July 2014

 July 2014

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

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

garden hole get ready

This hole keeps her busy and entertained.

garden hole jump

Another source of entertainment in our yard.

Nola Mae Tractor

Waiting for fireworks.

Henry & Nola Mae fireworks

Mr. Ernst baling his hay in our field.

Mr. Ernst marshmallows

Counting Mr. Ernst’s marshmallows.

counting bales

I love this smile!

Henry smile

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

ND July 4 2014 cousins

ND July 4 2014 bluff

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

ND July 4 2014 swimming

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

four kids on rocks

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

bag pink batman

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

Oak tree standing

Oak tree plan

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

Oak tree down

Oak tree sawing

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

Oak tree chainsaw

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

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

Oak Tree firewood

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

birthday ice cream 2

birthday ice cream

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

cherries 2014

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

Blueberries 2014

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

Best big Brother Robbie

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

 Henry & Nola Mae

Our lotion girl:  Thankfully this mess was outside.

lots of lotion

 My sewing projects:

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

diaper wet bag butterflies

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

Didymos winter lilies ring sling convert

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

dye ice Navy over Intense violet ring sling

and this one.

ring sling green july 14

My first minecraft creeper inspired pillowcase.

pillowcase minecraft creeper

My dyeing projects:

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

dye glue resist ice Charlie

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

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

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

Robbie bike traded for ring sling

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

dye ice rainbow swirl batching

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

dye ice rainbow swirl rinse

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

dye ice rainbow swirl on line dye ice rainbow swirl osnaburg

dye ice rainbow swirl ring sling 2

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

  dye ice rainbow swirl sheet dye ice rainbow swirl Tank

This was a white table-cloth.

Dye LWI rainbow table clothe

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

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

  Robbie Trombone 1 Robbie Trombone 2

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

THINK

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May 2014

May 2014

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

Nola Mae Band aids

 

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

Manufacturing day Lot

 

Manufacturing day Monsters

Manufacturing day table

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

Mother's Day photo 1

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

Mother's Day photo

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

Madison bus w Robbie

 We toured the capital.

Madison Capitol

 

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

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

Madison H & NM

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

Jack's day planting trees

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

Jack's day firewood

Charlie & Nola Mae soccer

Piano Henry & Nola Mae

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

Iola Charlie bench

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

Iola Little Shivers

 

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

St Vinnie load 1

St Vinnie load 2

St Vinnie load 3

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

St Vinnie load Friends

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

bike Tomorrow river trail getting ready

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

bike Tomorrow river trail

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

Nola Mae potato smasher

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

Nola Mae 1st ponie tail

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

Nola Mae

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

Bike to Big Falls Gene's

 

Bike to Big Falls Picnic

 

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

Bike to Big Falls Water H

 getting our feet wet.

Bike to Big Falls Water NM

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

Wood chips

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

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

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

Dad's swing

Dad's Marbles

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

Dad's dead bird Nola Mae

Dad's yard pole Nola Mae2

Dad's yard pole Nola Mae

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

 

June 2013 – Month 6

June 2013 – Month 6

We started our summer off with the boys signing up for the summer reading program at our local libraries.  We may not attend many activities or hand in our reading logs into the Iola library because we visit the library where our favorite librarian works.   I put up the little pockets for each child on the door for their reading logs.  They can check off their 20 minutes of reading and we never forget to grab them when we are heading to the library!

summer reading logs

The sales of  my beeswax body balms and healing balm have been a huge hit with many of my family, friends and friends of my friends.  Thank you for supporting me and the things I love to make!

balms for sale

Charlie went to a friend’s birthday party and I made this cute bag for his gift.

bag Xzavor

I found some dried grass and some of my broom corn in the grill one day and blamed it on Henry.  I talked to him about leaving the grill alone.   We cleaned it out.  Then a few days later we opened the grill to make dinner and found this awesome nest built out of things that came from all over our yard – leaves, dried grass, broom corn from inside the garage and a lot of the dried stems from my last year’s morning glories that were in the compost pile.  This mama was busy!

