Happy Birthday, Nola Mae! – Two-Years Old

Happy Birthday, Nola Mae! – Two-Years Old

Two years ago you started out as the biggest surprise of my life. When you were a few minutes old I still thought you were my fourth son. I saw your little bottom and thought, “Where is the penis?”  Still, thinking you were my fourth boy.  My midwife, Jane, asked “Jenny, Do you know?” Reality hit me and  I said, “Yes, but I don’t believe it.” Everyone else in the room knew you were a girl before I did.

Nola Mae new

3 generations with Nola Mae copy


Other surprises you have given me in your first year of life:

You can be so easy-going, not mind meals being interrupted by older brothers, and not put up a fuss when there isn’t any milk, and you were a baby that loved to sleep.

You learned quickly how to go up and down the stairs with very little practice and guidance.

You were happy and smiling 99% of your first year of life.

You loved to be held, wrapped, and carried.

wrap Light Rainbow  Nola Mae snow

You were a mama’s girl and would be a papa’s girl once Papa came home – diving into your papa’s arms when he would walk in the door.

Jack & Nola Mae

You adored your big brothers.

Charlie reading to Nola Mae

You were more adventurous and more of a climber than Henry.

In your second year of life your personality is shining:

You are fast.

You are strong.

You are smart and absorb everything around you.

You love to be high up.

keller lake Nola Mae climbing

You love to cross-country ski.

Ski Henry pulls Nola Mae

You love to be outside.

You love to play with cars and just started playing with babies.

You make “motor” sounds with your mouth.

You like to wear your babies on your back, “wrap”.

wrap scarf grass

You like to breastfeed your babies, “milkies”.

You just started to love taking a bath.

You can get yourself dressed and have preferences of what you want to wear.

You still love to be held, wrapped, and carried.

You love to sleep next to someone during every sleeping moment.

Henry & Nola Mae napping

You still adore your brothers and show great love and affection – my favorite thing is when you are on my lap and Henry comes to give us a hug you make sure to kiss him and pat his back.


You miss the boys and Papa when they are at school/work and often mention them.

Kitchen stool Nola Mae w Robbie

You love to color on your skin with markers more than on paper.

Marker head

You love to read and look at books.

Nola Mae book

I love it when you want to do something yourself, you say “self” or “SELF!!!!!”

My favorite thing you copy what I do is when I yell “I love you!” out the door to the boys when they are walking to the bus. You say, “love you!”

My favorite word  you say  is “Zata” for pizza.

You are constantly saying multiple words to tell me something and that started just the week before your birthday.  Your vocabulary is growing so quickly I can hardly keep track.

I am looking forward to seeing what other surprises you have for us in your little heart and head.  I know there is a lot of beauty inside you and I wish there was a magic potion I could rub on your head to help you see that you are going to grow up to be a smart and loving person who is glowing with beauty from the inside out.

Happy birthday, Nola Mae!

Nola Mae 2nd birthday

Our Last: 4-year-old Henry

Our Last:   4-year-old Henry

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

Family photo shoot Henry 2013

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

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

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

henry kick ball

Another one of my favorite paragraphs:

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

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

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


Henry is a great helper! 

Jobs Henry's coffee

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

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

Henry hearing protection blender  Henry hearing protection

And always ready to help as batman with rotten teeth.

Henry batman rotten teeth


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

Henry & fruit

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

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

Another day:

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

Henry: I’ll go put her away.

Me:  No, I’ll do it.

Henry:  I have shoes on, you stay in!


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

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

Piano Henry & Robbie

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


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

   henry drawing w baby in belly

 henry drawing of mama

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

Melted crayons art




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

I love the way his mind works.

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

hay marshmallows

One time he came to me…

Henry:  Does my face look sad?

Me:  Yes.

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

Me:  Yes.

Henry:  I can’t make it happier.


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

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

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


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


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


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

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

Another time in the car we had this conversation…

Henry:  There is a stinky girl on the bus.

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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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

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


A few weeks after Nola Mae was born…

Henry:  Do all babies have blood on thems head?

Me:  After they are born, yes.

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

Me: Fall in what?

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

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

Nola Mae's birth blog

B Pure Photography


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

Nola Mae's birth boys blog

B Pure Photography


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


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


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


“You should put some hair on Nola Mae.”


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


Henry’s first “selfie” that he took.

Henry first selfie


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

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



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

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



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.

Baby in Belly – Ready!

Baby in Belly – Ready!

I  can’t express how ready I am for this baby to arrive.  We have approximately 5 days until my Estimated Due Date.

