiful quilts over the last few years and I felt like I needed to finish this one before starting any big projects.

Quilt denim  label Jack's

September 2012 – Month 9

September 2012 – Month 9

Robbie found this cool stick (he is always finding cool sticks to swing around) at Iola Winter Sports Club on the day we were doing some trail clean up after a big storm.  It made him think of deer antlers.

robbie cool stick IWSC

Charlie made this wooden car in the workshop with Papa.

Nola Mae w Charlie's wooden car

I scored this Nordic Ware bundt pan at a rummage sale for $1.  We needed a reason to try it out, Susie’s birthday cake!

cake castle susie

And the boys decorated it.

cake castle susie decorated

Nola Mae has decided that she can go down the stairs forward.

Nola Mae stairs

She often gets comfortable in the upside down stool.  I wonder how long this will last.

stool nola mae

Something gross…someone opened a gogurt in my sewing room and it squirted on the wall.  I didn’t notice it until the yogurt was dried up and Nola Mae was scrapping it off and eating it.

yogurt on wall Nola Mae

The weekend of my birthday we met some of our family for a picnic, playing on the rocks and hiking at Eau Claire Dells.

Eau Claire Dells Boys log 2013

Eau Claire Dells Boys 2013

My beautiful sister, Becca.

Eau Claire Dells Becca  2013

We were here five years ago.  We took this photo inside this tree trunk (Henry was in my belly and Charlie and Henry were so little and so cute). 

Eau Claire Dells tree trunk 2008

 This year we did the same pose, notice the difference in the tree trunk.

Eau Claire Dells Family 2013

On my birthday (because I wanted to sleep in) I took the boys to school.  When I came home I notice one of the power lines in front of our house was down.   Thankfully it was a wire that was not “live”.  I called the electric company to tell them and secretly hoped my favorite linemen would show up.  I have a couple of favorites because I use to work there many years ago.  Did they know it was my birthday?  My two favorite guys showed up!

linemen Dick

linemen Alie

I went to my 25th class reunion and made the cake for the dinner.

cake 25th class reunion

My mom and Helen helped take care of the kids while Jack and I went to dinner and stayed late for visiting.  Robbie and Charlie slept over at Helen’s house.  We left Nola Mae and Henry at my mom’s at 4:30 and came home at 12:30.  This was the longest amount of time I have ever been away from Nola Mae.  She woke up looking for me just as we were coming down the road.

 We went to our favorite park, Keller Lake, as usual we had the park to ourselves!

keller lake Robbie

keller lake Charlie

keller lake Nola Mae slide

keller lake Nola Mae climbing

keller lake four kids

My Favorite pictures from this month:

Charlie & Nola Mae sad girl

Henry serious face

Mystique

Nola Mae Watermelon

Nola Mae

From my garden:

I didn’t get to braiding my garlic this year before it really dried out.  So the stems got chopped and I put a notice on Facebook that I had garlic for sale and 11.5 pounds sold within six hours.  Thank you to all my friends, enjoy!

garlic 2013

September 7th I picked my first batch of tomatoes, two of these boxes came from Susie’s garden.  I have already canned 21 quarts of tomato paste and have a gallon bag of dried tomatoes.

tomatoes first picking 2013

By September 12th my raspberries were ripening like crazy and still going strong at the end of the month.   I have about two gallon sized bags in the freezer, so far.

garden raspberries 2013

The mullein has gone crazy in my garden where the garlic was this year.  I am thinking I will be planting the garlic for next year around these plants because there is no way I am tilling them up!

garden mullein 2013

On September 20th we picked all our Honey Crisp apples.  I wanted them to stay on the trees a little longer but with every windy day many would fall off the tree.  Our other tree is still loaded and I will be  picking those later in October to make applesauce.

apples Honey Crisp 2013

Sunflowers

garden sunflowers

garden sunflower autumn mix

We have seen this little frog on the house, on our window and on the door at night.  I found him in my Autumn Joy Sedum during the day.

