November 2014

I have been busy dyeing all the white things I can find.  I am beyond dyeing all the white things in our house, now.  Actually, the only undyed item in our house is my shower curtain in the upstairs bathroom.  It WILL get dyed, I am just waiting for a possible bathroom remodel and inspiration.   I have graduated to getting white things given to me by friends and family and buying really cheap white stuff at thrift stores and even buying dye blanks (flour sack towels, bamboo socks & fabric).  I often think about posting an “ISO” (In Search Of) request on the facebook resale sites that I follow for good conditioned white clothing that might have a stain.

You can check out my dye projects for this month, here.

Because I was dyeing this month I didn’t keep up on household chores, which is a common practice when I have more fun things to do than clean!   I was brave enough to post about “What Normal Looks Like…to Me”. (Click here to see that post).

Early in November Nola Mae and I made a day trip to see my sister, Emily.  While we were in town we got to meet our newest cousin, Derek, his sister Morgan and my cousin Cathy.  We met at a library, and found the coolest library story room in the whole world!

wauwatosa library story room

Inside was awesome!

wauwatosa library story room books

Every day Henry carries a huge load to kindergarten!  Agenda book, boots, snow pants, gloves, hat and winter coat (on the outside) and lunch box (on the outside).  It is too hot on the bus to wear his winter coat for the hour-long ride.  He also tells me his feet get too hot if he wears his boots.

Henry's load for school

The school allows children to leave winter clothes in their cubby. I have two pairs of snow pants in almost every size because Robbie and Charlie have left a pair at school and recently have worn the same size. Henry has rejected the 2nd pair I have in his size, because some silly thing about the straps. The day he forgot to pack his snow pants, it didn’t seem to bother him because his teacher had a pair for him to wear. I was secretly hoping he was freezing at recess so he would agree to leave a pair at school.

When Robbie was younger we would make a nest for him to sleep in.  I got the idea because he is a pheasant lover and when he was little falling asleep in a nest helped him go to sleep.  Now at 11 years old, he has a double bed all to himself, I often find him in a nest.

Robbie's nest

I look closer at this nest and it reminds me of the swaddling we HAD to do when he was a baby.

 

Cozy and under blankets close to the fire, ready for our 7 AM reading time!  I am not a morning person!  Once the boys get on the bus at 6:50, it takes a lot of effort for me to stay downstairs and not crawl in bed.  Reading is a good distraction!

Reading with Nola Mae

Reading Pile Nola Mae

We are slowly working on reading 1,000 books before Kindergarten.   My challenges have been taking the time to write in this pile of titles afterwards,  I lost the folder for about a week and am now out of the habit.  I know we will get there, but it will be fun to know when we do reach 1,000 books.

Nola Mae loves Henry’s “reading finger”. That thing was creepy to me when Robbie brought his reading bags home in kindergarten, I was a little better about it when Charlie brought his reading bags home and this time with Henry I was looking forward to it. I assume kids love them and it makes them point to the words.

Reading finger Nola Mae

I was inspired to try making carrot juice again when we scored some sweet flavored “seconds” at the winter farmer’s market.  Since then, Nola Mae often asks to make carrot juice.  Our five pounds of carrots didn’t last very long.

carrot apple juice Nola Mae

Too much dyeing and too little sewing this month!  I made two of these hats.

Hat fleece A Anita

My baby wearing days are numbered.  I will be taking and sharing more photos in the future.  Action shots help sell wraps, so when that time comes I will have the photos!

Baby wearing with my  Ellevill Zara Aubergin wrap.

wrap ellevill abergine

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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.

hugs

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

February 2014

February 2014

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

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

Nola Mae bubbles

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

valentines swedish fish

valentines Charlie

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

valentines drink

I love this smile:

sledding smile

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

ER Charlie finger 1

Someone left the door open and Nola Mae followed.

barefoot in snow

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

Hair on Nola Mae

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

      nursing doll

Reading:

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

Reading Henry & Nola Mae

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

reading Nola Mae

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

reading to sleep

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

   reading book tent

Skiing:

Pointy hood, heart booty, cutie pie!

skiing snow heart Nola Mae

skiing family night

Skiing Robbie snowbank crash

skiing Robbie snowbank rest

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

skiing sled

Babywearing:

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

snow shoe nap wrap light rainbow

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

Wrap me Henry

Dyeing projects:

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

Finished ring sling ice & snow dye:

 ice & snow dye purple & green ring sling with toddler

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

ice dye rainbow on ice

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

ice dye basket

My sewing projects this month:

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

sewing books inspirations

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

ice dye pink & yellow bags & quilt

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

 zipper bags

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

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

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

wool sweater stripes felted

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

wool sweater fish w wooden teether

pillow case monkeys

pillow case TNT Landon

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

wool sweater fingerless gloves w heart beads

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

wool sweater kitty

wool sweater wolf

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

bag Jack's racquetball  bag Jack's racquetball pocket

 

January 2014

January 2014

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

Basketball in the barn 3

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

Christmas tree bare

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

Christmas tree fire

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

Christmas tree bonfire

Sledding hill boys

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

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

Piggy back

 

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

Skiing girl always

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

huge grapefriut

 

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

Ice fishing Robbie

Ice fishing Charlie

Ice Fishing Henry

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

ice ballons

and decorated our igloo with the ice balls.

Ice balls

Nola Mae photos:

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

Future cake decorator

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

Marker head

Nola Mae just reading (warms my heart).

Nola Mae reading

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

playhouse window kiss

Playhouse steering wheel

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

watching out the window

We had a great month of skiing. 

                Ski family Charlie crash Ski family pulling Henry

Ski Henry pulls Nola Mae

Ski Henry leaves us

ski snow eater

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

 ski sled double load sleepers

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

   sled tipping on snowshoe trail

  Upcycle projects:

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

upcycle denim trivet

Jack’s Art exchange item:

cigar box guitar canoe paddle

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

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

kitchen rug

So I made this…

kitchen rug upcycle denim rug

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

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

Upcycle wool sweater elephant

Ring slings that I made this month:

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

Ring sling Upcycle from table cloth

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

Ring sling turquoise chevron

November 2013 – Month 11

November 2013 – Month 11

I missed adding this photo to my October blog post.  We had a good time walking around town trick-or-treating with friends.

Halloween friends 2013

Halloween costumes 2013

We started a program with Aunt Susie’s library where we will read 1,00 books before kindergarten.   Check out this link to find a library near you or to see other websites like, “Books your child should hear before kindergarten”. 

Reading to Henry

Nola Mae likes to read too and be cute.

Nola Mae book

Nola Mae eager to get at the after school snack.

After school snack

Nola Mae likes wearing boots and she doesn’t seem to care if they are on backwards.

boots Nola Mae

We took a walk to meet our new neighbors.  Charlie wore his stilts down the hill.

Stilts Charlie

And for most of the walk to the neighbor’s.

Stilts Charlie road

I took this picture on November 22nd after one of our first snowfalls.  Nola Mae discovered that snow is yummy.

Nola Mae eating snow

She likes to wear backpacks.

Nola Mae back pack

Even when they are too heavy for her and she tips over.

Nola Mae backpack fall

Nola Mae has been showing signs of understanding the potty.  After helping her take off the back pack I told her we should change her diaper soon.  I came into the living room and found her waiting for a new diaper.  Once her diaper is off she wants to sit on the potty.

    diaper change

 Batman with rotten teeth has started to put away the silverware from the dishwasher on a regular basis.

Henry Batman Helper

Sometimes bedtime is a little challenging with Henry.  Jack usually reads one book to him and he can have a pile of books to read himself until he gets tired.  Sometimes he comes out to tell me he isn’t sleepy.   I can’t remember how bedtime went this time.  I thought it was hilarious when I found his body in the pillow case and his head on the book that he was reading.

Henry sleeping on book in pillow case

I was laying out my wraps to take photos of them for when I am ready to sell.  Nola Mae climbed on the table for a pose.

Snowflake girl

Our family photo shoot.

Family Photo Shoot 2013

Family photo shoot Robbie & Charlie 2013

Family photo shoot Henry 2013

Family Photo shoot Nola Mae 2013

Hunting with cousins in the north woods.

Hunting cousins

Napping in the north woods.

Hunting Charlie Naps

Peek-a-boo cousins.

Peek a Boo Kale

Sewing projects this fall:

A pillow case for Charlie’s friend.

Pillow case Alek

I made this bag for Cousin Jessie.

Bag Jessie's

I made this bag for myself out of an old curtain.  I bought the brown and the turquoise for the inside.

bag old curtain  bag old curtain inside

A cloth tray made out of a curtain fabric and scraps from my bag.

tray old curtain

A zipper bag for Robbie’s friend, Brock, who is a Duke fan.