nest in grill

When Henry woke up the morning after Mr. Ernst baled the hay field during the night Henry said, “Yep, Mr. Ernst put marshmallows in the field last night.  BIG MARSHMALLOWS!”

marshmallow bales

Jack was cleaning out the gutters and left the ladder up.   I saw Henry heading for the ladder and asked him to not climb it because Nola Mae might follow him.  I grabbed the camera because I wanted to take a picture of the boy who hasn’t been listening.  I was going to do a blog post about this, because I needed to find some humor in our incredibly independent 4-year-old, who has his own way of doing everything.  I never got it done because I couldn’t find the time to do it. 

ladder

A dear friend of the family passed away un-expectantly this month.  After hearing the news I decided we needed to do something that we don’t do very often, fly Charlie’s dragon kite.

kite in field

We had an afternoon of kickball with me being the “all time pitcher” and the kids kicking the ball and running bases for as long as I can keep up.  I was talking about quitting soon and they were not even close to wanting to stop.  My idea to slow them down so I could maybe catch them once in a while was for them to give Nola Mae a kiss when they passed her.

Kick ball kisses R  kickball kisses Charlie    kick ball kisses H

We have been having a little drama here lately.  I heard some whimpering from that same independent 4-year-old that I mentioned earlier, while I was in the living room nursing Nola Mae.  I knew there wasn’t an injury (no screaming or sound of a thump) and I knew that there weren’t any older brothers around teasing him, so I tried to get him to talk to me from the other room.   When I finally came into the room this is what I found…all I could think of is the Wicked Witch of West under Dorothy’s house (maybe because my book club recently read Wicked).

Henry under chair

What is wrong with this picture?/What is good about this picture?

Baby is on the table./Baby is after fruit.

Big brothers not noticing baby on the table./Brothers sharing a chair and not fighting.

Door is wide open./Extra sunlight is coming into the house, no electricity needed.

Nola Mae table

Nola Mae in June, at 14 months old.

Nola Mae blue dress  Nola Mae at window

Nola Mae bench 3       Nola Mae bench 1

 Nola Mae bench 2

It is hard to capture Nola Mae in one place so behind the camera I need brothers to make her smile.  They agreed to have their picture taken with her.

four kids on bench

I started a jobs list for the boys, mostly paid jobs for them of jobs that I hate to do.  Vacuuming is one of the top 5 jobs I hate.  Vacuuming the stairs rarely gets done.  I showed Robbie and Charlie how I expect the stairs to be vacuumed and Charlie wasn’t interested in listening how I do it, but Robbie was.   I asked Robbie to wrap up the cord and put the vacuum away when he was done.  This is what I got…

boy vacuum

My sister, Danna, came to visit us this month.  We took her to our favorite place, but the water was too high for us to play.

Big Falls w Danna

Another weekend, Jack’s brother Eddie came to visit with his extra-large chainsaw.  Our oak tree in the pasture died within the last two years.  This summer is when we are finally getting to that job.

Before:

oak tree

During:

oak tree Eddie

After:

oak tree down

A couple of days later we took the kids down in the pasture so I could see the tree.  Jack took these great photos of them.

photos Robbie

Photos Charlie

Photos Henry

photos Nola Mae

photos all kids

Our first picking of strawberries from our patch.

2013 first strawberries

There was one day (yes, just one day!) that I actually sat down with a cup of coffee and my book.  If I remember correctly it wasn’t for very long, I will appreciate that little bit of time I had on the deck.  My book now stays on my night stand for my late night reading.

reading time

I am thankful for a sweet husband who is handy and can fix my breaks as soon as he realizes they are going bad.

