May 2013 – Month 5

May 2013 – Month 5

We have been canoeing in the bowl at the ski hill for the past four years (I think).  Click here for better photos from April 12, 2011.  This year was the latest date, May 1st, we have ever paddled and March 16, 2012 was the earliest.

canoe in the bowl boys

canoe in the bowl

Jack took a video of Henry being cute pushing Nola Mae around on the upside down kitchen stool.  While doing that he captured some crazy stuff.  He put this movie together and titled it FourKidChaos:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhjH403j_j4

I was putting Nola Mae down for a nap and I found Henry getting the boys’ after school snack ready.  Henry is always so thoughtful and helpful.

Henry & fruit

Nola Mae has figured out how to climb on top of the piano to play music with her feet.  I am not sure if this link will work from Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=4867423086535&set=vb.1326037913&type=3&theater

Nola Mae musical feet

Grandma Helen came to visit us.  We had a busy weekend with activities around our house and farm.  Nola Mae watching a kickball game in the front yard.

Nola Mae bench

henry kick ball

This is the tree that fell down or we cut down the week Nola Mae was born.   That year on Saturday of Easter weekend we spent the morning making firewood.  I went into labor that night and had Nola Mae in the morning.  I will always remember this spot and refer to it as Nola Mae’s firewood.

family in the woods

Forging

Jack & Nola Mae

barn basketball CB

barn basketball RW

At some point during basketball Robbie found a soft spot in the floor.  Jack decided it was time to replace that part of the floor.  He put the boys to work and had this done before the end of the weekend. 

barn floor repair sweep

barn floor repair boys hammer

We got these stilts from Jack’s Aunt Corky.  Charlie was the one that was interested in them when Jack showed them how to use them.  I was surprised because he seems easily discouraged when trying new things.  Now that I think more about this…He wasn’t discouraged because Robbie wasn’t trying them and if Robbie did and was good at it Charlie would have quit.  (Something we have to be thoughtful of all the time!)  Charlie practiced every day for many days and is able to take many steps.

stilts Charlie

A couple of years ago we had to replace the south stone wall of our barn.  In order to minimize our cost with this repair we had the workers move the rock just outside the barn door into the pasture.  I didn’t think through this when it was happening.  This huge rock and dirt pile blocks my path to the north pasture and my access to the north side of the basement of the barn.  Plus it is an eye sore to me.  Last year, when I had a new baby, I wanted to work on moving the rocks.    It never happened!  So this spring, my plan was to move a bucket load a day.  It worked for about two weeks and the progress was slow.  I will get this path opened by the end of summer!

rock pile clean up

I started running this month and decided I needed to buy new shoes, more pink than I like, but they were the best for comfort and price!

new shoes

Once the snow melted and skiing was done I would walk/run around town for an hour, while Henry was in preschool, pushing Nola Mae in a single child jogging stroller.  My first run from home – pushing two kids loaded with water, snacks & a tablet (I didn’t want to have a restless Henry) in my bike trailer/stroller.  This load is a lot harder to push compared to pulling them in the ski sled while skiing!  It took me many runs to realize that I am out of shape but not terribly out of shape, I am just pushing a big load.  My 4.5 mile loop that I do from home was taking me 1 hour and 20-30 minutes.  One weekend morning I went for a run, all by myself, and ran that loop in 50 minutes.

stroller 1st ride

Nola Mae napped in the stroller during my run.  This photo is from later in the afternoon when my neighbor came over.  She helped load up some rocks into my tractor bucket and watched Henry and Nola Mae while I delivered the rocks to her yard for her landscaping project.

stroller 1st ride nap

Our sweet Nola Mae loves the phone.  The same day we went for our first run, loaded and delivered rocks, I was working in the kitchen and I needed Nola Mae to be happy for just a little bit longer.  I gave her the phone to play with.  That was the last time I thought I saw phone for three days!  I back tracked all my steps that day and all the places I was outside and in the house.  I could not find the phone.   I had Henry push the “find” button once I was in the garden, garage and barn.   For three days I cleaned under furniture, cleaned closets and cleaned the mud room, sort of cleaned the toy room, and walked all over the yard looking for that darn phone.  While I was walking around the yard I was reminded that I lost our phone last year, forever!   I thought maybe I would find that phone instead of the current lost one.  I will laugh so hard and probably pee my pants when I am 60 years old and working outside in the yard and I find a phone!