Bag zipper Brock O

A large cloth box for stuff, I still need to add handles.

cloth box flowers

Ring sling for friends.

ring sling pink w elephants  Ring sling w stripes

I sold my Ellaroo Ysable woven wrap.  This was the first wrap I bought.  It wasn’t getting much use so it was time for it to find a new home.

wrap ellaroo good bye

Old Times = Productivity

Old Times = Productivity          

Last week we were having serious issues at our house.  My friend, Samuel, said that it sounded like we were living during the “Old Times” after hearing my story and being reminded that we don’t even have a TV.  First our computer stopped working and then our cordless phone died.   Plus the only semi working tablet in our house was getting repaired and went to completely not working!  I was waiting for our electricity to go out!  Then we could be back in the times when there were wood stoves and candles and lanterns.  Thankfully that didn’t happen.   Although, one night I didn’t start a fire in our wood stove before going to bed and we woke up to 45 degrees in our house (our furnace is turned off so it never kicks in when it gets a little chilly in our house).  

I was able to quickly find our back up phone that plugs in the wall.  I was able to make frequent trips to the library to use their computers.  

library marion

On one of our trips to a library computer was on the day we needed to run errands in Marion.  I usually use this library’s drive through window (they are in an old bank) to drop off books and never go in.   They have an awesome train table!  I loaded up the car with the pile of stuff to be donated that has accumulated in our basement. 

One load out:

trunk load leaving

Our coming home load:

Two paper bags from the resale shop, two 100 pound bags of chicken feed, library books and some food from Country Corner Sales.

trunk load home

I am not admitting that I waste a lot of time on the computer.  I wasn’t able to email my family and friends, arrange for my next book club meeting, make arrangements to meet friends.  No blogging happened which put me behind on my November post.   Nola Mae didn’t get good nursing times and nap times.  That is what I do when I work on the computer, nurse and type while she naps!

Since we still had electricity I was able to bake a turkey, cookies, dinner rolls and successfully burn cinnamon rolls.    I wasn’t able to talk on the phone because that would require me to stand in one place and do nothing else.

   dinner rolls

I was able to walk into a room to find multiple kids quietly reading. 

Reading Robbie  reading Charlie to Henry

All this reading meant that I needed more books from the library and a box to keep them in.  We have used the end table as the place for library books but there is just too many for me to keep track of.

books box

I went to bed early, woke up early, read many pages in my own books, started and completed sewing projects, did a test dye job and had a clean house.  

dye PVC towels

An ice dye on Charlie’s cape…

dye ice cape

My latest sewing project…owls from sweaters I have collected.

owls group

 An apron with owl fabric for the pocket…

apron owls

As of today our computer is working.  My house is still clean.  I have caught up on most of my emails.  I am still working on catching up on reading the blogs that I follow.   I realized I am thankful for a husband who can fix computers and the fast speed of our computer.  I learned this week that I don’t need to see all the crap on Facebook, but I miss the contacts I have with my Facebook friends.  Did they miss me?  Probably not.

 

July 2013 – Month 7

July 2013 – Month 7

My Uncle Carl from California came to visit this month.  He was able to spend an afternoon/evening at our house.  Nola Mae warmed up to him very quickly.

uncle carl & Nola Mae

Our family went to Big Falls to play in the rapids on a really hot day.  It was the busiest I have ever seen the place.  There were about 30 other people there, usually we are the only ones.  There is a zip-line there where most of the people were.  I would love for the boys to try it some day.

big falls four kids

Just so you know, when Jack went down these rapids his butt dragged the whole time.

big falls Charlie

Nola Mae enjoyed the refreshing feel of the water.

big falls Nola Mae

Good things come in threes:

1)  Jack installed my new clothes line.

clothes line on silo

2)  Jack built a gate for us (my request).  For some reason our road is a toddler magnet.  Every one of our kids loved sprinting to the road.  Maybe it is the thrill of Mama or Papa chasing after them.

Gate for Nola Mae

We have had the W-9 since our first year living here.  It was a tractor of Jack’s dad’s.  We used it to break ground for our veggie garden and that is about it.  It is a big tractor.

Tractor W-9 & kids

We also owned a Farmall H that was useful to us for moving firewood and cleaning the barn.  We decided to sell them both.  It was sad for me to see them go.