Garden sedum frog

We have let the chickens roam the yard this fall, Henry took this photo.

chicken barred rock

Climbing the rocks in my flower garden.

garden rocks Henry and Nola Mae

Charlie is a great big brother and very helpful, he loves to wear Nola Mae.

wrap DIY Charlie & Nola Mae

I got out my baby wearing vest for one of our hikes.  It was chilly but not chilly enough for me.  It was perfect for keeping Nola Mae warm.

wrap Mei Tai w vest sept walk

My friend Sara and I with our matching Zara Velvet wraps.

wrap two Zara Velvets w Sara

I washed my light rainbow wrap, it looked so pretty on the line I had to take a photo.

wrap light rainbow diamond weave clothes line

August 2012 – Month 8

August 2012 – Month 8

August started out awesome with a Tom Pease concert in Iola!  And spending our wedding anniversary with family at my cousin, Annie’s wedding.   This was our 16th  anniversary.

Wedding thumbs up

We had a little entertainment with our napkins while waiting for the dinner to start.

napkin Robbie

napkin charlie

napkin Henry

napkin Nola Mae

The broccoli, green beans and lettuce are ready for eating.

broccoli bean & lettuce

The cherry and grape tomatoes are just starting.  I needed to do a little lesson on colors and ripeness with my helper.

tomatoes Henry

We took photos in all my favorite spots in the yard for my post announcing my new name for my blog.  This is one that didn’t make the cut.

four kids on rocks

The Waupaca Foundry sponsored an artist who does metal moldings for a community art project that will be put up after South Park’s remodeling.  The two big artists in our family designed our family square.

family plate

We visited friends who have a lot of humming birds.  I mean a lot!  At one time there were 10-20 birds around these feeders at one time.  How many can you count?

humming birds

I took this picture coming into the barn one day.  I like how clear the reflection of the house is on Jack’s new door.

Red door

One night we hiked in the field to see how close we could get to the coyote that has been hunting in our field.

boy searching

Jack took this photo from the top of our hill.

farm from hill

I have recently learned how to hula hoop.  Never in my life could I do it, until now with these homemade ones.  I have been dreaming of making them for years when I first saw them at the Iola Fitness and Aquatic Center.  These were a upcycling project because we used these pipes to get water to our trees that were far from the house.  I only had to pay $0.17 for the connector.  Jack was cleaning them up and going to throw all the pipes away.   Hula hooping  is a good workout!  Have you hula hooped lately?

hula hoops

I had enough to decorate and give some to my nephew for his birthday.  One for him, each of his parents and his aunt that also has a birthday in August.

hula hoops taped

I guess Nola Mae was thirsty.  In the process she spilled milk inside my fridge and got stuck.  I didn’t realize how filthy it was until the spilled milk, thanks Nola Mae!

Nola Mae in fridge

Nola Mae got her first taste of the beaters.

Nola Mae beaters

I love that Charlie likes to decorate cakes.  Takes all the pressure off me.  He wanted a Minecraft golden apple.  So easy!

Charlie's cake Golden apple

For Charlie’s birthday I asked him many questions about his favorite things and blogged about it here.

Charlie's b-day cake

Nola Mae at 16 months old:

Nola Mae cutie

Nola Mae GPS

nola mae in purple

wrap DIY coral woven Nola Mae

Many people have commented how adorable Nola Mae is when she gets comfortable or sleepy when she puts her hands behind her head.  I started taken photos to really see how often she does it.  I won’t bore you or use up all my space on this blog with her in the exact same pose.   She is adorable.

Nola Mae Sleeping 1

Nola Mae sleeping 2

In the month of August I finally finished my post about my homemade soaps.

soap March flakes

Baby wearing:

Or not.  I went for a run one night and Jack took Nola Mae out to the wood shop.   He should really learn to put her in the Ergo by himself to be able to get things done.

babywearing not

I had some creative thoughts about a new Stash Shot of all my baby carriers and the best one was putting them on the clothes line.

wraps stash shot on clothes line folded

Nola Mae trying to wrap herself.

wrap Zara velvet Nola Mae (2)

wrap Zara velvet Nola Mae

My favorite wrap right now, a DIY woven wrap.  It cost me $2 at a rummage sale.  I found a box of fabrics and bought three pieces for $6 – this woven fabric, a wool piece for my neighbor and a dark blue woven piece that seems too stiff for baby wearing.

wrap DIY coral woven Nola Mae and Mama

I am stealing Jack’s phrase for this photo, “Beat in the front.  Beets in the back.”

beat and beets

I saw this dog carrier at a local arts festival.  I never knew they had actual carriers for pets, Outward Hounddog is the brand.

wrap dog wearer

Sewing projects:

A skiing friend ordered this one for a friend

ring sling Ann

and this one for a co-worker.