Since I was on a cleaning spree and the temps were dropping outside I decided I should clean out the ashes in the wood stove and wash the door window before I started a fire.  I laughed pretty hard (didn’t pee my pants) when I opened the stove door and found the phone!

missing phone

Iola has a city-wide rummage sale every year on the weekend of Mother’s day.  Last year I missed out because I was really sick.  This year, Henry and I hit a few jack-pots!  I had to take a photo of our goodies from just one sale.  All this for around $50.  (bike $5, lawn mower $20, two plug in heaters for chicken waters $10, buckets $1 each, pretty denim fabric $3 for 5 yards, swimming stuff $2, buttons $2 and glass wares $6)

rummage sale jack pot

Charlie bought this chess, checkers, backgammon, domino set from his teacher’s rummage sale for $1.  For as much as he loves to play chess this was his jack-pot!  I think that boy now owns three chess boards.

rummage sale Charlie's chess

Charlie has not been wanting to sleep in his bed lately.  So he will fall asleep in the door way of his room or on the couch while watching a movie.

Charlie sleeping floor  Charlie sleeping tie

I haven’t had a flat tire in a long time.  I got this one on my way to the ski hill to help my friend prepare for a bike race  IWSC was hosting.  I was thankful my Mom and Step-Dad made me take off and put back on all four tires on our family car before I could drive it.  A good reminder to do that with our kids.

flat tire

I discovered Nola Mae likes mud puddles.

Nola Mae puddle

Henry finished preschool and will go to 4K in the fall.  His preschool was two days/week for 2.5 hours each day.  4K will be two full days/week and he will ride the bus.  He loved school, enjoyed playing with most of the kids, loved his teachers and rarely gave me kisses good-bye.  I was reminded every school day that he is independent, very confident and my 3rd child when he would tell me, “Mama, just drop me off at the sidewalk. You don’t have to walk me in.”

Henry's preschool

When the older boys went to preschool this is what I remember:  Robbie didn’t want me to leave him, I always left quickly, he didn’t cry but was sad, and always gave me the biggest hugs and five kisses (that was the number of kisses he picked for our good-bye routine).   Charlie cried when Robbie went to school.  Charlie always gave me a quick kiss and hug when I dropped him off at preschool.

This soccer season was over so quickly.  And was a lot of fun for me to watch them play.

soccer team Charlie

Charlie is also in Robbie’s team photo because a few times Robbie’s team was short players.

soccer team Robbie

Nola Mae soccer ball

My dream of having a track star to cheer on may come true.  Robbie is showing signs of being a strong runner and he sure is a speedy boy.  Nola Mae loves running on the track.

Nola Mae Track

Jack took this photo.  I love it because Henry looks so peaceful and angelic.  I also find this photo to be funny because it looks like aliens are sucking his brain while he is rotting his brain while playing on the tablet. 

Henry tablet sunshine

Jack took all three boys for a camping trip with his brother’s family.  Our boys adore their older cousins.  I love these two pictures because you can see their happiness.

camping gravel pit CB & Erik

camping gravel pit RW & Michael

I met Jack and the boys at the nursing home to visit the Vater grandparents.  I spent a little bit of time outside with Nola Mae taking these pictures.  I couldn’t decide which one I liked the best so I had to include my four favorites.

Nola Mae outside 1  Nola Mae outside 2

Nola Mae outside 3 Nola Mae outside

Henry discovered these morels in my flower beds and strawberry patch.  This is about a quarter of what we picked and I ate.

mushrooms

Robbie brought this note home.  I was shocked only because he never gets in trouble at school!  I was not surprised because this is the kind of stuff he would do at home!

bad behavior art.IMG

Nola Mae rarely lets me feed her anything with a spoon.  She has to pick up her food with her fingers by herself!  Recently, I tried to give her some of my homemade applesauce but she has refused it because I was serving it to her on a spoon.  I had applesauce on the table for everyone, she grabbed Robbie’s bowl and started eating it and loved it!  She made a horrible mess.  And now eats it off a spoon from me.

applesauce Nola Mae

We have been getting some good rains this month.  Our rain gauge is broken so I never know how much.  The boys played outside in the last rain we got.

rain robbie

rain henry

rain charlies

Baby wearing photos:

Mother’s Day hike at Keller Lake, wearing Nola Mae in my Ergo.

mother's day w kids

Hiking in our woods, wearing my Zara Velvet wrap.

zara velvet wap I carry because I care

zara velvet wrap holding hands with Charlie

April 2013 – Month 4

April 2013 – Month 4

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

last ski

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

last ski 2013 a Last ski b

last ski c

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

B-day Helen

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

cake Henry birthday

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

lantern send off

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

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

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

cake Nola Mae cupcake

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

b-day cupcake boys

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

Reading Henry waiting

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

Charlie before  Charlie after

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

April ice & snow

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

medal 5K

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

Black Bean soup ingredients  Black Bean soup veggies

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

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

egg double yolk w shell

Here is what a normal double yoke should look like!

egg double yolk healthy

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

Snowman Window  snowman Nola Mae wants to help

Actually three of them.

