December 2015

We have had a crazy start of winter.

The first snowfall was pretty lame.  Nola Mae was excited with the dusting of snow, so much, that she wanted to harvest all the snow so she could eat it.

1st snow harvest on rocks

1st snow harvest

Then it disappeared.

We hiked at Iola Winter Sports Club.

ski hill hike shelter

ski hill hike

ski hill hike babywearing

The boys wanted to walk to school, so I dropped them off at the high school when I dropped Robbie off for band.

walking to school

I started the school year caring for Bailey while her parents work.  Occasionally, my friend Jack comes.  In December, temporarily, I started caring for a 23 month old.  My house was full when the three of them were here to play with me and Nola Mae.  It was a wonderful day and I had so much fun!

reading daycare

The next day, I spent on the couch.  They whipped me good!

day after daycare

A little flexible!

flexible

Gifts for Christmas:

Henry made zombie guys for his siblings.

henry's zombies

Robbie made a fleece soccer blanket for Charlie.

soccer fleece blanket

Cookies for Christmas.     christmas cookies 2015

christmas stockings 2015

christmas tree 2015

My Frozen inspired cape.  I made one for Nola Mae and Bailey.

frozen cape snowflakes

Nola Mae tells me it is supposed to drag on the floor.  I may attempt to make some adjustments.

    frozen cape snowflakes Nola Mae

Our annual family profile.

2015 Family Profile

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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

Frist Spring Walks

We have started our spring time walks since the sun is setting a little later in the day.   Our first evening walk was on snow shoes earlier in March.

 Dusk snow shoe 1 Dusk snow shoe 3 Dusk snow shoe 2

Dusk snow shoe 6 Dusk snow shoe 5 Dusk snow shoe 4

Lately the snow is too deep and wet for us to walk around our property.  Maybe snow shoes would still work on the very wet snow.

We tried just walking on the snow in the afternoon on Easter. There was lots of tears because the snow was getting inside our boots and for the 15 minutes we were out there the wind picked up and we got a 10 minute blizzard.  These two photos were taken within minutes of each other.

Easter blizzard boys on melting pond

On one of our most recent walks Robbie took a stick along.  I don’t understand the need to carry a stick.

I took these photos of him attacking the big snow chunks that were left by the snow plow.  These walks are a good time to expel some energy outside. Robbie has the most energy!

 spring walk RW jumps 1

spring walk RW jumps 2

spring walk RW jumps 3

spring walk RW jumps 4

Other shots of him in the air:

spring walk RW jumps air 1

spring walk RW jumps air

Nola Mae was cozy in the jogging stroller.  I am planning on doing a 5k run on April 13th in Marshfield with my friend Kristin.  Kristin is letting us use her stroller until then so I can make sure Nola Mae is okay riding in it.

spring walk Nola Mae

I don’t understand the need to walk in puddles

spring walk H

or the need to drive your bike into a snow bank.

spring walk CB bike

spring walk CB & H bike

This sign was put up in the fall of 2012.

spring walk school bus stop

Week 23 – June 4 -10, 2012

Week 23 – June 4 -10, 2012

Monday, June 4th:  This evening a storm brought us some much-needed rain and great entertainment for the boys.  Our spring was so dry there haven’t been many dams built here in our “pond” area.

During the storm Nola Mae napped in my arms while I read my book.  Next year she’ll be building dams with her brothers.  Or maybe destroying the dams they build.

Tuesday, June 5th:  I have mentioned before how Henry can be very gentle with our job of collecting 20+ eggs into a bucket and not break a single one.  But when it comes to chicks and chickens it seems like he likes to catch them and stick them in places where they don’t belong…a boot or a cooler are the most popular places.   I sprinted for the camera and then saved the chick.

“Look, Mama!  It fits in my Granny boots!”  He calls his boots “Granny boots”  because we left them there once, he forgot he even had them and when we went back to Granny’s he thought she gave them to him.

 Wednesday, June 6th:  Summer vacation started off with a great first day.  I bought the boys the game Battleship.  I loved playing this when I was younger and I thought they were ready for it.  They started playing this game the night before and were eager to finish it this morning.

Charlie and I planted my five hanging baskets around the milk house.  The big job this summer will be to keep them alive.

All three boys picked strawberries for lunch from our little patch.  I am reconsidering my plan to till up our strawberry patch.

I am not sure what the reason for this little bit of cuddling Nola Mae was getting from Robbie.   It is a rare occasion.   All I remember is running for the camera to take this picture.  I am kind of remembering he was icing his foot.