Jack fixing breaks

I don’t know what to say about this one.   You may think I am a bad parent for letting my kid fall asleep like this, but at least I know his teeth were brushed at bedtime.

sleeping toothbrush

I have been busy sewing this month.  I took on a sewing job for a friend who does event planning and decorating.  I don’t know that she has a webpage, but she does have a Facebook page.  These are the beautiful fabrics I am working with:

wedding fabric

The ring slings I made this month:

This one is for me and Nola Mae while at the beach.ring sling pink gauze fabric

I walked into a restaurant in Stevens Point with Nola Mae in my plum-colored ring sling and a mom of a new baby asked me where she could get one of those.  I told her about the ring sling, Maya Wrap and also mentioned that she could make one because I made mine.  She asked me to make one for her.  We exchanged email addresses and phone numbers.

ring sling blue

Then I got orders to make two more.

ring sling green

ring sling plum w pink

May 2013 – Month 5

May 2013 – Month 5

We have been canoeing in the bowl at the ski hill for the past four years (I think).  Click here for better photos from April 12, 2011.  This year was the latest date, May 1st, we have ever paddled and March 16, 2012 was the earliest.

canoe in the bowl boys

canoe in the bowl

Jack took a video of Henry being cute pushing Nola Mae around on the upside down kitchen stool.  While doing that he captured some crazy stuff.  He put this movie together and titled it FourKidChaos:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhjH403j_j4

I was putting Nola Mae down for a nap and I found Henry getting the boys’ after school snack ready.  Henry is always so thoughtful and helpful.

Henry & fruit

Nola Mae has figured out how to climb on top of the piano to play music with her feet.  I am not sure if this link will work from Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=4867423086535&set=vb.1326037913&type=3&theater

Nola Mae musical feet

Grandma Helen came to visit us.  We had a busy weekend with activities around our house and farm.  Nola Mae watching a kickball game in the front yard.

Nola Mae bench

henry kick ball

This is the tree that fell down or we cut down the week Nola Mae was born.   That year on Saturday of Easter weekend we spent the morning making firewood.  I went into labor that night and had Nola Mae in the morning.  I will always remember this spot and refer to it as Nola Mae’s firewood.

family in the woods

Forging

Jack & Nola Mae

barn basketball CB

barn basketball RW

At some point during basketball Robbie found a soft spot in the floor.  Jack decided it was time to replace that part of the floor.  He put the boys to work and had this done before the end of the weekend. 

barn floor repair sweep

barn floor repair boys hammer

We got these stilts from Jack’s Aunt Corky.  Charlie was the one that was interested in them when Jack showed them how to use them.  I was surprised because he seems easily discouraged when trying new things.  Now that I think more about this…He wasn’t discouraged because Robbie wasn’t trying them and if Robbie did and was good at it Charlie would have quit.  (Something we have to be thoughtful of all the time!)  Charlie practiced every day for many days and is able to take many steps.

stilts Charlie

A couple of years ago we had to replace the south stone wall of our barn.  In order to minimize our cost with this repair we had the workers move the rock just outside the barn door into the pasture.  I didn’t think through this when it was happening.  This huge rock and dirt pile blocks my path to the north pasture and my access to the north side of the basement of the barn.  Plus it is an eye sore to me.  Last year, when I had a new baby, I wanted to work on moving the rocks.    It never happened!  So this spring, my plan was to move a bucket load a day.  It worked for about two weeks and the progress was slow.  I will get this path opened by the end of summer!

rock pile clean up

I started running this month and decided I needed to buy new shoes, more pink than I like, but they were the best for comfort and price!

new shoes

Once the snow melted and skiing was done I would walk/run around town for an hour, while Henry was in preschool, pushing Nola Mae in a single child jogging stroller.  My first run from home – pushing two kids loaded with water, snacks & a tablet (I didn’t want to have a restless Henry) in my bike trailer/stroller.  This load is a lot harder to push compared to pulling them in the ski sled while skiing!  It took me many runs to realize that I am out of shape but not terribly out of shape, I am just pushing a big load.  My 4.5 mile loop that I do from home was taking me 1 hour and 20-30 minutes.  One weekend morning I went for a run, all by myself, and ran that loop in 50 minutes.

stroller 1st ride

Nola Mae napped in the stroller during my run.  This photo is from later in the afternoon when my neighbor came over.  She helped load up some rocks into my tractor bucket and watched Henry and Nola Mae while I delivered the rocks to her yard for her landscaping project.

