April 2013 – Month 4

April 2013 – Month 4

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

last ski

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

last ski 2013 a Last ski b

last ski c

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

B-day Helen

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

cake Henry birthday

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

lantern send off

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

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

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

cake Nola Mae cupcake

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

b-day cupcake boys

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

Reading Henry waiting

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

Charlie before  Charlie after

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

April ice & snow

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

medal 5K

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

Black Bean soup ingredients  Black Bean soup veggies

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

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

egg double yolk w shell

Here is what a normal double yoke should look like!

egg double yolk healthy

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

Snowman Window  snowman Nola Mae wants to help

Actually three of them.

Snowman & boys

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

Game table Nola Mae

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

Game table Nola Mae tops

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

Nola Mae icycles

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

Henry's skelaton drawing  Henry's skelaton created

April 26th – crocuses blooming in my ditch.

Crocus in the ditch

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

Zara Velvet Wrap walk around town

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

Nola Mae watching brothers

 Play house train

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

Nola Mae Blue eyes

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

capes

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

 soap small bars

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

Soap felted

soap in basket

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

Winter of Skiing (2013)

Winter of Skiing 2013

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

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

Iola Winter Sport Club Sign  IWSC Trails

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

pistenbully small

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

 IWSC stick hiker

skiing green

IWSC snowy trail

 

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

Ski class 2013

skiing to shelter

skis at shelter

Birkie ski

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

skiing Henry

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

Skiing family day

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

Skiing Jan 25th  ski sled w snow

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

Nola Mae Jenny  Henry Vater

skiing sled

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

skiing sled (2)

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

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

egg hunt on skis

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

skiing with grandma

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

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

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

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

ski pulling

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

last ski wipe out

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

last ski wipe out tears

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

March 2013 – Month 3

March 2013 – Month 3

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

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

Charlie reads to Nola Mae

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

Tissue Nola Mae 1  Tissue Nola Mae 2

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

Robbie's lego design

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

Bad word jar

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

  Nine Months In.                      Nine Months Out.

Shadow Baby Belly 2012  Shadow  Baby on back 2013

Jack’s  birthday is this month.

Jack w Nola Mae

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

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

Anna Snow shoe

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

Charlie on pond

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

snowshoe 7 sled

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

Nola Mae window

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

Family ski

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

Nola Mae loves snow

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

egg hunt on skis

More outside photos are in my First Spring Walks post.

 This Moment – My Skiing Partner.

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

Nola Mae Climbs 2 Nola Mae Climbs 3

Nola Mae climbs 4    Nola Mae climbs 5

And she has gotten into some messy things.

Nola Mae black mouth

Nola Mae Nutella

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

Game table Jack

Coloring eggs is always fun for the boys.

eggs coloring 2013

eggs colored 2013

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

soap cutting coloring

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

Soap bars cut

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

Three brothers  Nola Mae in purple

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

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

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

wrap paper  Henry's Mei Tai

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

wrap stash

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

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

wrap ligth rainbow DHTT 2 wrap light rainbow DHTT 1

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

Cake nuking

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

January 2013 – Month 1

January 2013

(Completed on 2/17/13)

This month I was hoping to ski as often as we could.  One week I thought I would focus on sewing, but didn’t get much done because the snow was good and we went skiing instead.

My week of sewing was a flop.  It took me all month and then some, to get done what I was hoping to in that week.  I am planning on writing a blog post about my January sewing (maybe it will turn into a post about my winter sewing).

One memorable beautiful and warm day I headed out to ski with Henry on skis and Nola Mae in the sled.  Henry skied for 45 minutes on the blue trail!

My plan was to do the whole blue loop with them.  Once Henry got tired I would put him in the sled and carry Nola Mae on my back and finish the loop.  We got pretty far in 45 minutes!  After Henry was “done” I put him in the sled.   Henry held Nola Mae on his lap while I got out the Ergo.  The two of them looked comfortable and fit nicely together.  Henry said he was warm and comfortable with Nola Mae.  I shoved the Ergo back into the sled, made some adjustments to them and the blankets and quickly put on my skis.  They both were sleeping within 10 minutes.  I decided that since they were happy and sleeping I would do the black loop instead!  They got a 1.5 hour nap while I got one of my best skiing in this winter.  When we finally stopped I got out the camera to take a photo of them.  Of course as soon as I stopped Nola Mae woke up and started crying.  I guarantee you these are the only tears.

