September 2014

September 2014

First day of school photo:

First day of school 2014

On the first day of school, Nola Mae and I took a bike ride to town to run errands.  I needed to do lots of things this day, grocery shopping, library, bank, post office, drop something off at school and most importantly get exercise and get away from the house so I wasn’t thinking about missing my boys.  Our way home was a lot of work for me…27 pound child, 15 pound bike trailer, 75 pounds of groceries and library books.

Bike errands

I have planned to dye my hair a non-traditional color (purple) for many months.  I finally got around to doing it and it faded to pink (not one of my favorite colors).  In the last month I have considered chopping my hair just twice to get rid of it.  When my mom first saw me after I dyed my hair, she joked with me that my fabric dyes got in my hair.   Now, I am feeling like I will keep it for a while.  Next, I will attempt purple and maybe more colors.

 hair dye pink

Jack has made many cigar box guitars in the last year.  This month Charlie finished a two string cigar box guitar.

 cigarbox guitar in progress

Jack made a video of Charlie and shared it on facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10202628856665701&set=vb.1326037913&type=3&theater

cigarbox guitar Charlie's

I have an amazing husband, he deserves a blog post all to himself.   He is talented in many areas, he is intelligent, he is teaching our kids many skills, he creates beautiful wooden furniture and boxes.

I was a little skeptical about these ugly pieces of wood when he loaded these into our car.

wooden burrow

One day he handed this beautiful bowl to me and told me he made it from the wooden burrows that we brought home.

wooden burrow bowl

Charlie turned a bowl with Jack.  He took his unfinished bowl to school to show his teacher.  Charlie was eager to finish it and then took it back to school.  One day I was looking for Charlie’s bowl to take a photo.  He told me he gave it to his teacher.

We got together with all the Vater cousins this month, unfortunately because Grandpa Neil passed away.  It was wonderful to see our kids having a blast with their cousins, and visit with the cousins we don’t see very much.  Nola Mae and I missed out on the last family gathering because she was sick.   I am not interested in doing the math on when I last saw Jack’s cousins from CA, it was sometime when Ben was still a little boy.  When Ben opened his mouth I just about died, because he had a man’s voice, not a little boy anymore!  Ben is the tallest man in the Vater family.

vater cousins and family

I have many sisters, four of them, all of them are amazing in their own way!  Early this month, Becca completed her first Ironman in Madison,  2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run.

I wasn’t able to make it to Madison to cheer her on.  I was able to watch her finish from the comforts of my home, 130+ miles away on my computer through the live-feed video on Ironman’s website.

I have my very own finish line photo of her.

IronMan Madison Becca

 Nola Mae loves to put clothes on, take them off, and put extra layers of clothing.  While I was taking a shower  Nola Mae climbed   on the counter and was putting socks on and taking them off.  I took this picture with the intention of doing a blog post with all the photos I have collected of her in her many outfits.

Nola Mae socks happy

Everything was going great.  You can see all the socks on the floor that she had on and took off.  Then she got stuck in these blue socks, that is when things started to get UGLY!  Exactly, one minute later…

Nola Mae socks sad  Nola Mae socks sadder

Two days later…there was an outfit that included many layers and many tears – three shirts, one dress and one pair of tights – she wanted more clothes on and I wouldn’t help her.

Nola Mae flopping

The above photos aren’t so pretty ones of Nola Mae, but this one is!

Nola Mae

When you co-sleep and put your child to bed before yourself they claim their spot.

Yours spot

I knew Henry was outside on the deck.  I heard sounds of a trombone.  I was afraid he snuck Robbie’s  trombone upstairs and outside.  I was relieved, happy and very excited to see him making music with the vacuum cleaner hose, rather than the $754 trombone!

Henry hose trombone

Four days before my birthday a wonderful gift arrived at our house – a spiral ham and caramel popcorn!  I was delighted, ham is one of our favorite things.  Especially, mine because one ham goes a long way here.  If I am remembering correctly this ham gave us  at least four meals, fillings for additional meals, made awesome snacks and were added to cold lunches for boys.  The very last of this ham will be eaten sometime this fall when I make my favorite soup!

bday ham

On September 11th, Nola Mae and I drove to Milwaukee to see my sister, Emily.  Earlier in the week she was admitted to the hospital for liver failure and the talk was “she isn’t going home until she gets a new liver”.  Her MELD Score was so high, she was on the top of the liver transplant list for the Midwest.  As the week progressed and she got more fluids and antibiotics she was feeling and looking better.  I was thankful to see her in better spirits and health later in the week so that when and if a new liver came to her she would be strong enough to make it through a transplant.