This is a darker turquoise color in real life.  It is so beautiful I wish I would have seen this color when I was picking out fabric for my ring sling.

ring sling turquosie 1

I feel very blessed to have friends wanting to share the love of baby wearing and for all my amazing friends supporting my little side jobs that give me a little spending money.

One of my first ring sling sales has come back for a second one for her cousin.

ring sling turquosie 2

This ring sling doesn’t have a home yet.ring sling flower print

Neither does this one. 

ring sling narrow stripes

This one is more narrow than the ones I have made.  The shoulder is a gathered shoulder, instead of pleats.  It would be great for a newborn baby.

Or maybe not because it seems to fit us.

ring sling stripes w baby

April 2013 – Month 4

April 2013 – Month 4

Our last day of skiing was April 3rd!  A beautiful day for us, except both of us were low on patience and energy.  More pictures and the story are in my post Winter of Skiing.

last ski

Henry had a great wipe-out and was not happy that I was taking photos.  He went down the hill and around the corner first.  When I went down the hill I came to this pile of a boy.

last ski 2013 a Last ski b

last ski c

Grandma Hanna was here for her birthday.  Jack got the boys up earlier to have a birthday pancake with her before going to school on the bus.

B-day Helen

And then a few days later it was Henry’s birthday.

cake Henry birthday

Grandpa Rob brought a lantern for us to send off.  We watched it slowly blow over the barn (I held my breath until it was over the barn), slowly go higher and we saw where it went down about a half mile from our house.  The two older boys rode their bikes and found the darn thing.  Which meant they had to send it off again with a few minor repairs.

lantern send off

And then the next day it was Nola Mae’s birthday.  My three favorite photos of her this month.

Nola Mae born at home 1  Nola Mae in window Nola Mae door way

I made a few cupcakes from the batter of Henry’s cake so Nola Mae could have her own cake on her birthday.

cake Nola Mae cupcake

Around her birthday, Nola Mae, was taking about four steps at a time and two weeks later she was doing about 8 – 10 and almost a month later she is taking more steps than you can count.  Every time she would take a few steps Henry would say, “SHE TOOK FOUR STEPS!” in the most excited voice you ever heard.  I hope that he continues to be her encouraging brother.

b-day cupcake boys

Henry stopped nursing a week before his birthday and one of the things we started doing in the mornings to replace our nursing times is cuddle and read books.  On this morning he waited very patiently for me with his pile of books.  I always say, “Get your books ready while I get my coffee.”  This day I got distracted and he was quietly waiting and waiting.

Reading Henry waiting

Charlie and Robbie had long hair over the winter months.  Charlie came home one day from school and said he was ready for a hair cut and wanted it to be like his friend, Gavin’s.  I don’t go to school very often and didn’t really know what kind of hair-do Gavin had so I asked Charlie to draw a picture of him.  Just to be sure we were clear on what he wanted done.  Pretty simple hair cut!  And he is just as handsome as Gavin.

Charlie before  Charlie after

We had ice and snow come in April that caused a two-hour delay of school.  I went outside to take care of my animals and heard an odd sound coming from the woods.  Then I realized it was the ice coated branches clanking.

April ice & snow

My friend Kristin who is a runner and a skier told me about the Wood County Breastfeeding Coalition 5K run in Marshfield.  I took Nola Mae and pushed her in the stroller.  It was a great morning for a run and it felt good to be running after a long winter of skiing.   I was hanging out after the race getting us packed up and Nola Mae fed before we left so she could sleep in the car all the way home.  I was listening to the awards being announced expecting Kristin to have placed in her age group and to my great surprise I placed 3rd in my age group and got this awesome medal!

medal 5K

Iola Winter Sport Club had a trail run on April 14th, run by Great Lake Endurance which benefits my youth ski program.  There was a great turn out considering the weather was terrible for trail running, they should have worn snow shoes!  I made two nescos of Black Bean Veggie Soup for the race and had to take a photo of my ingredients and the veggies cooking in my big pot.

Black Bean soup ingredients  Black Bean soup veggies

Since I am talking about food this is a perfect place for me to put these egg photos.  I was frying some eggs for breakfast and grabbed the two biggest ones.