Tractor W-9 & H loaded up

3)  I have been trying to convince Jack for at least the last five years to buy me a skid steer.

skid steer

I found some hay!  I am thinking this will be the last winter I buy hay for my horse.  She may need to die or find a new home.  I have fond memories of all the sweat and dust of baling hay on my Step-Dad’s farm.  I had a fun time with Robbie and Charlie going to get this hay.  I pulled them away from the computer to help me one evening.  We drove to the field where the hay was baled and loaded up two loads of 25 bales each.   And then they helped unload it.  In the truck on the way to get our second load Charlie said, “This is fun!”

bales boys unloading

Henry helped unload the second load in the morning.  And helped with stacking it in the basement of the barn.

 bales Henry

My friends and I ordered a total of 170 pounds of blueberries from Country Corner Sales for $2.05/lb.  Last year I paid $2.53/lb.   Not very often can you say, “The price went down this year!”   The pick-you-own blueberry farm is charging $2.50/lb ($0.25 more than what they charged last year).

Blueberry boxes 2013

Nola Mae thought she had her own box.

Blueberry Nola Mae 2013

I harvested my garlic this month and wrote about our garden.

garlic harvest 2013

I boiled eggs one day and went outside before they were ready to be taken off the heat.  I got this exploded egg.  It looks like a chicken head to me.  What do you see?

egg boiled oozing

Charlie has been wanting to bike to town (a round trip is 10 miles) all summer.  We have only done a 4.5 mile loop in our neighborhood a few times.  With complaints and many water stops most of the way.   On this day I added a 2 mile loop, totaling 6.5 miles, to test them out for a trip to town.  I hooked up the train for a bike ride.  Henry on the tag-along attached to my bike and Nola Mae in the Burley attached to the tag-along.  Robbie couldn’t find his shoes so he biked in socks.  Charlie was just plain crabby about the whole idea.

bike train

The 6.5 miles wasn’t that bad after we were done.

A few days later, we went to town on our bikes.  Charlie was pumped.  Robbie was tired before we started.  They raced almost the whole way and I had a hard time keeping up with them.  It took us 36 minutes to go the 5 miles.

bike to town picnic

We had a picnic at the park, then dropped off some of my healing balm at a friend’s house and at the pharmacy.  The pharmacist is testing it to see if they want to stock it on their shelves.   We went to the library for some books on CD for our trip to Milwaukee and then to the ice cream shop.

bike to town ice cream shop

On the way home Charlie was so tired I considered dropping his bike off at my friend’s house (3 miles from our house), putting Henry in the trailer with Nola Mae and having Charlie ride on the tag-along.   Nola Mae was sleeping and Charlie seemed better after more water.  When we were two miles from home Charlie figured out a way to hold onto the bike trailer/stroller’s handle bars with one hand and his handle bars with the other.  He peddled while holding on and there were times I could feel him pushing me and other times when I was pulling him.  He said he would let go when a car was coming and while going up and down the hills.  I could have sworn he was holding on when we were climbing that last hill to our house and I looked back and he wasn’t.   Henry is a good peddler on the tag-along.  It took us 48 minutes to get home.

Often I find Nola Mae walking around with a pen ( or whatever writing utensil she can find) and paper.  Maybe she will be a writer.  She sat with Java for a long time as if she was interviewing her.

Nola Mae & Java

My friend, Lynn, gave me this cute dress for Nola Mae.  I have been wanting to take a cute picture of her in the dress for Lynn.  Nola Mae has been getting the dress dirty before I could get a photo taken.  This is an example of how quick I can be with the camera.  I was in the kitchen, my camera is usually there, I turned around and saw Nola Mae doing this…

Nola Mae on chair

I was admiring how well Nola Mae was playing with this car,

Nola Mae drives tractor

and the next thing she did was take a drink out of this little puddle on the deck.

Nola Mae thirsty

Nola Mae comes out the chicken coop with me often, she is usually on my back, this time she was walking with me.  I feed them and then collect the eggs, so I am not tripping over them or getting pecked when I am stealing eggs.  Nola Mae decided to eat with the chickens.

Nola Mae eating w chickens

Henry is teaching her how to climb ladders.

Nola Mae ladder

I have a friend who got married the same weekend as the Liver Walk.  Earlier this year she asked me if I was interested in making her wedding cake.   I seriously considered it.  I knew she was having a small wedding and she would be the kind of bride I could work with.  My only concern was having the time to make the cake.   During the week of her wedding I was sad to not be making her wedding cake.  I started making a triple layered 9 inch round cake for my nephew’s graduation party.  I needed Nola Mae to be busy for a little while so I could mix the cake by letting her play with the water on a chair AT the sink.  NOT in the sink!