Emily hospital 9-11

On Monday, September 15th, around 4:30 AM Emily was told that there is an organ donor who is a perfect match for her.   I am pretty sure this was the longest day in her entire life.  It sure was for me!   The staff took her to surgery for the liver transplant at 5:30 PM.  If I am remembering correctly, I got the call at 12:21 AM, on the 16th, telling me that her surgery was done and she will be heading to ICU.

Click here to read my thoughts on the day of Emily’s transplant, “A Sister’s Emotions”.

I spent the day before my birthday glued to my computer and close to the phone waiting for any news on Emily’s transplant.  I didn’t get much sleep that night and woke up for my birthday in a zombie-like state.  I knew Emily was sedated, well cared for in ICU and I needed to get the heck out of my house!  IT was MY birthday and I wanted my special coffee and I wanted to use my 60% & 50% off coupons at JoAnn Fabrics!  So Nola Mae and I went to town!

I made a trip to my favorite thrift store and found a bunch of dye blanks!

  I bought these fabrics.  The birds and butterflies were on the $4/yard rack.  The bottom white fabrics I bought for making dyed scarves.

bday fabric

A close up of one of the white fabrics.

dye blank for scarf

I made two scarves from this fabric – one for my step-mom and one to sell or give away as a gift (or maybe keep for myself).

Dyed Scarf Rainbow colors

My last stop in town was Starbucks, thanks to my sister Danna and her boyfriend, I purchased a yummy coffee and this beautiful coffee mug.

bday coffee cup

The boys (& Jack) gave me a package of socks, these awesome rubber boots and something else.  I can’t remember what the third thing was.   I love my new boots and wear them every day!

bday boots

Usually my garlic gets planted in October.  The planting window for garlic in Wisconsin is mid-September to November.  I remember this because my birthday is the beginning of this planting window and my brother’s birthday, which is at the end of October, is my absolute last day for planting garlic.   This fall, I started planting my garlic before my birthday and then finished planting 200+ cloves of garlic the day after my birthday.

garlic planting 2014

We are were still picking raspberries into October.

Raspberries 8-31-12

 Every year I find a pair of Walking Sticks in my raspberry patch.  They are always attached to each other every time I see them.  This time I happened to have the camera with me and when I bumped them, they came apart and I took this photo.

walking stick

I have accumulated many dye blanks, I am always looking for more.  Recently, I  had some time to organize and prioritize my dyeing projects

dye thirft store blanks

I also had some time to set up a little dyeing space in my basement and got busy.  In one week I dyed 20 pieces.

dye table

We paddled up the river from Big Falls when the leaves were beautiful.  It was a great way to end the month.

paddle car fall 2014

paddle big falls 2014  paddle rocking 2014

I am making and selling soap again this year.  I started early for Christmas by making four batches.

“Cleansing Calendula”, with essential oils: Lavender & Tea Tree and ground Calendula flowers for a great exfoliation.    Aroma:  Soft, floral.  Benefits:  Renewing, cleansing, stimulating.

soap calendula flowers & lavender & tea tree  

“Cinnamon Swirl”  with essential oils:  Orange & Cinnamon and ground cinnamon, which gives it the dark color.   Aroma:  Warm, spicy   Benefits:  Warming, comforting, energizing

 soap cinn & organe

(these are the same soap, just different batch and different method of coloring with the ground cinnamon)

“Jumping Juniper”  essential oils:  Juniper, Lavender & Rosemary   Aroma: Floral   Benefits: Restoring, empowering, balancing, purifying, &  uplifting.

  soap juniper, lavender & rosemary

I have about twelve pounds of garlic to sell.

garlic for sale 2014

It was a good birthday month for me!

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April 2014

April 2014

April was a busy month for us and for my blog.   I posted six times this month, see all my posts here:  https://skiingmama.wordpress.com/2014/04/

Then the snow started to melt.   Henry has learned about spring-time at school (and at home of course).  He thinks spring should be here already:

spring hot blooded Henry

He told me today (April 30th), when I told him it was time to go outside, “I am not going outside when all that grey stuff is in the sky.  And that fog is yucky.  It has to be light out there and then I will want to go outside.”

 

This month we celebrated Henry’s 5th birthday:

 Birthday Henry 5

 

 My brother and nephew called to sing “Happy Birthday” to Henry.  He loved it.

Birthday call

The cake, this teenage mutant ninja turtle cake is pretty close to earning  my “ugly cakes” award.