In this photo one of the yokes looked like it was supposed to be a shell.

egg double yolk w shell

Here is what a normal double yoke should look like!

egg double yolk healthy

These snow pictures are from the afternoon of April 14th.  Making a snowman!

Snowman Window  snowman Nola Mae wants to help

Actually three of them.

Snowman & boys

It is unbeliveable…Nola Mae is a crazy climber!  One morning I was in the kitchen and heard her laughing and giggling all by herself in the living room.  I grabbed the camera and ran in there to find her on top of the table with her legs dangling down.  At first I accused Henry of putting her up there and he denied it, whole heartedly.  Then I realized that he was playing in the toy room.

Game table Nola Mae

I put her back down on the floor and watched her.  She climbed onto the chair and then onto the table in a matter of three seconds.

Game table Nola Mae tops

Five days after the snowmen Nola Mae found icicles to eat.

Nola Mae icycles

Lately, I have been sewing a lot and Henry has been wanting to make a skeleton.  I had no idea what he was talking about.  We were in the sewing room and he started talking about a skeleton and finally I asked him if he could draw it for me.  He told me, “I ALREADY DID!” and ran upstairs to get his paper.  He picked out the right colors from my bag of felt pieces.  I cut out all the parts, the left legs are suppose to be shorter (just like the picture!) and they must have feet (not in the picture).  He helped me pin it together.  I called this thing a bug many times and was corrected that it is a skeleton.   I was confused and I have learned you don’t argue with a four-year old!   Now that I am writing this story I think he might be talking about a centipede.  I’ll have to ask him in the morning.

Henry's skelaton drawing  Henry's skelaton created

April 26th – crocuses blooming in my ditch.

Crocus in the ditch

We took a walk around town while Robbie was in piano lessons.

Zara Velvet Wrap walk around town

Nola Mae watching and learning or watching and thinking “my brothers do silly things”?

Nola Mae watching brothers

 Play house train

 I love this photo of Nola Mae’s blue eyes.

Nola Mae Blue eyes

I made these capes this month.  Charlie’s cape is made out of some fabric I found at a thrift store and Robbie’s is from a curtain from a thrift store (sneak peak at one of my upcycled sewing projects).

capes

I am starting to move out of my comfort zone in my soap making.  I was inspired to try something new when my friend Rhonda asked to purchase a variety of my soaps.  My newest soap has dried enough to be packaged up.  The cinnamon bars are pretty nice!  They have a little cinnamon smell to them and I can feel the cinnamon particles doing some scrubbing.

 soap small bars

I have used alpaca wool felted soap, my friend who is an awesome soap maker introduced me to her felted soap.  The bar that I got from her I used in the shower on my face.  The wool was soft and felt like it was a gentle scrubbie that cleaned my face very well.  It also lasted forever.  I have searched YouTube and read a few books on felting.  Originally, I wanted to felt some toys for Henry.  The toys never were made and I had some felting wool.   I used the wool for my little bars of soap.  I love it.

Soap felted

soap in basket

Thanks for reading my blog and putting up with some of my rambling!   I get a lot of pleasure out of putting these photos and stories together.  It helps me appreciate the good days, helps me feel like I do get things accomplished and helps me remember what we have done.

March 2013 – Month 3

March 2013 – Month 3

March was a busy month for us and a good month for photos.  We took a lot of photos which made it difficult to decide what to share and put in this month’s blog post.  I was able to post six different blog posts in the month of March to share photos and events instead of putting them all here.

Charlie is very good about getting his reading homework done.  Nola Mae was interested in sitting on his lap for about two of the four books he needed to read.

Charlie reads to Nola Mae

Since we got serious about co-sleeping 3+ years ago we have made our bedroom more co-sleeping friendly. The best improvement was to throw out the bed frame and put the box spring and mattress on the floor. For many months Nola Mae has been able to crawl off the bed. Now she can get onto the bed.  One day I was working on the computer (just outside my room) and Nola Mae was in my room. I heard the sound of tissue being pulled out of the box.  She was so excited, laughing and smiling and trying to roll in the pile.

Tissue Nola Mae 1  Tissue Nola Mae 2

We spent a weekend in the Chicago area (click here to see that post).  Robbie designed and built these vehicles with the Legos we bought from the Lego store.