Henry skiing Jan 7th  ski sled Henry & Nola Mae

The boys had a day off from school.  We went skiing!

A little bit of gummy bribes got them to ski farther.  Since that day Henry thinks we should take a gummy break at the shelter every time we pass it.

Henry skiing Jan 25th  Skiing Jan 25th

Jack took the boys to the top of our hill in the field for sledding.

Henry sledding

Charlie was home sick for a week.   Charlie did a lot of reading while he was resting during his sick days. The day before he went back to school he seemed well.  I kept him one more day because I felt like he needed one more day to rest.  Thankfully because that morning after Jack went off to work and Robbie off on the bus I was not feeling well.  Charlie was a huge helper with Henry and Nola Mae for the first half of the day.  By 12:30 I was ready for a nap.  All four of us went to my room and slept for four hours!

Charlie reading

Nola Mae received this beautiful sweet pea sweater from my friend Meredith.

Sweet Pea sweater Nola Mae

We had a few really cold days this month and one day I felt like baking and made cinnamon rolls.  These were my best cinnamon rolls ever!

cold morning cinnamon buns

Nola Mae is not close to helping with the dishes.  She, like her brothers, goes for the knives first.  Maybe we can call that helping because I put away the silverware as fast as I can.

Dishwasher Nola Mae

Nola Mae has been drawn to this end table since the day she “disappeared” on me when she started scouting around the house.   Her Grandpa Neil P. Vater made this end table many years ago.  She loves the drawers.

end table drawer 1

We stored Legos in the drawers. The Legos had to be moved.  Sometimes I put her toys in the drawers when she isn’t looking.  Or I have played a game with her by putting a book/toy in one of the drawers when she is looking and then she finds it.end table drawer 2  end table drawer 3

My Aunt Chris has made a blanket for each of our kids.  Nola Mae’s blanket arrived this month.

Aunt Chris blankets

By the end of the month these drawers in the end table aren’t so exciting anymore.   She may be stealing Henry’s baby nickname of “Heart Attack Henry” (click here to see my post on Henry).  When I saw her like this I grabbed the camera and sprinted into the living room to get these photos and to take her down.

Nola Mae end table 1    Nola Mae end table 2

 Nola Mae has been innocently standing at this stool we have in the kitchen for a couple of months now.  Now that she is looking for more excitement she has been having fun.  (Notice this crazy girl holding on with one hand in the last picture.)

Kitchen stool Nola Mae 1 Kitchen stool Nola Mae 2 Kitchen stool Nola Mae 3 Kitchen stool Nola Mae w Robbie

Nola Mae has joined us at the table.  From the beginning of her eating foods she has fed herself.  I learned later in my motherhood about Baby Led Weaning – “no purees, no ice-cube trays, no food processor, no potato masher, no baby rice, no weird fruit and veggie combos… just you and your child, eating food that you enjoy with you and your family.” (http://www.babyledweaning.com/)

Nola Mae joins the table

I visited my Dad just before Christmas and he gave us a box of store-bought wipes that he had left over from his fall hunting.  I took this picture to show him how much she loved the wipes.  If I am remembering correctly, this is the third time she almost emptied the box.

Nola Mae wipes

When you see this in the kitchen window, you wonder “what in the world is going on?”

Robbie icicles 1

You then peek out the door to see if he is standing on the deck’s railing or the table (the table that should have been put in the garage before it snowed) and hope that he is standing on the table.

Robbie icicles 3

What was that monkey boy after?

Robbie icicles 2
I have been running the youth ski program for the last 5 years.  The youngest kids are 3 years old and the oldest kids are 9 years old.  Not all the kids were here the day we needed to do a group photo.  I have 45 kids on my list, most Saturdays we have 20-25 kids participating in the activities I have planned.