Teenage Mutant Nija Turtle cake

 These things sure are the ugliest cupcakes I have ever decorated.  I was pretty embarrassed sending them to school with Henry.   And was reassured that four and five year olds don’t really care.   At the end of the day I found out there were extras and he delivered one to Charlie’s 1st grade teacher, Charlie’s current teacher, and one to Robbie’s teacher.  Now I am really embarrassed!   On a positive note this was the first cake decorating project I have done in the last two years where Nola Mae wasn’t crying or needed to be worn.

Teenage Mutant Nija Turtles cupcakes

 

Then the next day was Nola Mae’s 2nd birthday:

Nola Mae facing forward

 I turned her around to face forward in her car seat.  She wasn’t unhappy facing backwards,  now that she is two she is okay face forwards in her car seat.  Often I noticed her cranking her neck around so she could look out the front window.  Now she just tells me “go that way”.

We skied on snow:

When we were getting ready to go out to ski Nola Mae wanted to wear her baby.  So I wrapped them both.  I think this is one of my favorite baby wearing photos, minus my eyes being closed because the sun was so bright.

This was April 15th.

babywearing  double ski

 I had the best  ski with my friend, Mary, on April 17th at the ski hill.

April 18th was our last ski.

And we skied on grass to find the snow:

skiing on grass

Last ski babywearing

Can you see her feet in my shadow?

Last ski looking for snow

 This was the last piece of heaven for me this winter…four of my favorite boys on snow, laughing, getting exercise and

Last ski 1

 a fun little chunk of snow to ski back and forth on for a little while.

ski last ski

 The boys headed back to the chalet without me, like usual, and when I came in I found them doing this…

last ski boys waiting

All three boys had a friend’s birthday party to attend.   Two birthday parties landed on the same day, the same weekend Jack’s canoeing trip was scheduled for, and the same day I needed to work at the ski hill for our big spring trail run.  Grandma Hanna saved the day!   She played with the kids, transported them to the birthday parties, visited the library, and cleaned the messiest parts of my house.

Henry’s friend was given this ice dyed cape that I made.

iced dyed cape

ice dyed cape hood

Charlie’s friend got a store-bought gift, which I thought was kind of boring.  I don’t have many good ideas for a homemade gift after all of their friends get a pillow case.   And they are too old to have fun with capes.  When Charlie saw the gift I bought for his friend he asked “how come you didn’t buy two?”  I asked him, “Why, does it look like it is going to break right away?”  No, Charlie wanted one for himself.

Robbie and I made this  Minecraft TNT pillowcase together, which was perfect for that boy!  I walked into the party and saw Minecraft stuff everywhere.  That mom put on a pretty amazing Minecraft themed party like no body’s business!

pillow case TNT Landon

Side note:  I went to school on a Friday where there was a reading party kids can bring pillows and blankets to get comfy to read.  I saw one boy with a pillowcase I made a couple of years ago, so that was cool!

We were home for Easter:

I took the opportunity to dye eggs with the boys while Nola Mae napped.  She woke up at the tail end of things, she was happy to watch and hold an egg.

happy with one egg

 This was the first year we had enough of our own brown eggs to dye.  I saved them so they were “old” eggs like the store-bought eggs in order for them to peel nicely.  They peeled nicely and they were the most beautiful shades we have ever had.

Easter eggs

I spent a total of $27 on our Easter treats/gifts this year.  Each boy got a small gift with a small amount of candy in their basket.  Charlie learned how to make those rubber band bracelets using his two fingers from a girl on the bus.  This sweet girl has given him many handfuls of rubber bands.  So I decided he should get a couple of bags of his own.  Robbie and Henry were very excited about the cool colorful socks they got.

Charlie's rubber bands

 Nola Mae waiting by the window for the boys to come home:

Nola Mae blueberries

We had Charlie’s VIP (Very Important People) Day:

Each child is scheduled for  a VIP Week.  The child can fill out the “all about me” poster and include photos of them as a baby and other childhood photos,  and photos of their family and pets.

VIP poster

And then one or both parents come to class towards the end of one day for 30 minutes to talk about their work, hobbies and/or  interests.  I did a little demonstration on cake decorating with Robbie’s class when he was in 2nd grade, so Charlie wanted to do the same thing.  Extra bonus is that at the end of our time everyone got to decorate their own cupcake.

I talked about sewing with Charlie and my sewing.  I brought the shirt Charlie sewed when he was 5 years old and Charlie’s baby quilt to show them.  I had a few other quilts in my bag, if they seemed interested.