Robbie's lego design

If you read my Chicago Trip post you learned about my use of bad words.  Which resulted in more bad words being said at home.    I have always had a fowl mouth and having kids has helped me (a little), but not cured me.  The boys like to talk about many “P” words at the dinner table.  Jack started a bad word jar that week.  We all agreed that the money in the bad word jar would go to his Rotary Club.  Money motivates everyone in our family.  We may not have much to give the Rotary Club, after the first few days the bad words drastically decreased.

Bad word jar

A few of my mom friends have taken pregnant belly photos of themselves and then when the baby is nine months old they take a photo of them holding the baby.  My version is on cross-country skis.

  Nine Months In.                      Nine Months Out.

Shadow Baby Belly 2012  Shadow  Baby on back 2013

Jack’s  birthday is this month.

Jack w Nola Mae

March was the best month for skiing, snow shoeing and playing outside.  I have been working on a winter skiing post.  My excuse for not having it completed is that the skiing just kept on going, our last day on skis was April 3rd.  I have many favorite days of skiing this year – one that I will always remember is the day I skied for 4+ hours with friends, our mission was to ski on every trail at Iola Winter Sports Club.

Henry and I invited ourselves over to our neighbor, Anna’s, to go snow shoeing with her.

Anna Snow shoe

We had an ice rink in our field.  Jack took multiple photos of Charlie and made it into one.

Charlie on pond

Henry and I went snow shoeing on our property.  I took the orange sled in case he got tired and then I could pull him.  It turns out he was tired before we even hit our woods.  I got a great workout that day.  (I think he is trying to catch the big snow flakes on his tongue.)

snowshoe 7 sled

Nola Mae is easily entertained watching her brothers play outside.  Lately she has been not happy about being on this side of the window.  She will watch them for a few minutes laughing and squealing with excitement and then flop her body on the floor crying.

Nola Mae window

I was able to drag our whole family to the ski hill two or three times this year.

Family ski

Nola Mae loves the snow (loves to eat it) and tries to escape out of the house every time the door opens.

Nola Mae loves snow

Our school had a few days off around Easter weekend.   We had an egg hunt on the ski trails with my friends Mary and Phil and all of our kids.  It was a blast!

egg hunt on skis

More outside photos are in my First Spring Walks post.

 This Moment – My Skiing Partner.

Nola Mae’s activity around the house has been a lot of fun (for her).  March was the month she has taken her furniture climbing to a new level.

Nola Mae Climbs 2 Nola Mae Climbs 3

Nola Mae climbs 4    Nola Mae climbs 5

And she has gotten into some messy things.

Nola Mae black mouth

Nola Mae Nutella

Jack finished his game table, a very nice addition to the beautiful furniture he has made for our home.

Game table Jack

Coloring eggs is always fun for the boys.

eggs coloring 2013

eggs colored 2013

I am getting a little more brave in my soap making.  I have always wanted to try to naturally color a batch of soap.   My first attempt was with cinnamon.  When I first cut the soap after 24 hours it looked like this, to my chocolate loving eyes, I thought it looked like peanut butter cups.

soap cutting coloring

After the inside was exposed to air for about 15 minutes it darkened to a very pretty dark brown.

Soap bars cut

Jack bought lights and backdrops for his photography.  He took many pictures of us with the black backdrop.

Three brothers  Nola Mae in purple

I seem to have different wrapping photos each month and this seems like a good place to put them.  These are my favorites.

wrap Zara velvet ruck w Jenny wrap Zara velvet ruck wrap Zara velvet eyes

Robbie wrapped himself up in the long brown packing paper that came in the box with Jack’s photography equipment.  Henry wanted to wear his deer with his Mei Tai.

wrap paper  Henry's Mei Tai

In the wrapping world mamas often share a “stash shot”.  If you don’t believe me, google “stash shot” in Google images!  My little stash won’t look so big either.

wrap stash

Henry’s fish DIY Mei Tai, black Ergo, DIY green Mei Tai, top of pile – Zara Velvet 6, Light Rainbow diamond weave 7, DIY lavender linen 7,  Ellaroo Ysable Medium, and DIY plum Ring Sling.

My two favorite wraps are my Zara and my Girasol Light Rainbow.

wrap ligth rainbow DHTT 2 wrap light rainbow DHTT 1

On Easter Henry stopped breastfeeding. I made a cake to celebrate the day.  He went to school and told his class that he has a nuking birthday party on Easter.  The teachers didn’t understand what he was explaining and thought that he had his story mixed up with his upcoming birthday.   This Moment – Tandem Breastfeeding

Cake nuking

February 2013 – Month 2

February 2013 – Month 2

In late January the boys had a two-hour delay for school due to bad weather and then a snow day.

