March 2014

 March 2014

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

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

Nola Mae's Kitchen

Nola Mae dressed herself like this one day.

Nola Mae clothes

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

Eric Hamm & family

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

Eric Hamm

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

Eric Hamm & Henry combine

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

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

cousin Joey

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

Shoes Ben & Nola Mae

 

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

skiing sisters

 

 Getting ready for a ski. skiing sled

 

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

skiing ready in sled

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

 

skiing milkies break

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

skiing 2 headed skiing monster

 

skiing shadows

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

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

skiing spring

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

 skiing shelter snack time

 

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

 

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

Henry guitar

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

WI shaped ice

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

lost chicken

I got a piece of bread and caught her!

lost chicken catch

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

helping

 

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

Nola Mae heading to shop

 When there are still snow banks you can sled!

spring time sledding hill

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

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

spring time sledding

Babywearing:

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

babywearing Nola Mae doll

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

Ellevill Jack blue eyes   Ellevill Jack sleeping

 Dyeing projects:

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

This is what I got!

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

ice dye raibow project

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

A ring sling piece or material for a skirt, and

ice dye raibow ring sling

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

ice dye rainbow quilt fabric

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

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

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

ice dye china blue & ocean blue shirt & napkin

Sewing:

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

                  trivet square scraps

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

teenage mutant ninja turtle mask

February 2014

February 2014

I have had a busy month.   I am pleased with the amount of things we (I) did and the things we caught on camera, considering it was a short month.

Nola Mae loves to play in the water.  I am expecting to have lots of fun this summer at the beach.  Whenever she hears the water running in the kitchen she comes running and yelling “bubbas” and lately she has spent time in the bath tub.  She is making up for the lack of baths she had during her first year of life.  Every time I tried to give her a bath she would scream.  I don’t really care for extra messes around our house, but when this sweet girl is loving the bubbles I can’t resist.

Nola Mae bubbles

My friend, at Kissing Glue, shared a few awesome valentine ideas that she has done in the past that inspired me to do this with our boys.

valentines swedish fish

valentines Charlie

We don’t celebrate anything in a big way, ever, especially on Valentine’s Day.  I am okay with that!  My Valentine wrote me a sweet letter with all the things he appreciates I do, and he didn’t miss a single thing!  My letter is definitely a keeper to dig out on a rough day!  He also made me a drink, one of my favorites, that I haven’t had in a very long time!  I sure do miss Rusty’s Backwater Salon’s bloody Mary’s!

valentines drink

I love this smile:

sledding smile

We had a little excitement this month with Charlie.  I wrote a blog post about Charlie’s emergency visit, click here to read that post.

ER Charlie finger 1

Someone left the door open and Nola Mae followed.

barefoot in snow

Her hair is starting to come.  I knew it would arrive sometime because I was a bald child until I was two.

Hair on Nola Mae

Nola Mae nursed her baby doll for the first time this month.  She also has read books to her babies!

      nursing doll

Reading:

I am proud to say everyone in our house likes to read books.   Nola Mae hasn’t shown much interest until recently.  Henry and I read books often and she plays in the room and sometimes comes to sit on my lap to look at one or two pages at a time.

Reading Henry & Nola Mae

She recently has started to bring me books to read to her and even sits in my lap for the entire book!  Last week she kept bringing me books, we read these five twice in one sitting.  And then she sat there for another 10 minutes reading them by herself.

reading Nola Mae

I came home from night skiing with friends and found this…

reading to sleep

When it was time for me to go to bed I found her like this…

   reading book tent

Skiing:

Pointy hood, heart booty, cutie pie!

skiing snow heart Nola Mae

skiing family night

Skiing Robbie snowbank crash

skiing Robbie snowbank rest

If this girl could ski every day she would be happy.  Everyday, she says, “kiing” and puts on someone’s skiing helmet or boots or plays in the skiing sled when I have it in the house.

skiing sled

Babywearing:

I wrote this post this month with photos from one of our snowshoe outings.

snow shoe nap wrap light rainbow

Lately I have been thinking, “I don’t remember the last time I wrapped Henry.”  I was feeling kind of sad thinking that there may not be another time, since he will be 5 in one month.  Then he got hurt in the toy room, dug out my wrap and brought it to me and asked to go on my back until he felt better.  He was up there for about 10 minutes and was happy to take a picture so we can remember this moment.