I  also told them about Jack’s interests in woodworking and brought a few of his wooden bowls that he has made.

turned bowls

Charlie’s teacher, Mr. Wester, knows how to facilitate the short time you have with the class so it is organized, purposeful in ways of giving the students opportunities to be respectful, thoughtful and polite while practicing communication skills.  Mr. Wester asked Charlie to introduce me and Nola Mae, he had everyone sitting on the carpet to focus on Charlie and our talk.  I am sure they are well-practiced since it is April already.  The questions the kids had for me and for Charlie were impressive.  My favorite question was from a boy.  He asked something to the effect “what was the most important subject in school for you to be good at sewing?”  Thankfully, I had the “right” answer…”Math”.  He slapped his leg and said, “WHY DOES EVERYONE SAY MATH!!!!?”  It was cute!  I was able to pull out my current quilt that I am working on and explained to them the math I  needed to do to figure out the spacing of many different colors.  It was a perfect “math” example!  I forgot to point out where I made some measuring mistakes.   I had so much fun!  I thanked Mr. Wester for taking the time to do this with all the families because it was so nice to come to the classroom.  I hope that all the other families that had their VIP Day felt as excited and as important as I did being Charlie’s mom.

Charlie's VIP

We took a hike on the boardwalk in town and did a little wrestling:

I am slowly adjusting to the fact that boys wrestle.  I never did that with my sisters or brother.  I became more open about wrestling when I saw home videos of my sister-in-law and her sisters wrestling.  Here Charlie is on top, which isn’t always the case.

 walk wrestling

 Often I wonder how the wrestling match started and why Charlie is the one that seems to get hurt.  And then I see a picture like this…Charlie doing something to Robbie.

walk teasing

Sewing time is supposed to be fun and peaceful.  The month started off great.  I was able to make a few things with ruffles (see my post “I Love Ruffles” ).

rainbow ruffle dress

And then my sewing time became unpredictable and limited.  Nola Mae hasn’t been napping well and seems to know when I sneak away to the sewing room.  I have wanted to take a picture of her on my sewing table for a long time.  This day I had the camera and was able to get this shot:

sewing table

Sometimes it is stressful when she is in the sewing room with me.  Because she wants to be on the table.  If I am sewing at the machine I sometimes let her sit there and she plays with the buttons and papers.  She learned on her own to leave the spool rack alone because once it tipped over and it scared her.

I had some time to make a few cute skirts.  I will post about that next, maybe.

 A very enjoyable sewing project for me was coming up with this valance for someone who found my blog when she was searching for Minecraft things for her son’s bedroom.  She was looking for a Minecraft Creeper valance.  This is the design I came up with, 5 ft long and 17 inches tall:

minecraft creeper valance

 And in the last week of this month I dyed these things.   The fabric squares are muslin, with a base color of light green – my first attempt was a total flop.  So over dyeing with Dylon Blue Jeans looks okay.  I expected better results.  While doing that dye project I slowly dipped this tank top in the dye bath, you can see a gradual change in the shades of blue, if you look closely.

dyed blue jeans shirbori fabric & dipped tank top

Baby wearing photos this month:

Just before our ski.

babywearing doll with flag

 Waiting for the boys to come home.

Nola Mae fake hair babywearing

 If anyone was wondering if it is possible to keep your baby wrapped on your back while flopping yourself on the floor, kicking and screaming.  Nola Mae’s answer is “Yes!”

babywearing flopping on the ground 1

 I am not sure what brought this on.  This is actually one of the first times she has done this.   That’s the reason for the photo.

babywearing flopping on the ground 2

Robbie helped Jack in the woodshop:

 woodshop Robbie

And so did Nola Mae.

   woodshop Nola Mae

I hate making cookies because I don’t like messing with the oven and cookies every 8-10 minutes, plus I eat a bunch of warm ones throughout the process.  The boys love cookies.  My latest and greatest idea is to make a triple batch of cookies and separate the batch into small logs (enough for 1 dozen cookies), wrap them in wax paper and freeze them.  These cookie dough logs are larger than I usually do because I didn’t have any wax paper.  I am not sure how well they will keep in the freezer with just plastic wrap, so we will have to use them up quickly.  I also left out enough for us to have two pans of cookies this time.

cookie dough

I am ending this month with a cold.  I had two very worthless days.  I am drinking lots of water, mullein tea and eating garlic and extra vitamin D.

Cold remedy

September 2012 – Month 9

September 2012 – Month 9

Robbie found this cool stick (he is always finding cool sticks to swing around) at Iola Winter Sports Club on the day we were doing some trail clean up after a big storm.  It made him think of deer antlers.

robbie cool stick IWSC

Charlie made this wooden car in the workshop with Papa.