The morning of the two-hour delay caused some craziness.  Every morning if Nola Mae and Henry are still sleeping when it is time to go out to the end of the driveway I walk out there with the boys.  I take care of the dogs.  This morning I turned on the water to fill the horse’s water tank.

I didn’t know there was a two-hour delay until we were outside waiting for the bus by 6:30 and we were waiting for about 10 minutes.  I saw the county bus go by very slowly, usually this bus is going pretty fast.  I realized then that maybe the wasn’t any school because the roads were probably too bad.  I went into the house to check the school’s website.  In all this craziness I forgot about the running water in the barn.  The nice thing about our old barn and the placement of my water tank is when it overflows most of the water goes to the stairs.

flooded barn

After the two big boys were off to school I scooped the water out with the 5 gallon bucket and the grain shovel.  If I didn’t wear my baby I am not sure when or how I would have gotten this cleaned up.  I was concerned about it freezing and needed it to get cleaned up right away!

flooded barn clean up

flooded barn clean

When we had a snow day I was thinking ahead so we made Valentine cards for school.  I refuse to buy the crap that is in the stores.  I cut hearts of all sizes and all three boys glued and colored whatever they wanted, signed their name and we taped a small package of Smarties or a sucker on each card. Thanks to Granny we had a good supply of Smarties!  Henry signed all of his with one big “H”, up until this time I didn’t know he could write an H.  He saw the boys writing their names and he told me he could do his.

Valentine making

The innocent playing on the kitchen stool has turned dangerous.  Remember last month’s cute photos?  Now, I put the stool away and only bring it out when we need it.

stool Nola Mae 1  stool Nola Mae2

Henry’s preschool does a cake raffle at four high school basketball games as a fundraiser.  These are two of the three cakes I made.  The preschool raised a total of over $400.

Basketball cake   cake heart cake

Henry has watched us play Battle Ship.  On this day he was set on filling every spot and not interested in getting up until he was done.

Henry battleship

I heard the piano keys being played.  I stopped what I was doing in the kitchen to tell Henry how beautiful and gentle his fingers were playing and found Nola Mae standing at the piano.

piano Nola Mae reaching

Henry thinks she needs to sit down to play and put her on a chair.  Nola Mae likes it.

Piano Nola Mae

My friend, Asherrie’s mom made this little hair hat for Nola Mae.

Nola Mae w hair

During some cold temps this month we were unable to start the tractor to bring firewood into the house.  Robbie and I brought this load of wood into the house.

Robbie firewood load

We have had excellent skiing this month.

A snowy day made it a lot more work to ski and pull the sled.  It is a good thing Nola Mae sleeps the whole time because on this day she wouldn’t have been able to see out of the sled.

ski sled w snow

Henry’s skiing skills improved drastically in a week’s time.  He went from me skiing next to him while going down hill, and skiing behind him doing the “duck walk” up the hill to him climbing up hills and zooming down hills all by himself.  He has also gotten stronger during the month of February.  We always went on the green loop.  By the end of this month we going out on the blue loop.  One day he skied for over 1.5 miles.  And another day he skied the entire blue loop (distance?) in 1 hour 45 minutes.

skiing Henry down

I had a few days where Henry would ski as far as he could and when he would get tired I put him in the sled with Nola Mae.  They would both fall asleep within 10 minutes and I could ski as long as I was able to.  On this day I didn’t bring any water with me and had to go back after 1.5 hours.  They could have napped longer and I could have skied longer!

Skiing sled b&w

Aunt Becca came to ski with us during one of our Saturday morning lessons.  The youth ski group skied to the shelter on the green trail for hot dogs, hot chocolate and the reading of  the book called The Race of the Birkebeiners.

skis at shelter

skiing w Becca

Skiing w Becca 1

Three of my sisters met at my house for skiing and visiting.  While they were here it was too beautiful to be inside.  I got the boys out to try to do some sledding.  Kayla and Skyler came outside to play with us and they had an idea to make a snow fort.

Kayla & Nola Mae  Henry and Skylar

Snow fort building

The snow fort started to lean when the temps warmed up.  Notice the leaning sides of the fort.