Wrap me Henry

Dyeing projects:

ice & snow dye purple & green on line 2 ring sling pieces1

Finished ring sling ice & snow dye:

 ice & snow dye purple & green ring sling with toddler

This could actually go in March’s monthly post because it will be finished in March.  But I started this rainbow ice dye on February 28th.  My collection of dye projects is growing and I may get a “dyeing project”  blog posts done in March and include the finished projects from this dye session.

ice dye rainbow on ice

I bought this basket for ice dyeing, $2.49 at Goodwill.  I will need to test it out soon.  I couldn’t use it for my rainbow project because I needed a bigger surface.  I struggle every time to stack the ice or snow high enough and I think the sides on this basket will help solve that problem.

ice dye basket

My sewing projects this month:

I went to the library looking for fat-quarter quilt books and jelly-roll patterns.  This is what I came home with…

sewing books inspirations

I used these scraps of fabric that I ice dyed last month to sew these zipper bags and this panel of fabric that may turn into a baby quilt or a tote bag.

ice dye pink & yellow bags & quilt

While I was making zipper bags I dug out my bag of unfinished zipper bags.

 zipper bags

The three ring slings I made this month.  The last one is for a child to carry a doll and strong enough for an older sibling to carry a real baby.

ring sling green Carolyn ice & snow dye purple & green ring sling ice & snow dye purple & green ring sling child size

I wore this sweater last winter.  It slowly shrunk on me and so I felted it to make a stuffed fish.  Wouldn’t it make a cute fish?  Well, it fit Nola Mae perfectly.  So she will wear it this winter and I will have to come up with something else to make with this wool sweater.

wool sweater stripes felted

I found a different sweater for the felted wool sweater fish.  The loop holding the wooden teething ring is Velcro.

wool sweater fish w wooden teether

pillow case monkeys

pillow case TNT Landon

Fingerless gloves I made from a felted wool sweater.  I added the four heart beads to each glove.  I have great appreciation for the beautiful work my aunts and step-mom do with their jewelry making!

wool sweater fingerless gloves w heart beads

This black sweater had a lot of love in it when it came to me.  I added a little love when I made these little pillows for two sisters who miss their Daddy.

wool sweater kitty

wool sweater wolf

Jack asked me to find a bag that would fit his shoes, a t-shirt, a small towel and a pocket for his wallet for when he goes to racquetball.  I thought it would take me awhile to find the right bag so I thought I would just make him one.  It was fun, quick and easy.  I didn’t buy a single thing for it.  The lining fabric came from my friend, Anna.  The padding and outside fabric came from my mother-in-law and the handles were the end of the strap from a Mei Tai that I made for our cousin, Jessie.  I was surprised that the blue matched perfectly.  I have a box of the trimming from straps of bags and aprons that I have made for this very reason!

bag Jack's racquetball  bag Jack's racquetball pocket

 

January 2014

January 2014

When the weather is very cold outside and the boys still need to get out, the barn is one of those places.

Basketball in the barn 3

After Christmas was over I started trimming branches off the tree to burn in the wood stove.  I slowly trimmed the branches and when it was time to take the ornaments off I continued to burn branches in the wood stove until it was a manageable size for a big boy to carry outside.

Christmas tree bare

Charlie carried it down to the burn pit and I started it on fire.

Christmas tree fire

Nola Mae carrying a box down to the burn pit to burn.

Christmas tree bonfire

Sledding hill boys

My Dad and Lynn came to visit us for a weekend.

Dad & Lynn visit skiing field Dad & lynn visit skiing hill

Piggy back

 

Almost every day Nola Mae puts on someone’s ski boots and tells me “skiing!”

Skiing girl always

I bought 40 pounds of grapefruit this winter.  This was the biggest one.

huge grapefriut

 

The boys went away for a weekend with Jack.  Jack took these (and many more) great photos, these are my favorites.

Ice fishing Robbie

Ice fishing Charlie

Ice Fishing Henry

I got this idea from my friend Sarah.  I filled these balloons with colored water,

ice ballons

and decorated our igloo with the ice balls.

Ice balls

Nola Mae photos:

She enjoyed playing with my cake decorating tips by making towers with them.

Future cake decorator

Henry did this to Nola Mae while I was doing some laundry.

Marker head

Nola Mae just reading (warms my heart).

Nola Mae reading

Another “heart warming” photo, when one sibling sweetly kisses the other.

playhouse window kiss

Playhouse steering wheel

I told Nola Mae to watch me out the window while I fed the dogs, started the car and checked the skid steer’s hydraulic fluids.  This is where she was when I came in.  Usually, she stands on the shortened chair so I was a little surprised she found this good seat in the window.

watching out the window

We had a great month of skiing. 