Nola Mae w Charlie's wooden car

I scored this Nordic Ware bundt pan at a rummage sale for $1.  We needed a reason to try it out, Susie’s birthday cake!

cake castle susie

And the boys decorated it.

cake castle susie decorated

Nola Mae has decided that she can go down the stairs forward.

Nola Mae stairs

She often gets comfortable in the upside down stool.  I wonder how long this will last.

stool nola mae

Something gross…someone opened a gogurt in my sewing room and it squirted on the wall.  I didn’t notice it until the yogurt was dried up and Nola Mae was scrapping it off and eating it.

yogurt on wall Nola Mae

The weekend of my birthday we met some of our family for a picnic, playing on the rocks and hiking at Eau Claire Dells.

Eau Claire Dells Boys log 2013

Eau Claire Dells Boys 2013

My beautiful sister, Becca.

Eau Claire Dells Becca  2013

We were here five years ago.  We took this photo inside this tree trunk (Henry was in my belly and Charlie and Henry were so little and so cute). 

Eau Claire Dells tree trunk 2008

 This year we did the same pose, notice the difference in the tree trunk.

Eau Claire Dells Family 2013

On my birthday (because I wanted to sleep in) I took the boys to school.  When I came home I notice one of the power lines in front of our house was down.   Thankfully it was a wire that was not “live”.  I called the electric company to tell them and secretly hoped my favorite linemen would show up.  I have a couple of favorites because I use to work there many years ago.  Did they know it was my birthday?  My two favorite guys showed up!

linemen Dick

linemen Alie

I went to my 25th class reunion and made the cake for the dinner.

cake 25th class reunion

My mom and Helen helped take care of the kids while Jack and I went to dinner and stayed late for visiting.  Robbie and Charlie slept over at Helen’s house.  We left Nola Mae and Henry at my mom’s at 4:30 and came home at 12:30.  This was the longest amount of time I have ever been away from Nola Mae.  She woke up looking for me just as we were coming down the road.

 We went to our favorite park, Keller Lake, as usual we had the park to ourselves!

keller lake Robbie

keller lake Charlie

keller lake Nola Mae slide

keller lake Nola Mae climbing

keller lake four kids

My Favorite pictures from this month:

Charlie & Nola Mae sad girl

Henry serious face

Mystique

Nola Mae Watermelon

Nola Mae

From my garden:

I didn’t get to braiding my garlic this year before it really dried out.  So the stems got chopped and I put a notice on Facebook that I had garlic for sale and 11.5 pounds sold within six hours.  Thank you to all my friends, enjoy!

garlic 2013

September 7th I picked my first batch of tomatoes, two of these boxes came from Susie’s garden.  I have already canned 21 quarts of tomato paste and have a gallon bag of dried tomatoes.

tomatoes first picking 2013

By September 12th my raspberries were ripening like crazy and still going strong at the end of the month.   I have about two gallon sized bags in the freezer, so far.

garden raspberries 2013

The mullein has gone crazy in my garden where the garlic was this year.  I am thinking I will be planting the garlic for next year around these plants because there is no way I am tilling them up!

garden mullein 2013

On September 20th we picked all our Honey Crisp apples.  I wanted them to stay on the trees a little longer but with every windy day many would fall off the tree.  Our other tree is still loaded and I will be  picking those later in October to make applesauce.

apples Honey Crisp 2013

Sunflowers

garden sunflowers

garden sunflower autumn mix

We have seen this little frog on the house, on our window and on the door at night.  I found him in my Autumn Joy Sedum during the day.

Garden sedum frog

We have let the chickens roam the yard this fall, Henry took this photo.

chicken barred rock

Climbing the rocks in my flower garden.

garden rocks Henry and Nola Mae

Charlie is a great big brother and very helpful, he loves to wear Nola Mae.

wrap DIY Charlie & Nola Mae

I got out my baby wearing vest for one of our hikes.  It was chilly but not chilly enough for me.  It was perfect for keeping Nola Mae warm.

wrap Mei Tai w vest sept walk

My friend Sara and I with our matching Zara Velvet wraps.

wrap two Zara Velvets w Sara

I washed my light rainbow wrap, it looked so pretty on the line I had to take a photo.

wrap light rainbow diamond weave clothes line

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

Week 51 – December 17 – 23, 2012

Week 51 – December 17 – 23, 2012

(Completed on 1/28/13)

My recent weeks have not been very productive.   A friend asked me to make her some diaper liners.  It was what I needed to get motivated to get back into my sewing room.

sewing cloth liners

I played around and made these for my jars that I like to drink tea out of.

sewing jar covers

I wrapped and labeled some of my soap.