 Thursday, June 7th:  This maple tree by the garden is much bigger since Henry was a baby in the spring of 2009.  He slept under this tree for many hours that first summer while we worked/played in the garden.  Robbie joined Nola Mae under the tree to do some writing and drawing.  I got a little bit of work done in the garden.

Nola Mae’s first nap under the maple tree.

Lately, Charlie has become more interested in Mystique.  Today he spent a lot of time brushing her.

Our first picnic lunch.  The boys were excited.   I set it up and surprised them.  They ate very well and willingly helped with the clean-up.  I may have to do this more often.


 

Friday, June 8th:  We left this morning for a weekend of hiking and camping on the Mississippi River.   We stopped in Black River Falls for one of our breaks.

I wonder how many Lion bubblers are still around.

We arrived at our final destination…Perrot State Park.  Jack and Helen took awesome photos all weekend.  It was very difficult to choose which ones to post here.  If I can find some time this week I may do a post of my favorite photos from our weekend. 

 Saturday, June 9th:  Nola Mae slept very well for her first night in a tent!

The temps were hot during the day and wonderfully cold at night. I didn’t pack many warm blankets and I forgot Henry’s blanket so Jack and Henry covered up with the table-cloth I brought along.

A little bit of tears and dirty hands make for a cute little boy.

   We hiked for an hour up to the top of one of the bluffs.  Jack carried Henry to the top and Henry hiked down.

Sunday, June 10th:  On Sunday our hike was at least two hours.  Henry wasn’t interested in being carried this time.  So he hiked the whole thing!  We met some hikers on the way up the bluff and the lady made some comment doubting that the boys could do the whole thing.  I wish she was at the end of the trail to see they all made it.

Before we left the park we all took showers.  My hope was to wash away any poison ivy that was touched.  It seemed like it was every where I looked and every where the boys stepped.  (I am busy washing EVERYTHING from the weekend – shoes, clothes and bedding.)  So far, knock on wood, there is no sign of poison ivy!

 As I was looking through my photos for this week’s post I found these of  Nola Mae’s first bath in the sink.  She loved it.  Robbie was our photographer.

Our first week with Nola Mae Margaret

Our first week with Nola Mae Margaret

Nola Mae Margaret

The birth announcement for the newspaper was written by Grandma Helen (A.K.A. Hanna) the family genealogist:

A daughter, Nola Mae Margaret Vater, was born at home on Easter morning, April 8, 2012, to Jack and Jenny Vater of rural Iola, Wisconsin.  The birth was attended by In the Beginning Midwives – Jane Peterson, Christie Woodliff, and Korina Pubanz.

 She weighed 9 pounds and 3 ounces and was 21 1/2 inches long.

 Nola Mae has brothers Robert (age 8), Charles (age 6), and Henry (age 3). 

Grandparents are Jerry and Alice Hamm, Owen, Robert Schroeder and Lynn Hunsicker, Milwaukee, Rob and Helen Blaha, Loyal, and Neil P. Vater, deceased.

Great-grandparents are Neil and Eileen Vater, Owen, Ed and Elma Eloranta, Owen, Richard Fabian, Sussex and Barb Hunsicker, Port Washington.

Here is the birth announcement that was made on Facebook by our midwives:

The joy and celebration of welcoming a daughter on Easter morning moved us all.  Her 3 brothers will have so much to teach her, like the biology lesson her brother Henry who watched her coming shared moments later with the vivid details only an amazed 3-year-old boy could tell with such excitement!! And her beautiful name is Nola Mae.

My favorite photos from Nola Mae’s first week…

Saturday, April 7th:  Jack woke me up early to take the last belly shot that I wanted because the lighting was perfect.  We didn’t know this was going to be my last morning with my baby belly.

Sunday, April 8th:  Nola Mae made sure she had her own birthday, one day after Henry’s.  I wasn’t too surprised that Henry woke up early enough to witness the birth.

Monday, April 9th:  Today was the last day for Robbie and Charlie’s spring break.  My Mom and Helen were here on this day working so hard keeping the boys busy, cleaning, doing laundry and cooking many meals.

Tuesday, April 10th:  Our boys learned how to Eskimo kiss from Jack.

Wednesday, April 11th:  Our first day out in the sunshine.

Thursday, April 12th:  Henry making sure Nola Mae’s clothes are okay for her to wear.

Friday, April 13th:  Henry reading books to Nola Mae.

 

Saturday, April 14th:  My Dad and Step-Mom, Lynn came to visit for the day.  They brought us lunch, played with the boys and we all went for a hike in the woods.

Sunday, April 15th:  Our first time “do two of them” in Henry’s words.