stroller 1st ride nap

Our sweet Nola Mae loves the phone.  The same day we went for our first run, loaded and delivered rocks, I was working in the kitchen and I needed Nola Mae to be happy for just a little bit longer.  I gave her the phone to play with.  That was the last time I thought I saw phone for three days!  I back tracked all my steps that day and all the places I was outside and in the house.  I could not find the phone.   I had Henry push the “find” button once I was in the garden, garage and barn.   For three days I cleaned under furniture, cleaned closets and cleaned the mud room, sort of cleaned the toy room, and walked all over the yard looking for that darn phone.  While I was walking around the yard I was reminded that I lost our phone last year, forever!   I thought maybe I would find that phone instead of the current lost one.  I will laugh so hard and probably pee my pants when I am 60 years old and working outside in the yard and I find a phone!

Since I was on a cleaning spree and the temps were dropping outside I decided I should clean out the ashes in the wood stove and wash the door window before I started a fire.  I laughed pretty hard (didn’t pee my pants) when I opened the stove door and found the phone!

missing phone

Iola has a city-wide rummage sale every year on the weekend of Mother’s day.  Last year I missed out because I was really sick.  This year, Henry and I hit a few jack-pots!  I had to take a photo of our goodies from just one sale.  All this for around $50.  (bike $5, lawn mower $20, two plug in heaters for chicken waters $10, buckets $1 each, pretty denim fabric $3 for 5 yards, swimming stuff $2, buttons $2 and glass wares $6)

rummage sale jack pot

Charlie bought this chess, checkers, backgammon, domino set from his teacher’s rummage sale for $1.  For as much as he loves to play chess this was his jack-pot!  I think that boy now owns three chess boards.

rummage sale Charlie's chess

Charlie has not been wanting to sleep in his bed lately.  So he will fall asleep in the door way of his room or on the couch while watching a movie.

Charlie sleeping floor  Charlie sleeping tie

I haven’t had a flat tire in a long time.  I got this one on my way to the ski hill to help my friend prepare for a bike race  IWSC was hosting.  I was thankful my Mom and Step-Dad made me take off and put back on all four tires on our family car before I could drive it.  A good reminder to do that with our kids.

flat tire

I discovered Nola Mae likes mud puddles.

Nola Mae puddle

Henry finished preschool and will go to 4K in the fall.  His preschool was two days/week for 2.5 hours each day.  4K will be two full days/week and he will ride the bus.  He loved school, enjoyed playing with most of the kids, loved his teachers and rarely gave me kisses good-bye.  I was reminded every school day that he is independent, very confident and my 3rd child when he would tell me, “Mama, just drop me off at the sidewalk. You don’t have to walk me in.”

Henry's preschool

When the older boys went to preschool this is what I remember:  Robbie didn’t want me to leave him, I always left quickly, he didn’t cry but was sad, and always gave me the biggest hugs and five kisses (that was the number of kisses he picked for our good-bye routine).   Charlie cried when Robbie went to school.  Charlie always gave me a quick kiss and hug when I dropped him off at preschool.

This soccer season was over so quickly.  And was a lot of fun for me to watch them play.

soccer team Charlie

Charlie is also in Robbie’s team photo because a few times Robbie’s team was short players.

soccer team Robbie

Nola Mae soccer ball

My dream of having a track star to cheer on may come true.  Robbie is showing signs of being a strong runner and he sure is a speedy boy.  Nola Mae loves running on the track.

Nola Mae Track

Jack took this photo.  I love it because Henry looks so peaceful and angelic.  I also find this photo to be funny because it looks like aliens are sucking his brain while he is rotting his brain while playing on the tablet. 

Henry tablet sunshine

Jack took all three boys for a camping trip with his brother’s family.  Our boys adore their older cousins.  I love these two pictures because you can see their happiness.

camping gravel pit CB & Erik

camping gravel pit RW & Michael

I met Jack and the boys at the nursing home to visit the Vater grandparents.  I spent a little bit of time outside with Nola Mae taking these pictures.  I couldn’t decide which one I liked the best so I had to include my four favorites.