Soap

Jack completed his “container” for the Vaters’ art exchange.  One of the most beautiful things he has made (in my opinion).

Cabinet Jack built

I worked on my “container” and came up with this cloth bowl.  Since it seemed lame to me, comparing it to what Jack was contributing.  I filled my cloth bowl with extra goodies, like honey, tea, my homemade soap and body balm.

sewing clothes bowls

Nola Mae is getting close to joining us at the table in her own chair.

Nola Mae eats at table

Snow shoeing has been fun with the boys.  Robbie is the super snow shoer!  We have been working hard at packing our trails so we can ski on them too.

snow shoe path

It was too cold and too late in the afternoon for Nola Mae to ride on my back so I packed her in the sled so she would be warmer.

skiing sled Nola Mae

Henry had his preschool Christmas program this week.  He (like all our kids) is not a performer.  He just stood in the front row with a smile on his face.  In the days before and after the program he has proven to me that he can sing the songs, just not in front of all the parents.

Henry pre school

I learned of breast milk popsicle for teething babies.  I bought some little plastic shot glasses, pumped some of my milk and froze it with a Q-tip for the stick.  Nola Mae was a little crabby one day and I just couldn’t tell what was going on with her.  I remembered the popsicle that I made and gave her one.  It did the trick because she was very busy working on the popsicle until it was gone.

breastmilk popcicle

Henry thought it was cute to put Nola Mae in the basket.  She liked it only for a short time.

basket baby

Once in a while Henry wants to wear one of his stuffed animals.  I made this Mei Tai for him after I made mine.

Mei Tai kid size

A Christmas tree cake I made for someone who wanted to take a dessert to a Christmas gathering.

Cake x-mas tree

Week 41 – October 8 – 14, 2012

Week 41 – October 8 – 14, 2012

(Completed on 12/16/12)

We went to The Paine Art Center for the Ansel Adams’ exhibit.  In the children’s area the activity was to make a Frankenstein head.  They had the blank green heads already made out of milk jugs.

frankenstein heads

Here is one last photo of “yours mullein” with the leaves harvested.  I needed to explain to Henry that I don’t want it cut down because I want the seeds to fall on the ground and plant more mullein.  I was able to redirect his attention to job we were in the garden for…cutting broccoli.

mullein w Henry

My awesome broccoli that wouldn’t stop growing!

Broccoli 2012

tomatoes & broccoli

My light rainbow wrap with a fancy twist.

wrap light rainbow twist

I made pumpkin cheesecake for my book club meeting.  Because I hosted I got to pick the book for us to read and discuss – Her Mother’s Hope.

cheesecake pumpkin

Charlie reading to Nola Mae!  Melts my heart!

Charlie reading to Nola Mae

Henry’s preschool went to a local pumpkin patch for a field trip.

field trip Henry's class

field trip Henry

field trip Henry rides

We got our first egg from the hens that we hatched this spring at home and with Charlie’s kindergarten class.

first egg our hatch

On Robbie’s birthday weekend we had his friends over and also a couple of Charlie’s for a combined b-day party.  This is the cake Robbie designed after for the Elemental Warrior stuff he plays.

Cake RW 9th b-day

This is the second year in a row we carved pumpkins.

B-day party combined pumpkins

Jack helped all the boys make a step stool.  It was a huge hit.

B-day combined stools

B-day combined group

Thankfully we have photos of when Robbie was a baby because I would have told you that he had no hair when he was a baby!  Happy Birthday, Robbie!

RW baby

Week 33 – August 12 – 19, 2012

Week 33 – August 12 – 19, 2012

(completed 9/23/12)

Sunday, August 12th:  For some reason I forgot to include these photos in Week 32’s post.  We picked Robbie up from his sleepover in the morning on our way to Stevens Point.  He was the only boy out of many to get an injury – a banged up knee.

This looks like she is pouting, but really she is trying to copy me doing “raspberries” with my lips.

We met Grandpa Rob in Stevens Point with the bikes.  Henry, Nola Mae and I did the shuttling for their bike trip on the Green Circle trail.  Grandpa Rob, Jack and the two older boys biked 5 miles from one park to another.  Henry was sad that they were leaving without him, so I took him to the south side of the park they were departing.  I loved his excitement when he first spotted them.

Then he ran with them for a little while.

Then they left us.

This is the snake we found at the park in Whiting while waiting for the bikers to meet us for our picnic lunch.  An Eastern Hognose. This gives me the willies looking at it again.  I really do not like snakes.  I asked Jack to try to find out what kind of snake it was.  He found this website .   I was horrified to see the many different kinds of snakes in WI.  Mom, you shouldn’t go to that link!