Snow fort melt down 1

snow fort meltdown 3

The day before it fell to the ground.

snow fort meltdown 5

During this same weekend the youth ski group skied our re-enactment of The Race of the Birkebeiners where the kids brought their babies or stuffed animals and carried them on a special trail that I had groomed for them.

Birkie ski

I had someone interested in buying my Ellaroo wrap.  This was my first wrap.  I haven’t been using it very often so I considered parting with it.  We wrapped with it and I decided I couldn’t sell it just yet.

Ellaroo Ysabel wrap smiles

Nola Mae doing “The Big C” and still staying in the wrap!

Ellaroo Ysabel wrap back arch

I made this ring sling for myself after finding out that I like the ease of getting Nola Mae in and out when going places.

Ring Sling DIY Plum

I got this wrap hammock idea from my friend, Brianna, the one who got me into wrapping.  She has made forts, swings and hammocks with her wraps.  Charlie’s friend rode the bus after school to work on her science project with Mystique (Click here to see her mom’s blog post).

Wrap hammock G

Charlie and Robbie took turns sleeping in the hammock.

Wrap hammock sleeping Charlie

Week 51 – December 17 – 23, 2012

Week 51 – December 17 – 23, 2012

(Completed on 1/28/13)

My recent weeks have not been very productive.   A friend asked me to make her some diaper liners.  It was what I needed to get motivated to get back into my sewing room.

sewing cloth liners

I played around and made these for my jars that I like to drink tea out of.

sewing jar covers

I wrapped and labeled some of my soap.

Soap

Jack completed his “container” for the Vaters’ art exchange.  One of the most beautiful things he has made (in my opinion).

Cabinet Jack built

I worked on my “container” and came up with this cloth bowl.  Since it seemed lame to me, comparing it to what Jack was contributing.  I filled my cloth bowl with extra goodies, like honey, tea, my homemade soap and body balm.

sewing clothes bowls

Nola Mae is getting close to joining us at the table in her own chair.

Nola Mae eats at table

Snow shoeing has been fun with the boys.  Robbie is the super snow shoer!  We have been working hard at packing our trails so we can ski on them too.

snow shoe path

It was too cold and too late in the afternoon for Nola Mae to ride on my back so I packed her in the sled so she would be warmer.

skiing sled Nola Mae

Henry had his preschool Christmas program this week.  He (like all our kids) is not a performer.  He just stood in the front row with a smile on his face.  In the days before and after the program he has proven to me that he can sing the songs, just not in front of all the parents.

Henry pre school

I learned of breast milk popsicle for teething babies.  I bought some little plastic shot glasses, pumped some of my milk and froze it with a Q-tip for the stick.  Nola Mae was a little crabby one day and I just couldn’t tell what was going on with her.  I remembered the popsicle that I made and gave her one.  It did the trick because she was very busy working on the popsicle until it was gone.

breastmilk popcicle

Henry thought it was cute to put Nola Mae in the basket.  She liked it only for a short time.

basket baby

Once in a while Henry wants to wear one of his stuffed animals.  I made this Mei Tai for him after I made mine.

Mei Tai kid size

A Christmas tree cake I made for someone who wanted to take a dessert to a Christmas gathering.

Cake x-mas tree

Week 49 & Week 50 – December 2 – 16, 2012

Week 49 & Week 50 – December 2 – 16, 2012

(Completed on 1/28/13)

I have combined these two weeks because I had two photos for Week 49 (pretty lame!).

We hosted Aunt Vlasty’s St. Nick party at our house because it fell on the same day as Robbie and Charlie’s piano recital.  I made a cake and it was the only picture I took all week.

cake Christmas tree

We got a good start of snow on the weekend.

Tractor snow

Week 50 was a better week for photos:

Henry and I went out for our first ski of the winter around our property.  Getting ready…

First ski - getting ready

Waiting patiently…

 First ski - waiting

Documenting with a photo…

First ski - ready

Henry not waiting any longer…

First ski - going

My book club met for an ugly sweater themed meeting and I made this cake for us.  Each of us read one or two books by Donna VanLiere ( I think Michelle read all of them).

  Cake Ugly Sweater

Charlie wanted to wear a tie to his school Christmas program.  He is always wanting to dress up to look handsome.  We don’t have any boy sized ties so he picked out one of Jack’s ties to wear.