Snowman & boys

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

Game table Nola Mae

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

Game table Nola Mae tops

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

Nola Mae icycles

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

Henry's skelaton drawing  Henry's skelaton created

April 26th – crocuses blooming in my ditch.

Crocus in the ditch

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

Zara Velvet Wrap walk around town

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

Nola Mae watching brothers

 Play house train

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

Nola Mae Blue eyes

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

capes

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

 soap small bars

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

Soap felted

soap in basket

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

March 2013 – Month 3

March 2013 – Month 3

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

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

Charlie reads to Nola Mae

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

Tissue Nola Mae 1  Tissue Nola Mae 2

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

Robbie's lego design

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

Bad word jar

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

  Nine Months In.                      Nine Months Out.

Shadow Baby Belly 2012  Shadow  Baby on back 2013

Jack’s  birthday is this month.

Jack w Nola Mae

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

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

Anna Snow shoe

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

Charlie on pond

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

snowshoe 7 sled

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

Nola Mae window

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

Family ski

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

Nola Mae loves snow

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

egg hunt on skis

More outside photos are in my First Spring Walks post.

 This Moment – My Skiing Partner.

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

Nola Mae Climbs 2 Nola Mae Climbs 3

Nola Mae climbs 4    Nola Mae climbs 5

And she has gotten into some messy things.

Nola Mae black mouth

Nola Mae Nutella

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

Game table Jack

Coloring eggs is always fun for the boys.

eggs coloring 2013

eggs colored 2013

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

soap cutting coloring

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

Soap bars cut

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

Three brothers  Nola Mae in purple

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

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

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

wrap paper  Henry's Mei Tai

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

wrap stash

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

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

wrap ligth rainbow DHTT 2 wrap light rainbow DHTT 1

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

Cake nuking

February 2013 – Month 2

February 2013 – Month 2

In late January the boys had a two-hour delay for school due to bad weather and then a snow day.

The morning of the two-hour delay caused some craziness.  Every morning if Nola Mae and Henry are still sleeping when it is time to go out to the end of the driveway I walk out there with the boys.  I take care of the dogs.  This morning I turned on the water to fill the horse’s water tank.

I didn’t know there was a two-hour delay until we were outside waiting for the bus by 6:30 and we were waiting for about 10 minutes.  I saw the county bus go by very slowly, usually this bus is going pretty fast.  I realized then that maybe the wasn’t any school because the roads were probably too bad.  I went into the house to check the school’s website.  In all this craziness I forgot about the running water in the barn.  The nice thing about our old barn and the placement of my water tank is when it overflows most of the water goes to the stairs.

flooded barn

After the two big boys were off to school I scooped the water out with the 5 gallon bucket and the grain shovel.  If I didn’t wear my baby I am not sure when or how I would have gotten this cleaned up.  I was concerned about it freezing and needed it to get cleaned up right away!

flooded barn clean up

flooded barn clean

When we had a snow day I was thinking ahead so we made Valentine cards for school.  I refuse to buy the crap that is in the stores.  I cut hearts of all sizes and all three boys glued and colored whatever they wanted, signed their name and we taped a small package of Smarties or a sucker on each card. Thanks to Granny we had a good supply of Smarties!  Henry signed all of his with one big “H”, up until this time I didn’t know he could write an H.  He saw the boys writing their names and he told me he could do his.

Valentine making

The innocent playing on the kitchen stool has turned dangerous.  Remember last month’s cute photos?  Now, I put the stool away and only bring it out when we need it.

stool Nola Mae 1  stool Nola Mae2

Henry’s preschool does a cake raffle at four high school basketball games as a fundraiser.  These are two of the three cakes I made.  The preschool raised a total of over $400.

Basketball cake   cake heart cake

Henry has watched us play Battle Ship.  On this day he was set on filling every spot and not interested in getting up until he was done.