Monday, August 13th: Veggies picked today.

Tuesday, August 15th:  My worm factory that I got for a Mother’s Day gift is three months old.  I added a second box this month.

 Wednesday, August 15th:  Nola Mae has always been a good baby.   I changed her diaper, then let her hang out on the floor while I did something and noticed she was quiet and this is what I found.

We have been letting the boys sleep in our room this summer.  They have a nest on the floor at the foot of our bed.  When it is hard for them to settle down to fall asleep they (usually Robbie) they are separated and one boy is sent to their room.  Tonight it was Robbie who was sent to a different room.   Robbie wanted a second chance so he must have written this note to Charlie.  I found this paper airplane in my room in the morning.

The paper airplane opened with the full message.

Thursday, August 16th:  I finished making Nola Mae’s baptismal gown.  I copied a few dresses that we had for the design.

Saturday, August 18th:  A progress shot of the kayak.

Sunday, August 19th:  Nola Mae was baptised.  Here are a few photos from this day…

The cake was decorated by my sister, Danna.

After the party, cup stacking contests…

Granny brought lots of sweet corn to share with everyone.  Henry and I worked on freezing the corn after the party.

Week 19– May 7 – 13, 2012

Week 19 – May 7 – 13, 2012

Monday, May 7th:  Last week Sunday when I was working on the last details of my blog post Charlie asked to hold Nola Mae.  They were quiet and I looked over at them and found both of them sleeping.

Now onto our exciting Monday morning…we picked up red worms for a composting bin from Central WI Environmental Station.  The most exciting part was that they weren’t prepared for us to arrive on Monday morning so we were able to help pick out our worms from their composting bin.

Tuesday, May 8th:  Nola Mae is ready for the chicken chores.

My book club meeting was tonight.  We read (attempted to read) Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy.  Our host had the great idea to dress up as if we were going to a ball.  (I don’t have a breastfeeding friendly ball gown)

 Wednesday, May 9th:  Nola Mae made her first trip into the play house with the brothers.

My flowers and veggie plants that we purchased from our favorite greenhouse.

Thursday, May 10th:  Some exciting after school activities.

Friday, May 11th:  In the early morning hours I woke up freezing.  I thought it was cold in our house and asked Jack to cuddle with me to warm me up.  He told me I was burning hot, what a great husband!  I also had a head ache and aches throughout my body, these were clues to me that Jack wasn’t being sweet he was just telling it like it is.   Jack offered to get the boys ready for school and on the bus.  I declined because I didn’t feel too badly and I promised to drive them to school this morning.   I was able to get an extra hour of sleep by driving them.  It took all the energy I had to get them to school.  I was hoping to hit some rummage sales (our city-wide rummage sale) this morning after dropping them off at school, didn’t happen!   I dropped them off and went straight home and right to the couch in the living room.

  I felt like I would die on the couch it was so bad.  I was thankful that Henry is independent enough to make food for himself.  He made a bagel, ate some fruit from the counter and filled the rest of his belly with the candy that he could reach, like my last four caramels I had hidden in the pantry.  Jack called me around 9:00 to see how I was doing and offered to come home.  At that point I was feeling bad but not too badly.  I was up once and warmed up the chicken noodle soup that my mom sent home with Jack last Sunday.   Henry and I ate that before I got really sick.

  I called Jack back around 10:30 to tell him I was worse and that he should cancel our plans for the night and told him that I could still handle things with Henry until he got home.  Henry was staying close to me or playing nicely in the toy room.  After that I got worse and couldn’t think straight to call anyone, just thought about it and wished that my mom or mother-in-law or step-mom lived close.  I could hear everything Henry was doing/getting into, the only dangerous thing was the hatchet in the mudroom.  I was able to stop him from chopping firewood without getting off the couch, because I really couldn’t get up.

I asked Henry to bring me the camera because I wanted a picture of Nola Mae.  It was one of my tricks to get him to come see me and distract him from getting into whatever I thought he was doing at the time.  He snapped this horrible picture of me and this one of Nola Mae.

 

I was thankful and hated the fact that I have such an independent three-year old.  He brought me water, the Tylenol bottle, diapers and got into many things that wouldn’t happen if I was able to follow him around.  I was thankful I had a 5 week old baby that needed to nurse and sleep the day away.

When Jack came home he found a horrible mess everywhere.  I wish I had photos of all Henry’s messes.  They would show what I prevent every day from happening.  The first and only question Jack asked when he walked in the door, “Who was working on an art project in the kitchen?”  I think after that he realized that Henry was the one to blame for the rest of the messes.