Charlie wearing a tie

Someone (I don’t care who) thought it would be a good idea to celebrate 12-12-12 as Aaron Rogers Day.   Thanks to Grandpa Bob our boys were able to participate in these kinds of days at school.

Aaron Rogers Day

Winter fruit came in.

Fruit 2012

Nola Mae in my favorite outfit.

Nola Mae favorite outfit

Nola Mae has learned that once the boys come in from outside there are snow chunks on the rug.  Believe me, she is very good at picking up those little yucky chunks of snow.

Nola Mae snow eater

Week 34 – August 20 – 26, 2012

Week 34 – August 20 – 26, 2012

(Completed 9/24/12)

Henry is the best helper.  And such a cute one too!

Henry and I picked more broccoli this week.  I have been picking broccoli by sneaking in the garden so Henry wouldn’t see what I was doing.  I didn’t want him to do it without me and do it wrong.  I wasn’t able to be sneaky today.

I was impressed how well he cut the broccoli with the scissors.  Yes, I let my 3-year-old use adult scissors!  He did it so well I bet I could send him to the garden to pick some for a meal.  I was reminded again that he can do so many things, and he can do it “my way”, I mean the right way, if and when I show him how to do things correctly and safely.

This has been the best year for our broccoli.  I have eight plants and they have produced tons of broccoli for us.  I am thinking I want more plants next year.

Then I turn my back and my awesome helper (Henry) cuts 25 stalks of my milo and corn!  When I asked him why, “Me don’t like them being tall!”  Here is a milo stalk he cut that is actually growing back.  The corn stalks didn’t grow back.

Henry must have been encouraged to do more jobs for me today after doing so well at cutting broccoli and feeling badly about cutting my milo and corn. Because he collected eggs without me.  He carried them in his shirt and unloaded them on to my junk table.  No broken eggs this time!

I had an evening meeting and this is what I came home to…

These boys are getting too big for me to carry them out of my bed.

I took a few photos in the garden this week:

This one is of the biggest mullein plants (Verbascum Thapsus) I have ever seen.    I have been saving these weeds all over our property for drying and making tea with the leaves.  I learned of this from a friend and was reminded about mullein from my midwives when I had a horrible cold during my pregnancy with Nola Mae.  Henry can spot it anywhere.  We went for a walk to our neighbors and walked through her yard rather than up her driveway.  Henry ran past a tiny mullein plant and said, “there is yours mullein!”

Wikipedia:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verbascum_thapsus

The many uses of mullein:

http://www.naturalnews.com/033990_mullein_medicinal_herbs.html

My first handful of raspberries!

I did not grow basil this year.  I was given some from a friend and my sister-in-law.  Henry and I are the only ones that eat pesto.

Nola Mae has started to do the Superman/airplane pose.

And now that she is rolling over.  I find her sleeping on her belly, which is cute but also makes me nervous.  This girl always has her hand in her face, something I will never forget!  Giving birth to a baby with her hand on her face is quite painful and unforgettable!

Charlie turned seven years old this week!  He wanted to decorate his own cake with Star Wars ships on it.

Charlie wanted to go camping for his birthday.  Jack took all three boys to Brunette Island State Park.  They met other family members there.

On Sunday morning Charlie got stung many times by hornets when he stepped onto a nest on an island they had been playing on all weekend.  We will never know how many times. He wouldn’t let me count the marks.

I can count 32 sting marks in the photo of his back.

The best cousin, Sarah, read to him to help him feel better.

Charlie did not have an allergic reaction to the stings.  Jack did take him to an ER where he got an IV of fluids and we got the bill:

IV Therapy = $294

Sterile Supply = $74.50

Emergency Room = $332

Pharmacy = $212.75

Professional Fee/ER = $498

Total = $1411.25

(A month later and I don’t know what our insurance will pay)

Uncle Eddie took these photos in the ER.  When Charlie saw them he remembered more things to tell me about this experience.

“I was soooo tired I couldn’t fall asleep.”

“I remember those blankets.  They were REALLY warm!  And it felt good when they put it on top of me.”

“I’m never going camping for my birthday EVER again!”

Jack said it was helpful that his brother went along with him and that he had the GPS in the car, so all he had to do was to touch the arrow on the screen to see where the closest hospital was and hit “Go.”