We have had the flu in our house last week (Robbie) and now this week (me, Henry and Charlie).  I need to recover quickly from this flu bug.  I have never had sore tummy muscles from throwing up!  I am feeling better today after lounging around and sleeping all day yesterday.   It will take me a little time for the few extra loads of laundry, some disinfecting and getting caught up on sleep.  I am thankful this bug arrived before the baby.  The week Henry was born Jack, Robbie and Charlie got the flu at the same time and it was horrible.

Since the date of when it would be safe to have this baby at home has come and gone I have increased my activities.  We have been taking long walks, hanging clothes on the line, working the garden and planting a few things.  I am sweeping, mopping and believe it or not vacuuming more frequently than normal.  I also helped Jack and the boys make firewood over the weekend.

I have been entertained lately by many comments from friends and strangers.  Every time I go somewhere I can’t wait to hear what people will say as they see my big belly and know that I am getting close.

Last night when we went to vote one of the poll workers made a few comments… “another boy?” And then asked when my due date was. When I told her it was this coming Monday, she said “Thanks for coming to vote!” As if it was a big deal that I made it to the polls a week before my due date. Little did she know I was up all night puking my guts out and making sure two of my boys were puking in the toilet or a bucket.

There are more people in this world than I can count who seem to be more excited than I am for this baby to arrive.  Charlie came home from school last week complaining that everyone at school keeps asking him, “Is there a baby yet?”

One friend reminded me that my blog name will have to change.  I have forgotten about this!  It may take me a while to make a change because I am not creative and “Life with three boys” took me 6 months to come up with.

A couple other friends have told me that they would love to give me their girl clothes, which I would love too.  Most of my friends are dying with anticipation on whether this baby is a girl.  They of course have at least one girl and know how wonderful it is to have a daughter.

Robbie says he would love another brother and Charlie and Henry want a sister.  About 2 or 3 weeks ago Henry was very insistent that “when the next boy comes…”   Recently Henry started referring to his baby as a girl and that is about the time he told us, when asked, that he wants a sister.   I am unsure he understands genders yet.  Because Henry told me yesterday that I am a boy.  And when he grows up to be a Mama he is going to grow a big baby in his belly.

To be honest, I am terrified of having a daughter (now isn’t the time for me to go into those reasons).   I have come to realize over the last eight years that I can handle/tolerate and love the wildness, the cuteness, the love and the naughtiness boys bring to my life.  I don’t have any hope of a sister joining our mix of craziness.  So if this baby comes out a boy please don’t tell me how disappointed you are that I have another boy or how you wished that I had a girl!

Recently I had a conversation with Jack’s Grandma Siggie who had four boys.  She asked me if I thought this baby was a girl or a boy.  I said something to the effect, Do you really think I have a chance at having a girl?  Her response was, “No not really.  I never expected to have a girl when I was having babies.  Anyway, boys are much easier than girls.”  Grandma Siggie said a few other things that I can’t remember.  Her comments about the benefits of having all boys were all things that I have also thought.   It was reassuring to hear similar comments from another mama who I admire of all boys.

Henry and I often talk to this baby and tell him/her to come out soon.  A few days ago Henry said to my belly, “NOT NOW!  Jane not here to help us!”

Now we are just waiting and ready for this sweet little baby to join our family. I am trying to be patient!

Week 12 – March 19 – March 25, 2012

Week 12 – March 19 – March 25, 2012

Monday, March 19th:  My first load of laundry on the line this spring: diapers! I was so happy for them to see the sun for a couple of days.  They seem whiter and smelled good!

 First day outside for the chickens.  Henry the chicken catcher was busy harassing them.

 Tuesday, March 20th:  Brothers hiking and having a serious conversation.

 Wednesday, March 21st :  Henry wanted to ride this bike.  The big boys were helping him.  Later that night Jack put the training wheels on a bike for him.

We have had this wasted space in our upstairs bathroom since the remodeling project, six years ago.  Jack made these shelves this week.


Thursday, March 22nd:  A special birthday activity (an 8 year old’s idea of fun)…

 We went for a walk/bike on Sleepy Hollow.

 Wipe out on purpose.

Friday, March 23rd:  The first sign of my garlic.  I should have about 213 of these little green stems growing.  Remember they were planted a second time because Robbie cultivated the area up after I planted?  He didn’t know that I planted the garlic and he thought he was helping me work the ground.

Grilling his own sandwich.

Saturday, March 24th:  We went to visit our family for the weekend and to celebrate Grandma Elma’s 93rd birthday.