Nola Mae outside 1  Nola Mae outside 2

Nola Mae outside 3 Nola Mae outside

Henry discovered these morels in my flower beds and strawberry patch.  This is about a quarter of what we picked and I ate.

mushrooms

Robbie brought this note home.  I was shocked only because he never gets in trouble at school!  I was not surprised because this is the kind of stuff he would do at home!

bad behavior art.IMG

Nola Mae rarely lets me feed her anything with a spoon.  She has to pick up her food with her fingers by herself!  Recently, I tried to give her some of my homemade applesauce but she has refused it because I was serving it to her on a spoon.  I had applesauce on the table for everyone, she grabbed Robbie’s bowl and started eating it and loved it!  She made a horrible mess.  And now eats it off a spoon from me.

applesauce Nola Mae

We have been getting some good rains this month.  Our rain gauge is broken so I never know how much.  The boys played outside in the last rain we got.

rain robbie

rain henry

rain charlies

Baby wearing photos:

Mother’s Day hike at Keller Lake, wearing Nola Mae in my Ergo.

mother's day w kids

Hiking in our woods, wearing my Zara Velvet wrap.

zara velvet wap I carry because I care

zara velvet wrap holding hands with Charlie

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 45 – November 5 – 11, 2012

Week 45 – November 5 – 11, 2012

(Completed 1/13/2012)

There was snow in the forecast this week, which means that we have hurry up and get a load of firewood in to the house.

firewood boys

The kayak building project helped Jack realize that he isn’t going to fit up old vehicles for use on our farm.  I am happy to have him woodworking than working on old trucks.  So off to the junk yard they went!

Jack bought this truck in 1998, moved his belongings to Iola from Platteville when he graduated and we moved in together.  I have looked at this truck for many years!  I was kind of sad to see it go.

truck for junk Samson

The recyling man came back for the second truck that was taking up my space in the garage.  I was happy to see this one go.

truck for junk

I bought apples this fall, since our tree didn’t have any, the boys weren’t eating them fast enough so I made them into apple sauce.  I love my mehu maija because we get the extra apple juice that would normally be cooked down in the apple sauce making process.

Henry stealing a little juice.  Thankfully it was cold.

applesauce juice

Nola Mae on my back.  Because if I didn’t “babywear” I would never get anything done!

wrap Zara Velvet making applesauce

applesauce juice 2012

Henry played in our first snow a little bit before going to school.

first snow 2012

I was able to walk to the voting polls while Henry was in preschool.  (There really was more snow at home than in town)

ergo off to vote

Nola Mae was very warm under her fleece body suit because I dress her in many colorful layers.  This is good practice for when the real snow arrives.

Nola Mae stripes

One of the things I love most…is walking into a room and finding one of our boys reading.

Robbie reading on floor

Two boys in one night!

Charlie reading at table

I had fun making and eating some homemade bread.

homemade bread

The boys spent a good amount of time standing all the Lincoln logs up.  I reminded them that Nola Mae or Henry may crash them down.

Linclon log towers

That gave them the idea to do it on purpose with Nola Mae

Lincoln log towers push

The kayak this week:

kayak front

One more round of sanding.  I don’t have the patience for sanding.

kayak sanded

Week 24 – June 11 – 17, 2012

Week 24 – June 11 – 17, 2012

Monday, June 11th: Today we started doing push-ups.  A long time ago I started the 100 push-ups challenge (http://hundredpushups.com/).  I blogged about the benefits of push-ups in March 2011, click here to read that post.  For some reason I stopped, if I am remembering correctly I had to repeat a certain week three times and was a little frustrated.  Now I am determined to try again.  Our total of push-ups for the three days we did them was 112.

Tuesday, June 12th:  Charlie wanted to carry Nola Mae.  He didn’t last long with her on his back because it took me a while to wrap them together.


Wednesday, June 13th:  Today one of our chickens laid this tiny egg. 

I am finally getting back to using my clothes line.  I had a few items that needed bleaching in the sun.  Most importantly, the reason why I took this picture is because girls’ clothes are so cute on Nola Mae and even on the clothes line!