Henry battleship

I heard the piano keys being played.  I stopped what I was doing in the kitchen to tell Henry how beautiful and gentle his fingers were playing and found Nola Mae standing at the piano.

piano Nola Mae reaching

Henry thinks she needs to sit down to play and put her on a chair.  Nola Mae likes it.

Piano Nola Mae

My friend, Asherrie’s mom made this little hair hat for Nola Mae.

Nola Mae w hair

During some cold temps this month we were unable to start the tractor to bring firewood into the house.  Robbie and I brought this load of wood into the house.

Robbie firewood load

We have had excellent skiing this month.

A snowy day made it a lot more work to ski and pull the sled.  It is a good thing Nola Mae sleeps the whole time because on this day she wouldn’t have been able to see out of the sled.

ski sled w snow

Henry’s skiing skills improved drastically in a week’s time.  He went from me skiing next to him while going down hill, and skiing behind him doing the “duck walk” up the hill to him climbing up hills and zooming down hills all by himself.  He has also gotten stronger during the month of February.  We always went on the green loop.  By the end of this month we going out on the blue loop.  One day he skied for over 1.5 miles.  And another day he skied the entire blue loop (distance?) in 1 hour 45 minutes.

skiing Henry down

I had a few days where Henry would ski as far as he could and when he would get tired I put him in the sled with Nola Mae.  They would both fall asleep within 10 minutes and I could ski as long as I was able to.  On this day I didn’t bring any water with me and had to go back after 1.5 hours.  They could have napped longer and I could have skied longer!

Skiing sled b&w

Aunt Becca came to ski with us during one of our Saturday morning lessons.  The youth ski group skied to the shelter on the green trail for hot dogs, hot chocolate and the reading of  the book called The Race of the Birkebeiners.

skis at shelter

skiing w Becca

Skiing w Becca 1

Three of my sisters met at my house for skiing and visiting.  While they were here it was too beautiful to be inside.  I got the boys out to try to do some sledding.  Kayla and Skyler came outside to play with us and they had an idea to make a snow fort.

Kayla & Nola Mae  Henry and Skylar

Snow fort building

The snow fort started to lean when the temps warmed up.  Notice the leaning sides of the fort.

Snow fort melt down 1

snow fort meltdown 3

The day before it fell to the ground.

snow fort meltdown 5

During this same weekend the youth ski group skied our re-enactment of The Race of the Birkebeiners where the kids brought their babies or stuffed animals and carried them on a special trail that I had groomed for them.

Birkie ski

I had someone interested in buying my Ellaroo wrap.  This was my first wrap.  I haven’t been using it very often so I considered parting with it.  We wrapped with it and I decided I couldn’t sell it just yet.

Ellaroo Ysabel wrap smiles

Nola Mae doing “The Big C” and still staying in the wrap!

Ellaroo Ysabel wrap back arch

I made this ring sling for myself after finding out that I like the ease of getting Nola Mae in and out when going places.

Ring Sling DIY Plum

I got this wrap hammock idea from my friend, Brianna, the one who got me into wrapping.  She has made forts, swings and hammocks with her wraps.  Charlie’s friend rode the bus after school to work on her science project with Mystique (Click here to see her mom’s blog post).

Wrap hammock G

Charlie and Robbie took turns sleeping in the hammock.

Wrap hammock sleeping Charlie

January 2013 – Month 1

January 2013

(Completed on 2/17/13)

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

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

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

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

Henry skiing Jan 7th  ski sled Henry & Nola Mae

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

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

Henry skiing Jan 25th  Skiing Jan 25th

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

Henry sledding

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

Charlie reading

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

Sweet Pea sweater Nola Mae

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

cold morning cinnamon buns

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

Dishwasher Nola Mae

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

end table drawer 1

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

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

Aunt Chris blankets

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

Nola Mae end table 1    Nola Mae end table 2

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

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

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

Nola Mae joins the table

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

Nola Mae wipes

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

Robbie icicles 1

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

Robbie icicles 3

What was that monkey boy after?

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

Ski class 2013

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

DIY purple linen wrap

DIY purple linen wrap

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

Zara Velvet

Zara Velvet

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

Zara Velvet

Zara Velvet

Week 47 – November 19 – 25, 2012

Week 47 – November 19 – 25, 2012

(Completed on 1/14/13)

Another version of our family profile photo.  My favorite.

FamilyProfile5

Jack’s work shut down for the week of Thanksgiving.  So after the big hunting weekend he was able to be home and take his kayak out a few times.