Ski class 2013

I have been trying to master the Double Hammock carry and this is the closest I have gotten.  We were very comfortable for over two hours and I got a little nap out of Nola Mae.  She loves to be carried in the wrap and lately isn’t falling asleep as often as before.  I think she is curious to see everything that is happening.

DIY purple linen wrap

DIY purple linen wrap

 This is a hip carry I use when we are going in a store.  It isn’t a helpful carry for me when I am in the house trying to get things done.  I prefer back carries at home.

Zara Velvet

Zara Velvet

I also tried this Ruck Tied under bum carry for the first time.   I believe this is usually done with a short wrap (I don’t have any shorties).  It was comfortable but we didn’t last long in this one.

Zara Velvet

Zara Velvet

Week 52 – December 24 – 31, 2012

Week 52 – December 24 – 31, 2012

(Completed on 1/29/13)

This is my last weekly post of photos for my second year of blogging.  I am hoping to continue this on a monthly basis with other posts in between.  With this change I hope to share more of our funny stories and events with shorter posts and only one monthly overview of what is happening at our house.

We spent the weekend before Christmas in multiple places. Jack went to his mom’s with the three boys.   Nola Mae and I drove to Milwaukee to visit my dad, step-mom and step-grandma and to attend a family wedding.  Nola Mae and I spent 9 1/2 hours in the car and put on approximately 426 miles from Friday night to Sunday morning.

Sunday we spent with Jack’s family (Vaters during the day and Elorantas in the evening)and late that night we went to sleep at my mom’s.  Monday AM we visited with my mom and after lunch we visited Jack’s grandparents in the nursing home.  We were home by 6:30pm on Christmas Eve.  My grand total of miles traveled from Friday night to Monday night – 525 miles!

Christmas 2012, the gang

Snowshoe hike at Helen’s.

 Christmas elf Henry Vater

Christmas walk, 12-23-2012

The most handsome photo of Henry.

Handsome Henry

The older boys got a survival kit from my mom for Christmas with a flint and steel in the kit, we tried it out by the fire when we got home.  I was very impressed with the spark they were able to make.

flint & steel

Christmas morning’s family photo.  Our “always wanting to be handsome boy” insisted on wearing a tie-dye shirt.  Not a battle I wanted to take on, at least most of us were coordinating.  Oh wait, Jack has an orange shirt under his green sweater!

Family Dec 2012

The only homemade thing I made for our boys was Henry’s cape.  I saved the final sewing for after they were in bed on Christmas Eve.  When will I learn not to do that?

Henry's cape

The fabric was found at St. Vinny’s for about $2 and is reversible.  I have been waiting for the perfect project for this piece of fabric.  He can fly!  Henry tells me he is going to wear it skiing one of these days.  I will be sure to have my camera.

Henry's cape flying

A favorite photo of mine (almost 9 months old).

Nola Mae toy barn

Christmas day we went out with our snowshoes to try our sledding hill.

snow shoeing boys

snowshoeing mama

snowshoe Charlie in sled

During Christmas break we went skiing with one of Robbie’s friends.

skiing Brock

Snack break.

skiing snack break

This week we had a beautiful snow fall.  The snowflakes were huge and the details could be seen with the naked eye and my camera.

snowflakes

My neighbor (and dear friend) has a granddaughter (13 yrs old) fighting cancer this winter.  I invited the 11-year-old sister to come to my house to sew a quilt for her sister.  The timing was perfect for us to get together – Anika was visiting her grandparents and the boys were in school.  We had so much fun together I am hoping to work on another sewing project with Anika.  I think she already has some fabric purchased and ready.

Anika sewing

Week 43 – October 22 – 28, 2012

Week 43 – October 22 – 28, 2012

(Completed on 12-17-12)

Biking in PJs.  When you are ready to go and the timing is just right, just get on your bike and GO!

Biking Henry in PJs

And since you are outside you better do the chicken chores.

Wrap chicken chores

Helen captured this big squeeze and kiss.  Nola Mae has gotten use to Henry’s loving, most of the time he gives her sweet little kisses on her head as he is walking by (even harder to get those kissing on the camera).

Henry big kiss

Charlie’s Jedi robe in progress.