Thursday, June 14th:  After the morning of summer school we went to the park for a picnic lunch and then to our favorite library.  Henry and I made egg salad for us.

After the library I made these chocolate chip cookies that everyone loved!  Secret ingredient…garbanzo beans!  This recipe came from the Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food  cookbook.  They were much better than the brownies that we made for Charlie to take to school.

Friday, June 15th:  This morning we went to Waupaca to run errands and met with my lactation consultant.  We have concerns that Nola Mae hasn’t been gaining weight at the normal rate a baby should.  I wasn’t too worried about this because I have been feeling like she is breastfeeding enough, even though I think she sleeps a lot, and was probably gaining weight.  I was wrong!  She hasn’t even gained the bare minimum in the last week and a half.  I left there with different things to try and plans to get another weight done in a week and a heavy weight of stress on my shoulders.

By the afternoon Nola Mae was crying, screaming, gassy, pooping and making whimpering/little moaning sounds during her sleepy times.  Henry seemed very concerned and was trying to make her happy here after a diaper change.

I nursed her often and wrapped her up and carried her around and this seemed to keep her happy.  During the night she had a fever.

Saturday, June 16th:  The only thing I accomplished today was finishing this Mei Tai that I made for my friend Sarah.

Sunday, June 17th:  What do Vater Boys do for Father’s Day?  Jack took the boys to the woods to make firewood.  His brother called to wish him a “Happy Father’s Day” and told me that he was building a wood shed with his kids.  I wasn’t surprised Eddie had news of a project to work on.  There is no sitting around in this family!

After Henry’s nap time we went to Little Falls.

Sometime I wish this cage was in our yard.

While I cooked Jack’s favorite dinner, Jack downloaded photos from the day and the boys surprised Jack by unloading the firewood from this morning.

Happy Father’s Day to the best Papa!

Week 22 – May 28 – June 3, 2012

Week 22 – May 28 – June 3, 2012

Monday, May 28th: We had friends over for a picnic today.  Robbie wrote this note and put it on the outside door for them to read when they arrived.

Tuesday, May 29th: Since Charlie has a summer birthday he celebrates his birthday at school in the spring.  Tonight he made brownies with secret ingredients (beets & carrots) from the book Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food .  We tested the brownies and they were good, Charlie liked them and still wanted to take them to school.  Our back up plan was a brownie box mix.  Nine out of the fourteen kids liked the brownies.

Wednesday, May 30th: This morning was very cold.  Henry waiting for breakfast.

Planting pepper plants.  It was cold but still warm enough for bare feet.

Thursday, May 31st: Every spring I wait patiently for my favorite flowers (lupines) to bloom.

My garlic is growing like crazy.  I planted 213 cloves last fall.  After the cultivating Robbie did to my already planted garlic patch, not much damage was done.  I counted 203 plants coming up.

Jack was traveling for work all week.  One thing that saved my sanity was taking the boys to the dead-end road for some biking.  Charlie can be such a sweet big brother, sometimes!

  Friday, June 1st:  Charlie had his kindergarten graduation.

After graduation and the PTO picnic we could take our kids home if we wanted to.  Robbie’s class had two kids left for the rest of the afternoon.  When Charlie went back to his class to get his things he saw that a lot of  his friends were staying and he wanted to stay.

I thought we could do something fun so we went to our favorite library.  Nola Mae comes from a family of many librarians, I think she is considering it.

 Our favorite librarian showed Robbie where the Star Wars section was.

Saturday, June 2nd:  Charlie’s creations have already started!  He wanted to make a shield today.  This is all his own design.

  

Then Robbie made his own with his own ideas.

               

Of course, Henry needed one too.  So we just copied Charlie’s design.  And they decorated them.

 

I wanted pictures and they wanted to pose.  How does a 3-year old know what to do?  He even has his own sound effects!

I had to include this one too.

Sunday, June 3rd:   I spent the weekend focusing on chickens.  I cleaned the chicken coop out completely.  It took me two days with Jack helping me with the kids and our meals.  Our little chicks that Charlie’s class and we hatched spent the day outside.  I am hoping this will help tame them a little.  I put them next to our reading blanket in the shade for a little while.