                Ski family Charlie crash Ski family pulling Henry

Ski Henry pulls Nola Mae

Ski Henry leaves us

ski snow eater

This winter two kids in the sled is a heavy load!  I got a good work-out and a nap out of both of them.

 ski sled double load sleepers

Breaking a new snow shoe trail  during a snow storm…Nola Mae wasn’t happy when the sled tipped over because the trail wasn’t wide enough for the sled. Eventually she fell asleep and she didn’t notice when it happened.

   sled tipping on snowshoe trail

  Upcycle projects:

This upcycled trivet made with denim and scraps of yellow and orange fabrics., inside lining is fleece from an old baby blanket and the backing is two pieces of corduroy that were given to me.  This was my contribution to the Art Exchange for the Vater family Christmas.

upcycle denim trivet

Jack’s Art exchange item:

cigar box guitar canoe paddle

Jack made two other cigar box guitars.  If you have facebook you may be able to view a video he made  click here to see  the video.

In my research for a upcycle project I found a denim rug that I wanted to make for my kitchen.  I have used this wool rug, weaved by Jack’s aunt.  I like a rug under the sink area and have always thought that I needed a rug that had an angle for that spot.

kitchen rug

So I made this…

kitchen rug upcycle denim rug

Inspired by this design – http://lieslmade.com/2013/08/15/parquet-inspired-denim-rug-tutorial/

Upcycled elephant from a felted wool sweater.  The cutest thing I have made in a long time!

Upcycle wool sweater elephant

Ring slings that I made this month:

I made this one for a friend who just had her first baby.  This was a table-cloth that was used at her wedding.

Ring sling Upcycle from table cloth

This ring sling went to a first time mama.  These two mamas are smart – baby wearing with their first baby!

Ring sling turquoise chevron

Cross-Country Skiing with Kids

Jack and I moved to Iola in the spring of 1998.   We discovered Iola’s hidden treasure that following winter – Iola Winter Sports Club!  I spent many hours enjoying the cross-country trails over the years and in 2008 decided to give back to the community and share my love of skiing.

I started leading Iola Winter Sports Club’s Youth Ski Program in 2008.  The kids love coming out on Saturday mornings and learning the basics of cross-country skiing and then using those new learned skills on the trails.   It is my love of skiing that comes through in my lessons with the kids.  I hope to share that love as I encourage them to keep practicing cross-country skiing skills and have fun while enjoying the outdoors.

I fell in love with skiing when I had cross-country skiing in 7th grade Physical Ed. class.  My first pair of skis was a birthday present from my Grandma Nola, and I still ski on them 30+ years later.  Ever since learning to cross-country ski, I think about snow and skiing all year-long!

Our family has grown over the last few years.  We have three sons and one daughter.  Each of our children put on skis the first winter they could walk.

Robbie at 17 months old.

skis Robbie 1st time

Charlie at 17 months.

Skis Charlie 1st time

Henry at 20 months.

skis Henry 1st time

Nola Mae at 20 months.

skis Nola Mae 1st time

Henry and Nola Mae have gotten the most skiing in their first few years, in-utero, on my back, in a sled behind me and on their own skis.

2011 spring skiing w Henry

skiing w Lynn

I have shared my love of skiing with our children and it brings great pleasure to me when I see that love and joy of skiing in other children and adults.  There are times when our children don’t appreciate the beautiful trails we have access to or the quality family time we are spending on the trails.  We often have ski-derby, snowball fights, tackling and lots of complaining during our family skiing.

skiing Charlie snowball

2011 spring skiing brothers

In the end we have children who exercised, who are worn out and wonderful memories that will last my lifetime and hopefully theirs.

  Skiing four kids

Skiing with Friends

Skiing with Friends

Our Christmas break has ended and the boys are back in school today.  One of our biggest highlights was skiing with friends.  My dream is to make this happen every Christmas break.   Three out of the five friends never skied before, by the end of the day they were skiing like they were born to ski!

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First Ski 2013

First Ski 2013

Our family will ski every Thursday night with our friends Mary and Phil and their kids.

Our first ski of the season was also Nola Mae’s first time on skis at 20 months old.

Nola Mae was a natural on skis.  She slid her skis along and went about 20 yards.  She was on her skis for about 20 minutes skiing with Mary while I went back to the chalet to help Robbie.  I don’t think she even cried when I was out of sight.  I saw her lose her balance a little and she stayed on her skis.  I didn’t hold her hand, she did it all by herself!