Jedi robe Charlie

Nola Mae’s new mobility has gotten her “stuck” in a few places.  If I am remembering this is the week where I “lost” her in the house for the first time.  I went to the bathroom and when I came out she wasn’t anywhere close to where she was when I went in.  That was a little scary, I thought maybe Henry took her somewhere, but realized that she is indeed getting around the house by herself at record speeds for an almost seven month old!

Nola Mae crawling

Piano lessons from Robbie.

Piano Henry & Robbie

Robbie Cards

Nola Mae’s last nap in this rocking chair.

Nola Mae Napping

I took this cute photo of her in her ruffle diaper.  I think Henry thought I was taking a picture of her chewing on this toy ring,

Nola Mae diaper ruffles

because he found his own ring to play with.

Henry silly

Robbie’s new kind of airplane.

paper airplane Robbie

Henry helps me make bread crumbs.  When all of the boys turned three years old the “I hate crust” switch turned on.  Charlie takes a sandwich every day to school.  I cut the crust off, because if you let a kid take it off half the sandwich is wasted.  I feed the curst to the chickens or save it and then dry them out for bread crumbs.

jobs Henry bread crumbs

Jack came home on the 22nd and went right to work on the kayak.

Kayak clamps

We have a “nest” in our room and lately all three boys have been sleeping in our room.  This night I nursed Nola Mae to sleep and Robbie was still awake.  I was able to put her next to him while I took a shower.  When I was done with my shower they were all sleeping.

Nest sleeping kids

A birthday gift for one of Robbie’s friends.  I think I have made a pillowcase for all of his friends.  Now what do I make for gifts next year?  What homemade thing will 10-year-old boys like?

pillow case Brock

The boys had a day off from school.  I took them to the ski hill to see the new trail and to pick up sticks and rocks.

ski hill new trail

Robbie wanted a hood on his Jedi robe.  I didn’t have time to put one on Henry’s.  Charlie didn’t want to be a Jedi, instead he was a wizard with the mask Grandma Helen made last Christmas for the “mask” gift exchange.

Halloween customes 2012

Week 7 – February 13 – 19, 2012

 Week 7 – February 13 – 19, 2012

Monday, February 13:  I sold many bars of my home-made soap today to a friend. I had three different kinds: Patchouli & Orange, Lavender & Lemongrass, and April Flakes (Lavender & Lemongrass essential oils made with snowflakes from last April’s late snow fall and lavender petals).

 

I have been fighting a cold and a cough since November.  My voice hasn’t sounded normal since then.  Over the weekend it seemed to come back, only for Monday to come around giving me a runny nose again.  My voice is still scratchy and I am coughing, but my cold seems to be gone.  One of the reasons I attribute that to is the garlic cloves that I ate for two days. 

I found a few helpful sites on the web about the benefits of garlic (this could be a blog post all by itself):

 Fighting Colds & Flu Naturally with Garlic

Cold Remedies Using Garlic and Honey

Treating a yeast infection with garlic

Tuesday, February 14:  Jump Rope for Heart – Charlie’s gym class.

 One of the cutest home-made Valentines I have seen!

Wednesday, February 15: Jump Rope for Heart – Robbie’s gym class.

 Henry will need absolutely no convincing when it is time for him to go to school.  I think he enjoyed gym as much as Robbie and Charlie!

 Aunt Susie came for a visit and dinner.

 

Thursday, February 16:  Henry and I skied with some friends who were faster than us.  We had to turn around before they were done.  This gave Henry a chance to check out the snow making machine. 

Friday, February 17:  I finished this baby quilt this week.  I am calling it Grandma’s Flowers.  I made this quilt with my new sewing machine that I purchased with the help of the money left to me by my step-grandma after she passed away.  The flowers are a straight stitch done with the embroidery feature on my sewing machine.  There are two irises, three daffodils and two poppies on this quilt.

Saturday, February 18:  Despite the warm weather and lack of snow fall this winter I am thankful we are still able to ski with the youth ski program on Saturday morning. 