Saturday, May 12th:  I was still sick today.  I was feeling well enough to walk around for short periods of time and was done with the chills but still had the sweats.

Sunday, May 13th:  I was feeling well by this morning.  I put Nola Mae on my back and we planted onions in the garden.  She slept for about two hours when I woke her up to nurse.

We went for a walk in the woods to get out of the sun.  Robbie made these leaf belts.

Jack made this shelf/frame that hangs on the wall.  The pictures are sitting on the shelf and can be changed easily.

Click here to see photos from our afternoon.

Week 15 – April 9 – 15, 2012

Week 15 – April 9 – 15, 2012

To see more photos of Nola Mae’s fist week please go to this post… Click here for my post titled Our first week with Nola Mae Margaret.

Monday, April 9th:  Today I posted a short post with info on our new baby girl with no name.  Click here to see that post.  Then our computer crashed.   One of my cousin who seemed as surprised as I was that I gave birth to a daughter (my first time writing that word) was wondering if the arrival of a girl in our house and our computer crashing was a sign that the world was coming to an end.

Today my Mom, Helen, my mother-in-law, and Jack were here helping around the house and spending time with the boys so I could rest and relax.

My Mom’s take of her visit here:

I had the most wonderful visit at Jack & Jenny’s today. I was greeted by Henry running across the yard (in a shirt, underwear, & boots – his usual attire) with arms out-stretched, yelling, “GRANNY, GRANNY”.  I’ve never had quite a welcome as that.  He was very helpful all day as we washed  & hung up clothes, swept & mopped floors, he helped with cooking, and when I said I had some things in the car to be brought in, he was out the door before I turned around.  He found some Smarties in my bag and of course I told them they were for him.   We found a place for them in the pantry and he helped himself to them all day.  He stayed in the kitchen to eat them where his Mama couldn’t see him.

 He still had some birthday cake left and he had to show me his rainbow cake. I asked him which color was his favorite and he pointed to the white frosting! After supper he had candles in his cake and we all sang Happy Birthday, including Henry. Then Mama (Jenny) suggested we sing Happy Birthday to the baby because she is one day old. Robbie got out his music and played Happy Birthday on the piano for the baby. And he played very well.

Robbie hugged me like he wanted to – not because he was told to. He was quite taken with his new little sister. He’d smile so sweetly at her as he held her. He said he made up a song for her and sang it to her.  I haven’t heard it yet, but I think Jenny got it on video.

 Robbie’s Joke:  Why is there a shortage of honey in Boston? 

                           Because there is only one “B”

 Jenny spilled a glass of water and before anyone could ask, Charlie was running for a towel to wipe up the spill. He was all sweetness.  He read a book to Henry and showed me his glow-in-the-dark tattoo that looked like it moved when he wiggled his fingers.

When Robbie was sitting behind me on the chair holding the baby he said, “I hope she won’t be a bossy sister. Some girls act they are a queen or something.” Charlie came over by us and heard the last part about the queen and said, “Then we’ll be her subjects and have to protect her. And of course she’ll have to get a husband.” Is there a Harry Potter influence?

Helen had come the morning she was born, though just missed her birth.  Today (Monday) she took Robbie and Charlie to piano lessons in the morning and then later in the afternoon they went to Susie’s library.  I was told that everybody loves to go to “Susie’s Library.”  Poor Henry was a little sad that he couldn’t go, but he napped most of the time they were gone.

 Jack made a nice lunch and the boys loved my wheat rolls.  Before supper Jack took the older boys to a highway clean-up project.

The whole day went by with only one altercation – Henry got a little carried away with his light sword and whacked poor Robbie in the head.  Not intentionally, of course, and there was no retaliation.  Maybe this little girl will bring a bit of calm to a house full of boys.  Besides the fun day with the boys and lots of time holding the new baby, I had a nice visit with Jack, Helen, and of course Jenny.  Jenny looks very well.  Jack took a bunch of pictures of all of us together before I left.

As I drove out of the driveway (beep, beep), headed for home, they all stood at the window waving…

Tuesday, April 10th:  The two older boys went back to school after their short spring break.  The house was a lot more quiet.  In the evening Grandpa Rob came to meet Nola Mae.  Jack was sick with the flu in the middle of the night.  I was thankful Helen was here, I just hope she doesn’t get sick.

Henry helped Grandma Hanna shred carrots for the soup that Granny made for us.

I am not sure that Jack finished this box the week Nola Mae was born.  I had to share something because he was able to get into the wood shop this week.