Skiing Nola Mae

The older boys were excited to ski.  Tonight was actually Charlie’s second time on skis.  Earlier this week we went to the ski hill to make copies for youth ski program.  Charlie quickly put on boots and skis and disappeared on the trail.

We are fortunate to have lights on our ski trails.  Henry was a speedy boy on skis, this is his third winter skiing.

IWSC at night

We are making memories!

IWSC Charlie & Philip

I have a feeling our Thursday nights will be full of skiing, snack eating and visiting.  (Next time I am packing snacks and a beer)

 IWSC Phil

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.

Winter of Sewing (2013)

Winter of Sewing (2013)

I took this photo on January 7, 2013 with the intention of sewing everything in this pile that week, documenting it and doing a blog post called something like a “Week of Sewing.”  That didn’t happen so it turned into a Winter of Sewing.

sewing projects

Completed projects from this pile:

Black coat on the left – I replaced a zipper on a ski jumper’s coat.

Pink fabric with flower print – a huge pool bag for my sister that fits three kids.

bag for Emily's pool

Green fabric with silver rings – a ring sling for my sister-in-law, BJ, and for a friend’s daughter.  Extra fabric was made into bags for me and BJ.

ring sling green w silver  bag to match ring sling

ring sling and bag

Blue fabric with snow flakes – an apron for a young lady who use to live and ski jump here.

Apron for snow princess

Not in the photo:  a patch job on a friend’s coat.

Not completed:

Top middle – old curtain from a thrift store to be made into a bag.

Purple fabric – maybe will become a skirt.

Brown fabric with “ICE” & “RWV” –  a sword holder designed by Robbie to hold his wooden sword that he received at Christmas time.  It has something to do with his Elemental Warrior game that he plays with his cousins.

Green peppers print – will be a fabric box.

Green and gold fabric – will be made into a star baby or a couple of them.

I am not sure exactly what happened that week.  Could it be the many distractions from my four children, the need to cook and feed my family, laundry and very minimal house cleaning?   Or maybe it was the skiing conditions were great that week and I went cross-country skiing.  Priorities, right?  My sewing will still be there but nobody knew how long the snow was going to last.  I recently wrote a post on my cross-country skiing  (Winter skiing 2013) because it was the best winter for cross-country skiing!

When I got into the mode of sewing and not thinking about skiing I was inspired or distracted, depending how you look at it, by other sewing projects that weren’t in this pile.  I hope to publish a “Upcycled Sewing” blog post soon.

While I was making the ring sling for BJ, I thought Kale, my nephew, could use one too.  I had this cool star print in my stash.

ring sling for Kale

My friend, Kristin, saw Kale’s ring sling and asked me to make one for her three kids.

ring slings for girls

Henry modeling Kristin’s son’s ring sling.

Ring sling for boy

I used BJ’s ring sling for a couple of weeks and fell in love with it.  I never tried one and was never interested in ring slings.  I always thought I needed to have both my hands free to do things and having a baby in a ring sling on my hip or on my front wouldn’t work, even if my hands were free.  Except when you need to run into the store or school quickly while holding a 3 year old’s hand. Or hold your baby while at a family function or event.  Or when you are in a public place and need to nurse the baby to sleep and keep the baby sleeping.  Too many uses to list.

I took these to photos to show that ring sling can be used with a baby and a three-year old, separately of course.  I have a friend who is a babywearing pro and has taught me everything I know.  She has an instructional YouTube video on how to put a newborn into one of these ring slings properly.  It is the best video out there!

ring sling w 10 mo old   ring sling w 3 yr old

I went back to the fabric store and bought more of the green fabric and some of this plum color.  I made this one with black rings for myself.

ring sling plum mine

I have been using a ring sling for three months and Nola Mae is slowly getting heavier.  The ring sling has been comfortable for long periods of time, but lately not so much.  I was having trouble with the shoulder riding up towards my neck.  I believe that is because I made the pleats on the shoulder too narrow.

This week I finished making two more ring slings (another green one and a second plum-colored ring sling) and I ripped out the seams in the shoulder and widened the pleats on mine.  Then I decided to add a pretty design to the tail.

ring sling plum mine new shoulder

Ring sling silver rings for sale ring sling plum w silver for sale

I made a seperate post for my upcycled sewing projects that I worked on this winter.

Winter of Skiing (2013)

Winter of Skiing 2013

This winter was one of the best winters for cross-country skiing.  Maybe because  last year’s winter stunk for a number of reasons – we had very little snow and I had a baby in my belly.  The baby in the belly shouldn’t really be an excuse.  The winter of 2008-2009 I was pregnant with Henry and I skied almost every day we had snow on the ground.