My poppies are starting to bloom!

Jack took the boys down to the woods to cut, split and stack firewood.  I joined them a little later.  I was impressed with the boys focus and hard work at stacking the firewood.

There was one minor distraction…a salamander.

 

 Charlie stacked over 140 pieces and Robbie stacked over 160 pieces of firewood.  All the piles you see in this photo were stacked today.

Heading home.

Week 14 – April 2 – 8, 2012

Week 14 – April 2 – 8, 2012

Monday, April 2nd:  We planted peas in the garden today.

I thought I was having some little signs of labor this evening, so I went to bed early.  Only to be woken up with an upset stomach and the start of puking my guts out began.  Henry followed me a few hours later and then Charlie a few hours after Henry.  We have an awesome bathroom for “camping out” during times of sickness.  This is where the three of us slept – Charlie in front of the washer & dryer and Henry and I slept on the futon covered in many layers of towels.

Tuesday, April 3rd:  Henry was cleaning my bathroom window while I did a little bit of cleaning after our night of sickness.

 

Wednesday, April 4th:  No photos because of our sickness.   It took me a few days to recover from the flu.  I was unable to eat any real meals until Saturday.

Thursday, April 5th:  A family photo after we were feeling better and before the baby arrived.

Friday, April 6th:  The big boys are on spring break.  They colored our Easter eggs.

We planted 100 trees.  The real story is that I planted about five, Henry planted one and Jack planted the rest.

Saturday, April 7th:  Henry’s 3rd birthday.  He was talking all week about getting out his “Happy Birthday Cake” from the freezer.  I am very glad that I made it a couple of weeks ago and froze it.

The rainbow inside!

We made firewood.

The boys played on the rocks in the pasture.

Sunday, April 8th:  Nola Mae arrived on Easter morning.  I am glad she has her own birthday.

Week 13 – March 26 – April 1, 2012

 Week 13 – March 26 – April 1, 2012

Monday, March 26th:  I made these “Knock You Naked Brownies” for my book club meeting.   I should mention that my book pick was The Birth HouseHere is the link to the book on Amazon.com.  It was a book enjoyed by everyone!  Thank you, Aunt Barbara for the recommendation!

Back to the brownies…

They were very yummy.  I shouldn’t have made them in my last weeks of pregnancy, because I wanted to eat them all!   While I was making them I realized I had made them before.  I had trouble taking them out of the pan (both times) while they were still warm, like the recipe says.  They were easier to remove from the pan once they were chilled.  It was frustrating and I swore I wouldn’t make them again (both times).  My friends’ response to the brownies convinced me that I will have to make them again.    Click here for the recipe.

Tuesday, March 27th:   Henry played outside a lot today.

 Just before dinner we saw him on the small gate talking to Mystique.  Jack went out with the camera to see what he was doing.  I thought he looked cute until I saw these pictures of him aiming the toy gun at her.

Wednesday, March 28th:   Another beautiful evening and perfect for a walk.  I think the boys had some kind of monkey in them today because they seemed to want to climb on everything!

 

Thursday, March 29th:  Robbie played basketball in the barn a lot this winter and now he has been spending time on the cement pad outside the garage dribbling the ball.

Friday, March 30th:  I started cleaning out the garden.  Last fall I didn’t have the energy to pull the corn stalks and milo out.  Today I did.  It took me two days to pull about five rows out.

Saturday, April 1st:  I got a little help from Robbie today with the milo.

Sunday, April 2nd:  We headed out to the garden after Jack tilled an area for us.

 

Robbie planting our first row of sweet corn.  It might be a little too early for this!

 I guess this is how Henry digs for worms.   I also saw him doing a head stand in the big hole that he and Charlie dug.  “Me looking for worms!”

 We walked down to the edge of the field to make firewood, first stop was to climb on the rocks in the pasture,

 the second stop was to check out the fort,

 and finally we were able to help Jack with the firewood.