Sunday, March 25th:  Here are some of the items I have ready for the birth and the baby. 


Week 9 – February 27 – March 5, 2012

Week 9 – February 27 – March 5, 2012

Monday, February 27th:  Henry made his own snowballs while I worked on my blog on Sunday night.  We took this picture in the morning.  This is fresh toilet paper jammed in the button holes of the love seat.  He also told me a long story about his plans for more snowballs.  He would go to the shop with Papa and pound and drill holes in a big piece of wood for a place to put more snow balls.

Tuesday, February 28th:  Sword fighting is usually an outside activity (or inside when they go in the basement) at our house.  Robbie wanted me to take some photos of them sword fighting for the collage we are making for his VIP days.   I suggested we do it in the house, they loved that idea!  BUT only if they cleaned up all their toys, dirty socks and other things (I won’t mention the other things that were picked up for this photo shoot).

We were expecting a snow storm and I was hoping for a snow day in the morning.  I let the boys read late into the night.  The latest and greatest thing is that Robbie is reading to Charlie.  Robbie’s reading has improved a lot in the last couple months, he reads the words quickly and Charlie isn’t distracted or bored because the story is taking too long.


Wednesday, February 29th:  The storm produced enough yucky weather for our school to call a snow day.  We didn’t get as much snow that was predicted but enough to get us outside.  We went snowshoeing around our property because it was much less work than going skiing.   It is the first time this winter I was able to try out my snowshoes that I got for Christmas.

 Henry got a pair of snowshoes from Jack’s Aunt Barbara last year.  We were too busy skiing last year that we didn’t do much snowshoeing. 

 I was impressed with how well Henry did.  He fell a few times and I carried him for a few minutes about halfway through our hike. 

  It wasn’t too difficult to keep up with the older boys because they were constantly falling and having a snowball fight.  Our hike took us about an hour and a half, in the summer time this hike takes us about a half hour.   I saw the boys having a blast and bit my tongue many times because I hate snowballs!  Click here  to read my post from last winter on snowball fights.


Thursday, March 1st:  Henry has horns. 

Friday, March 2nd:  Henry worked very hard on this big square of Legos during the last couple days. 

Henry started with an outside border and then worked on filling the inside. I could see his brain working to find the right piece for each spot. I had to show him that the single row Legos could fill those tiny spots. That made him happy. He was very proud to show Charlie this when Charlie got home from school. I needed to coach Charlie a little bit on being excited and impressed with Henry’s Legos.

After our snow day we had warm temperatures.  Not that the temps really matter to Henry.  He seems to think he can go outside if he at least has pants and boots on.

Saturday, March 3rd:  Jack took the big boys away for the weekend to visit his brother and family.  Henry and I worked on cleaning, organizing and rearranging my bedroom so it is ready for when the baby is born.  I laughed to myself when I gave Henry the job to vacuum inside my dresser.  I AM NOT A CLEAN FREAK!  I went a little over board!  I had to take this photo for my sister, Emily, she is the clean freak in the family!  Who vacuums the inside of their dressers?


Sunday, March 4th:  I had high hopes of making serious progress on my cleaning list.  Instead we took 2+ hour naps each day, cuddled by the fire, read books, snacked every two hours.  I was pleased with my progress in my bedroom and the kitchen because I made two different kinds of soup for my stash in the freezer.

I have plans to do a post on Henry’s favorite books.  Because these aren’t really his favorites. 

Henry’s pile of books from our cuddling and reading times:


Baby in Belly – Almost There

Baby in Belly – Almost There

I haven’t been feeling as positive lately with my emotions or physically. I am hesitant to start this post in fear that this will be full of complaining and whining.

I feel like since my last post about my pregnancy I used up all my positive energy and I have taken a downward spiral to the bottom of the earth.  I want this baby out so I can get going with giving birth, my recovery and my life back to normal.  There is a slight problem with this; I don’t know what normal will be with four children and right now is too soon to have this baby on the outside!

The reasons for this:

I have no energy, no patience and no appetite!
I have been sleeping and lying around a lot.
The snow conditions are horrible for me and the boys to play in.
I have a horrible cold, cough and my voice is gone.
I have felt like a bad mother and wife.                                                                               Recently I have had a lot of Braxton Hick contractions.

Because of these things, our life has led to this:

A really trashed house, not so healthy meals and Jack doing some of the cooking.
We have had very little physical activity outside.
There has been too much movie watching for kids.
We have very wild and naughty boys (due to the above reasons!).
Thankfully, my voice is gone because I can’t scream like I want to and my swear words can’t be heard.