  Nola Mae in sink

Henry was doing a great job reading to Nola Mae.  I was impressed with how well he knew the right sounds and words to Mr. Brown can MOO, can you?

Henry reading

Nola Mae wanted to hold the book and Henry didn’t like that idea.  They both were happier once Nola Mae had her own book to hold.

Henry reading 2

Jack made this beautiful box for Nola Mae.

box Nola Mae

We went to the Liver Walk and had a graduation party for my nephew afterwards. 

Liver walk 2013

I made snake bubbles and they were a hit with all the little kids and even the big kids. 

Liver Walk 2013 bubbles K

Liver Walk 2013 bubbles Ali

Liver Walk 2013 bubbles Kayla & Ali

How to make snake bubbles: 

  • Cut off the bottom of a plastic bottle (soda or water bottle).
  • Cut an old sock just before the heel, so you are using the toe and foot part of the sock to cover the bottom of your bottle.
  • Secure the sock on the bottle with a rubber band.  Since I was traveling and making these a head of time, I also put duct tape over the rubber band.
  • Soap mixture was 1 parts Dawn dish soap and 2 parts water.
  • Dip the bottom of the bottle in the soap mixture and blow.

Note:  Smaller kids may suck in while blowing and swallow or breath in bubbles.  Henry will tell you that is YUCKY!

For colored snake bubbles click here.

Since the skid steer has arrived a lot of projects have been getting done around our yard.

Rock wall 1

Rock Wall 2

Rock wall Nola Mae

skid steer Nola Mae

I have gotten braver with my soaps.  I purchased more essential oils this spring and made this soap in early June.  It turned out beautiful, this has cinnamon and orange essential oils with ground cinnamon.  If you like cinnamon smelling things you would love this!

soap cinnamon orange

Sewing projects this month:

Tooth pillows for a sister and brother.

tooth pillow maddie  tooth pillow alek

A TNT pillow case inspired by Minecraft for one of Robbie’s friends.

pillow case TNT Landon

I made a Mei Tai for a friend’s sister.

Mei Tai kid size

Three beautiful ring slings.

ring sling brown w green steph  ring sling green w br steph  ring sling plum Pam

I bought this fabric at a rummage sale.  It is the perfect weave for a wrap.  I serged the edges and used it for weeks until I finally hemmed it.

Wrap DIY shorty Ruck Under Bum (RUB)  wrap DIY woven naptime

It is shorter than my other wraps and there is only enough room for me to do a Rucksack carry tied under the bum (A.K.A. RUB).  I have learned that I love it for very fast ups and downs and escaping out from the fabric when laying down Nola Mae.

Wrap DIY shorty I escaped

I have another picture of her sweetness in my light rainbow wrap.

wrap light rainbow naptime

I am in a babywearing group on facebook.  Each week they do a “carry of the week”.   A great way to learn a new carry or in this case a new tie off.  This is a double hammock carry with a salt water tie with my Zara Velvet wrap.

Wrap Zara Velevet Salt Water double hammock

My favorite pictures of the month:

baby wearing sibling Ergo Charlie

baby wearing sibling Ergo Charlie woods

Robbie fancy moves

Nola Mae wheel

Nola Mae fence

June 2013 – Month 6

June 2013 – Month 6

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

summer reading logs

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

balms for sale

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

bag Xzavor

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

nest in grill

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

marshmallow bales

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

ladder

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

kite in field

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

Kick ball kisses R  kickball kisses Charlie    kick ball kisses H

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

Henry under chair

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

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

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

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

Nola Mae table

Nola Mae in June, at 14 months old.

Nola Mae blue dress  Nola Mae at window

Nola Mae bench 3       Nola Mae bench 1

 Nola Mae bench 2

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

four kids on bench

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

boy vacuum

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

Big Falls w Danna

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

Before:

oak tree

During:

oak tree Eddie

After:

oak tree down

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

photos Robbie

Photos Charlie

Photos Henry

photos Nola Mae

photos all kids

Our first picking of strawberries from our patch.

2013 first strawberries

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

reading time

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

Jack fixing breaks

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

sleeping toothbrush

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

wedding fabric

The ring slings I made this month:

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

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

ring sling blue

Then I got orders to make two more.

ring sling green

ring sling plum w pink

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

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