One of the reasons for my wonderful winters of skiing is because I live seven miles from Iola Winter Sports Club.

Iola Winter Sport Club Sign  IWSC Trails

There are over 20K of trails, over 7K of lit trails for night skiing and one of the best groomers in the midwest.

pistenbully small

A portion of the Ice Age Trail runs through the property.

 IWSC stick hiker

skiing green

IWSC snowy trail

 

Iola Winter Sports Club has a youth ski program which has been going on for many years.  This year I had 48 children signed up for our program.   Every Saturday there was about 20-25 kids that came.

Ski class 2013

skiing to shelter

skis at shelter

Birkie ski

I had a great skiing partner this year while the two bigger boys were in school.

skiing Henry

There were weekends I was able to ski with all of our kids.  And twice with our whole family.

Skiing family day

I was fortunate to have this sled available to me to use when Henry was a baby.  I eventually purchased it and have gotten a lot of good use out of it.

Skiing Jan 25th  ski sled w snow

The days I would ski with Henry we would start out skiing together.  When he would get tired I would pack him and his skis in the sled with Nola Mae.

Nola Mae Jenny  Henry Vater

skiing sled

The two of them would nap and I could ski as long as they slept.  Most of the time I would get an hour and a half nap out of them.  One morning I had them sleeping nicely in the sled and took a chance that they would keep sleeping for a longer than normal loop.  I turned off onto a freshly groomed trail that I haven’t skied on in a couple of years to get in an extra loop.  I was on that trail going down hill for one minute, really one minute, and they both woke up screaming.  At the bottom of the hill we had a snack and I had to pull them up the hill to head back.  The rest of the winter I didn’t take any more chances on a longer loop.

skiing sled (2)

I have many highlights from this season with one amazing ski day with my friend Mary, her eight year old daughter and I met a new person that day who joined us.  We skied all of the trails in one day.  Another time Jack’s Aunt Mary and her friend Donna (they were a couple of my skiing partners before I had kids) spent the night one weekend Jack took the boys away.  We had a wonderful ski on a very cold day.  Aunt Mary pulled the sled for me while I skied really fast in the tracks.  It was one out of two days I skied this winter without pulling the sled.   Another memoriable ski was during the full moon in March when I met a friend on the trails for a night ski.

The kids had spring break the week before Easter.  With Phil and Mary we planned an egg hunt on the trails.  It pays to be friends with the groomer and to make plans to ski with his wife.  He will groom in the early morning hours when he knows you have plans to ski and he plants Easter eggs for his and my kids.

egg hunt on skis

Grandma Hanna (Helen) was visiting us when we had the egg hunt.

skiing with grandma

Springtime skiing is the best.  I don’t know why, maybe because I know it is ending soon and I appreciate every day there is skiable snow.  I love skiing without gloves.  The sun on my face feels wonderful (getting a little tan on my face).

Springtime skiing is very exciting too.   There are times when going down hills the brakes get put on.  That happens in places where there is shade on the trail from the trees and spots where the sun is shining on the snow.  The sun is slowly melting the snow and warming it up.  You are going really fast down hill in the shade and as soon as your skis hit the sunny spot your skis slow down.  It is so fun trying to prepare for when your skis hit the sunny spots.  If you have ever skied with me in the spring time I do a lot of screaming, laughing and swearing.

Henry and I skied for the last time on April 3rd.  We could have skied longer into April because my friend Phil skied with his family on April 20th.

The rest of these photos are from our last day of skiing.  Henry was crabby and low on energy that day.  He needed to be pulled a few times, bribed a little and then we just ended up turning around before finishing the blue loop.  He insisted that he could do the whole thing, but I just knew he didn’t have it in him that day.

ski pulling

The other exciting part of springtime skiing is dodging the dirt and mud.  I forgot to tell Henry what to do when the track runs out and there are bare spots.

last ski wipe out

At this point in our ski we were almost back to the chalet.  My treats were gone, Henry was really crabby and my patience was gone.  I was behind Henry when he went down this little hill and hit the mud.  I was laughing and taking pictures and that made him very mad!  I don’t remember exactly what he said, something about him hating skiing, hating mud,  that he was done skiing forever and would never go skiing with me again.

last ski wipe out tears

I know…not a good way to end the winter.  I am counting on him forgetting this day.  I need him to be my skiing partner next winter on the days that he isn’t in 4 Year old Kindergarten.

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