I was able to meet with my midwife when the Braxton Hicks contractions were happening frequently.  I was very nervous not knowing if they were the real ones or the practice ones.  She reassured me everything was okay, sent me home with Black Haw drops to take and permission to not over do it and to take it easy.  I haven’t needed the Black Haw and the Braxton Hicks contractions have stayed away for over two weeks.  I still have a few Braxton Hicks contractions each day, but this is completely normal!

I have been taking it easy and am slowly trying to catch up on things around the house.  When I was lying around a lot it was hard not to worry about things and feel panic with every little movement or feeling in my belly.  So one day I spent time in my sewing room.  I felt better because I actually was doing something and my mind was distracted.  I am starting to think of the things I need to do to prepare my home and my bedroom for a home birth.   My home birth supplies were ordered this week from Radiant Belly

The root cause of some of my troubles:

I figured out this week that some of my emotional instability has come from realizing the end of my last pregnancy is near.  I really don’t want this baby to come out any sooner than April.  This is my last pregnancy and an end to one of the many stages in motherhood.  Thinking about never ever being able to have another baby grow inside my belly makes me very very sad!  (Thanks, Jessie for helping me realize this)

I love being pregnant! 

I love my midwives and will miss seeing them regularly.

I love the amazing things that go on inside with every stage of my baby’s development.

  I love watching my belly grow. 

I love feeling the baby moving.

I love thinking about what this baby will look like, what kind of personality this baby will have, and how this baby will change the dynamics in our family.

I love the conversations I have with our three boys about this baby and hearing what is on their mind.  And I try to imagine the look of love that will be on their faces when they first meet our new baby.

I love the comments I get from my friends and even strangers about looking beautiful.  Because I feel beautiful, most days.

 I love it when Jack’s Grandma Elma encourages me to have a second helping of food because “you are eating for two!”

  I love watching the numbers on the scale get bigger, knowing that they will go back down again.

I love the adventure and challenge of labor and giving birth.

I love holding my new-born baby in my arms for the very first time.

I love breastfeeding my babies.

  And last but not least, I love not having a period.

Things are starting to look up:

We have gotten a little snow to keep my Saturday ski class going and we now have some man-made snow on our trails.  I skied last week for the first time in over a week, at Henry’s pace.  At least I had skis on! 

And again on Saturday morning trying to keep up with Robbie and Charlie and friends.  I took a short cut to get in front of them for this photo.


Movie watching only happens on the weekends.  The older boys have been listening better, reading more, playing with Legos and doing more jobs around the house.

A high light of my week was a visit from Aunt Susie! 


As I was struggling putting my socks on one morning, Henry said to me, “Yours belly is full! You can’t get anymore food, candy and medicine (he means vitamins)!”

I am getting to bed early (before 10:00) and I am feeling more rested every day.  It disgust me to wake up on my own before my alarm goes off at 5:30!

I saw my midwives last week.  They understood my frustrations and annoyances with everyone and everything in my life at that time.   They also opened my eyes to some wonderful home remedies to work on this cold and cough.  I saw improvements within 24 hours!  And now my cold is gone.  My voice isn’t back 100%. My voice has improved enough that I have had to stop swearing.

Once my cold symptoms were gone my energy level came back.

My patience has come back.

The baby’s head is down, for now, but facing the wrong way.  I am doing some exercises that will help turn the baby around.   I will see my midwives at the end of the week to see if there is any change in the baby’s position.

My blood pressure is good, I am measuring very close to number of weeks I am and my weight gain is around 20 pounds.

My home visit with the midwives will be scheduled for sometime next month.

Baby in Belly – over half way there

Baby in Belly – over half way there!

It has been a while since my post Baby in Belly. It is hard for me to believe that I am already past half way.  (I started this post when I was around half way there and haven’t  finished the post until now.)

I finally have a belly that indicates there truly is a baby in there. I feel wonderful, energized, full of love and life.  I don’t want this to end!

baby in belly front door w Henry

Henry wanted his own belly shot.

baby in belly Henry copying

I have wanted to be excited about this fourth baby since the beginning and to tell the whole world. But sometimes life can take a turn that you don’t expect and then there could be heart-break. I wasn’t ready or willing to have my heart-broken. I have this wonderful mechanism that helps me to be excited secretly but still not get my hopes up, I guess this is a nice way of saying denial. Since this baby will complete My Dream Come True story I wanted to make sure he/she was here to stay before I shared my news with everyone.