We have had some help keeping snow on the trails with the cold temps at night, shade from the trees and most importantly the man-made snow.  Thanks to my friend Phil for making it and my friend Mary (Phil’s wife) for not getting mad at him for staying up all night and being worthless for a couple of days after his all nighter!

This was the first day I allowed the kids to use ski poles.  From what I have read it is easier for young kids to learn to ski without poles.  My main concern with poles is that they can be dangerous with young beginner skiers.  If you have seen the “pile ups” of kids crashing into each other, like I have, you would understand.

Some kids were excited to use them and some choose not to.   These girls were naturals and pretty fast with poles.  Robbie was able to keep up with them without poles.  He tells me poles are too much work.

Sunday, February 19:  My family got together today to visit in Middleton with my sister, Danna, who is currently living in MT (she is home for a week interviewing at UW-Madison).  We also gathered to see Ben off to Afghanistan.  Ben is my sister Becca’s boyfriend.  He will leave on February 23rd to get ready for his trip to Afghanistan.  Please help us pray that he will be safe during his time there!

Week 4 – January 23 – 29, 2012

Week 4 – January 23 – 29, 2012

Monday, January 23:  The older boys had a day off today.  It was snowing and the snow was idea for making a snowman.  Our first snowman turned into a Green Bay Packer snowman.  Robbie’s idea was to build the master piece on the north side of the house that gets zero sun so it will last until spring and it will be one they won’t destroy.

These two snowmen in the front yard were built for target shooting.

Tuesday, January 24:  I made the mistake of going back to bed at 7:00 after the boys were on the bus.  Henry woke up without me knowing and brought us breakfast in bed.  He also brought the camera and took this photo.  If I am remembering correctly the flash is what woke me up.

Then I had to take this one of him eating our (his) breakfast.

All three boys reading before bed.  This was the night that Robbie wanted to stay up and finish his book.  It was getting too late and he had one more chapter left.  He finished his first chapter book, reading it from start to finish all by himself, on the bus the next day.

Wednesday, January 25:  We met friends to ski this morning.

Thursday, January 26:  I finally finished this zipper bag with a water-proof liner so I can transport wet diapers home after a day out or a weekend away.

This evening I met my book club friends at the ski hill for a little night skiing.  On my way home I was driving very slowly on one of the side roads that is narrow, snow-covered and icy and a deer decided to come on the road and run in front of me.  Because of the narrow road there wasn’t a way for me to go around her (or slam on my breaks).  So I hit her with the car.

Friday, January 27:  Tonight Jack left with all three boys to visit his mom and grandparents for the weekend.  This was the first time for all three boys to be gone!   It was a much-needed break for me.   I expected to be very happy as they were driving out of the driveway and was surprised by my sadness.   I had a very rough week with the boys and that is all I will say about it.

After they were gone I cleaned the kitchen and downstairs area for a couple of hours and came upstairs to go to bed and found Charlie’s clothes bag that I packed earlier that afternoon at the top of the stairs and Robbie’s packed bag still in his room. 

 Usually I fold clothes for packing and I just lay out clothes on their bed and they do the packing with my instructions to “pick out three shirts, three pants, four underwear, four socks, and PJs.”   This way they know what is in there and they are happy with the choices.  And then they carry their bags down to the door ready for the car, along with their special blanket and pillow.  Since I did all the packing I wasn’t thinking about the rest of the steps. 

Saturday, January 28:  During our ski lessons I had the kids practicing their downhill and uphill.  I was surprised at how excited they were to keep working on the hills.  There has been a huge improvement and I am hoping they are ready to hit the trails this Saturday.  Some kids took turns kicking the soccer ball into our soccer nets, which is a very good activity for them to practice their balance without them even knowing it.

Sunday, January 29:  I spent the morning working at the registration table for the Norseman Challenge ski race.  I took my ski clothes just in case I felt like skiing.  After eating something I did feel like skiing and did for 1 hour & 40 minutes with my friend, Phil.  He is a good skiing partner because he stops to pick up all the leaves and sticks on the trail.  These delays helped me keep up with him.  I almost skied the whole outside blue and black loops, and falling two times while at very low speeds.  I am thankful that I was listening to my body and cut out one of my favorite downhills because of the .4 mile uphill climb.