Side note: With every pregnancy I have this time period of denial, not because I didn’t want that pregnancy to happen. Because I was dying for it to happen!  It is hard for me to believe when it actually does happened because I have waited a long time for each of my precious babies. When I finally get a positive home pregnancy test I still can’t believe it (that is why I buy them in two packs). If I am remembering correctly I used three home pregnancy tests at the beginning of my pregnancy with Charlie. I know my non-existent menstrual period should also be an indicator, that just isn’t good enough!

I had my typical morning sickness hit during the same week as my past pregnancies and like clock work it arrived at the same time of day – 3:00 in the afternoon and it lasted until about 8:00 PM. This went on for two months or so and disappeared around the same time it did with the other three boys. I felt like my morning sickness was a little harder this time.  Due to the fact that we have three boys running around, I had to go on with my daily jobs and still feed everyone. The tasks of thinking of meals, cooking them and eating them were not things I could accomplish very easily. I had no appetite; no energy and feeling nauseated made it difficult for me to keep up with my garden, cooking meals, after school activities and our evening routine. I remember one of my most challenging days was when I rested on the couch for four hours not being able to find enough energy to move or get up. I loved it at least that is what I kept telling myself. The thought of this baby still growing inside of me made that day and other days bearable. I never complained. I have enjoyed every minute of this pregnancy since I accepted the fact that I am pregnant.

I feel brave to admit that this is my best pregnancy.  Or maybe because it is my last pregnancy and I am enjoying every second.  The things that are making it the best are:  the wisdom I have gained from the previous three pregnancies, I have three little boys and a great husband to share this with, I have two wonderful midwives that I love and trust, a great family doctor who agrees that it is okay to have a baby at home, I will be attempting my second home birth, I am not taking any medications or shots and my belly is beautiful and free of bruises (the heparin shots caused bruises that ranged in the size of a dime to a fifty cent piece).

There are days that I forget that I am growing a baby.  Those are the days that I stay up too late with friends, blogging, reading, and sewing or work hard with out sitting down to rest until I am completely wiped out.

Then there are days I am reminded frequently that we really are going to have a new baby in our house this spring: strangers have started making comments about my belly, my family and friends are starting to touch my belly and talk to the baby, the boys are always touching, hugging and kissing my belly, my belly gets hot when I am cooking on the stove, and wet when I am doing the dishes, and I no longer fit in my button and zipper pants. Finally I am feeling those wonderful fluttering movements on the inside.  The movements are getting stronger and more frequent with each new day.

April still seems so far away.  I am getting very excited about the things that will happen at our house this spring:

  • Spring time skiing is my absolute favorite thing to do! (according to Charlie all you need is your bathrobe and a fleece jacket.)

2011 spring skiing brothers

I won’t be carrying Henry on my back this year.

 2011 spring skiing w Henry

  • Making firewood.  My great-grandmother split firewood into her 90s, so why can’t I do it while pregnant and in my 40s?  I can only hope that I will still be splitting firewood in my 90s.

(These are photos just days before Henry was born)

4-4-09 making firewood Robbie mall

   4-4-09 making firewood smiles

  • Getting kisses in the woods from my boys while taking a rest from making firewood.

                       4-4-09 making firewood kiss   4-4-09 making firewood Charlie

  • Coloring Easter eggs with just three boys.



  • Giving birth to a happy and healthy baby that weighs less than nine pounds!

4-11-09 Jane weighs Henry


  • Holding my precious new baby while watching the three big boys build barns with their blocks and train tracks in my living room.  Or maybe they will be wrestling and I will have to send them outside.  (Henry – two days old)

4-9-09 Henry 2 days old


  • Being able to eat/drink my favorite things.  I have started a list of things I want to eat/drink (of course not at one time):  pumpkin pie, pumpkin bars, my carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, my mom’s cheesecake, cinnamon rolls, frozen mini snickers bars, Sunny Caramels, caramel and cashews on ice cream or the best caramel cashew frozen custard from Kopps in Milwaukee,  and drinking my favorite beers – Guinness, Shine On, Mud Puppy Porter and maybe I would like to have one of Jack’s bourbon and Cokes because they smell so good to me right now.
  • Seeing flowers again.

4-8-09 spring flowers

Jack’s Aunt Bonnie told me when I was pregnant with Robbie, “Enjoy it now.  When they are on the inside that is when babies are the easiest to take care of.”   I agreed with her.   Although I didn’t really understand the truth of her comment until Robbie was born and wished he went back inside until he was ready to come out a little happier.

I am not going to rush this winter season or this pregnancy.  I am going to love every day we have snow on the ground.  I just wish enough snow would arrive so we can start skiing!  I will cross-country ski as much as possible.  I will continue to love every minute of this pregnancy and wait patiently for this baby to arrive.

Baby in Belly

Baby in Belly

Henry showed me today that he has a baby in his belly, by putting a ball in his overalls.

belly Henry 1 Oct belly Henry 2 Oct belly Henry 3 Oct

I guess he has been listening and understands what is going on inside my belly.

Yes, it is true baby #4 is brewing to arrive the spring of 2012!

my baby in belly

Last week on Robbie’s birthday he gave me a hug after opening his gifts and noticed my “bigger” belly and asked if I was going to have another baby.  I was surprised by his comment.  I looked down at my belly and realized that my belly is getting bigger.  It is time to start sharing our news.  I had hoped to tell more of my friends in person and our extended family in a more personal way.   This seems to be the best way for me to spread the word.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is your due date?    Sometime in the spring, after skiing is done!  I am not counting weeks and days at this point.  We all know babies come when they are ready.  I will patiently wait and enjoy every day of this pregnancy.

Was this planned?    If you know me well enough to know how many children I have always dreamed of having then you know the answer.  If you don’t then please don’t ask.  Some of the best kids were surprises to their parents (me being one of them)!

Are you trying/hoping for a girl?    NO!  I gave that up two babies ago!

Will you do another home birth?    Yes, I sure hope so and will do every thing I can to make it possible!

 Are you doing the heparin shots?  No.  I used heparin with Robbie and Charlie’s pregnancies until 34 weeks.  After consulting with a perinatologist and my midwife it was determined that I don’t need to use heparin to maintain a pregnancy.  I was 18 weeks pregnant with Henry at that time, with two weeks worth of meds left, I stopped the heparin at 20 weeks with Henry.  Lately, I have had many worrisome days.  I am renting a doppler from babybeat.com .  I am reassured everyday that things are still good on the inside.

Will you find out the gender of this baby?    No!  I love this kind of surprise (this might be the only kind of surprise I like).  Plus, not knowing is a good motivator for me in those last few moments of pushing to get that baby out!

I’m not normal (& neither are my friends)

Recently I was told that the way I parent doesn’t fit in the norms of this society.  Our parenting  isn’t normal in our society; it’s better!

Our boys are being raised in a farm environment, we do many activities with our boys (camping, snowshoeing, x-c skiing, making firewood, sewing and woodworking – just to name a few).  We take time to teach them skills and expose them to different experiences.   Show me a  5 and 7-year-old that can cut veggies for soup, or split a piece of wood with a splitting mall, sew on a sewing machine or make something on the lathe.


I have learned many things from the parenting books I have read,  from my mother, my mother-in-law, my sister and many other mothers in my life who I admire.

Below are some statistics that my Mom found on just a few topics relating to my parenting.  I was curious to see how my friends and I (22 of us) matched up to the “Norms”.  I have included our statistics.  If I went deeper it would only show more areas where I am not normal.  


99.38% of births are in Hospitals or are unplanned out of hospital
.62% are planned home births  (www.uptodate.com/contents/planned-home-birth)

 My friends and I:  Planned Home Births – 36%  &  Hospital Births – 64%


64% of mothers initiated Breastfeeding
29% at still breastfeeding at 6 mos
6% were still breastfeeding at 12 mos

 My friends and I: Were still breastfeeding at 12 months + – 100%


68% of mothers with college degrees and with children under 6 yrs are in the workforce.(smartmomma.com/work_career/can’t_we_get_along.htm)

 My friends and I: Stay-at-home Moms  – 73% & Working Moms – 27%


99% of households have TV and on average, children ages 2-5 spend 32 hours a week in front of a TV—watching television, DVDs, DVR and videos, and using a game console.
90% households have cable TV or the equivalent
1% don’t have a TV  (www.csun.edu/science/health/docs/tv&health.html)

 My friends and I:  0% of my friends’ kids spend anywhere close to 32 hours in front of the TV—watching television, DVDs, DVR and videos, and using a game console!


My friends and I: No TV – 55% & Have TVs  – 45%


94% of parents spank their child by the time the child is 4 yrs (Psychology Today)
25% of those use an object to spank a child
6% never spank   (www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200210/spare-the-rod)

 My friends and I: Never Spank – 77% &  Spank – 23%.

I’m Not too NORMAL, are you?