Kayak w car

Kayak 1st time out

I love this picture of Henry so much I want a life-sized one in my house.

Kayak 1st time out w Henry

After the older boys were done with school we went back for a paddle with everyone.  It looks like we are having fun. I was not.  I was afraid we were going to tip.  I had a lot of fun paddling with one boy at a time.  The kayak is a very smooth and fast ride.  For now the only kayak paddles we have are kid sizes.  I can’t wait to see how fast we can go when I have an adult paddle.

Kayak w all four kids

A napping baby!  I will definitely miss these days,

Wrap Zara Velvet snoozing 1

We spent Thanksgiving with my mom and my siblings (minus my brother & his family).

Family Thanksgiving 2012

Our boys had some fun climbing Granny’s pine tree.

Granny's pine Robbie

Granny's pine Joey

Granny's pine Charlie

Nola Mae had fun climbing all over Granny’s counter.

Nola Mae Granny's counter

Jack and his brother took these boys to the Northwoods for hiking and a little hunting.

Northwoods Vater cousin

During Robbie’s time in the Northwoods with the Vater cousins he got a thorn stuck in his calf muscle.  It was sticking out a little.  It hurt him too much for us to pick at it.  He wanted to soak in the bath and get it out himself.  And he did and it was huge!

Northwood thorn in RW's leg

We were able to visit with both sets of Jack’s grandparents, but only took photos at Grandma Siggie’s.

Gma Siggie w Nola Mae

Gma Siggie w Nola Mae's hands

Week 46 – November 12 – 18, 2012

Week 46 – November 12 – 18, 2012

(Completed on 1/14/13)

I couldn’t find Henry in the house and the last time I heard him he was upstairs.  I expected to find him in my night stand playing with my reading light, or eating my vitamin C drops, playing in the boys’ room with the things he isn’t suppose to touch.  Instead I caught him reading on my bed.  He got some really big hugs and kisses from me after I was sneaky about taking this photo.

Reading caught Henry

I made two batches of soap last week, in order to have them ready for my Christmas gifts this year.  I used two different boxes and learned that the newest box seemed to work the best (an old drawer).  The soap on the left is my favorite soap.  It is similar to “Earth Child” a kind that I have seen on the internet.  The essential oils are Patchouli, Orange and Lemon and I add oatmeal for exfoliation.  The soap on the right has the essential oils Lavender and Lemon grass.  Everyone seems to love this kind!

soap nov 2012

Nola Mae enjoyed feeding herself some steamed broccoli.

Nola Mae broccoli

We got this adorable hat from my friend, Jan.  The little blue ribbon on the hat brings out her blue eyes.

Wrap Light Rainbow DW Jan's hat

Nola Mae is working on pulling herself up to a standing position.

Nola Mae balls of fabric

Henry’s turn to bring snack to preschool was coming up.  He of course wanted to help.  Here he was telling me he was ready before I was ready.   He got out the measuring spoons and the flour.Henry ready for baking We made a triple batch of banana bread and muffins.  I shared some loaves and put some in the freezer. banana bread & muffins

Jack took photos of each of us and put our profile shot in one photo.    I love it!  And soon this photo will be on our wall.

ProfileCollage

Jack took the two big boys home to his mom’s for deer hunting.  I love this smile!

Charlie tree stand

While they were gone hunting and every hunter I know on Facebook was posting dead deer photos I decided I needed to take a picture of my dead animals.  I butchered six aggressive, horny, and too much feed eating roosters.

horny rooster dead

Since the majority of Wisconsinites were dressed in blaze orange this weekend I decided to put Nola Mae in one of my favorite outfits.

my girl in orange

The kayak:

kayak gloss

was finished this week!

kayak tall

Week 45 – November 5 – 11, 2012

Week 45 – November 5 – 11, 2012

(Completed 1/13/2012)

There was snow in the forecast this week, which means that we have hurry up and get a load of firewood in to the house.

firewood boys

The kayak building project helped Jack realize that he isn’t going to fit up old vehicles for use on our farm.  I am happy to have him woodworking than working on old trucks.  So off to the junk yard they went!

Jack bought this truck in 1998, moved his belongings to Iola from Platteville when he graduated and we moved in together.  I have looked at this truck for many years!  I was kind of sad to see it go.

truck for junk Samson

The recyling man came back for the second truck that was taking up my space in the garage.  I was happy to see this one go.

truck for junk

I bought apples this fall, since our tree didn’t have any, the boys weren’t eating them fast enough so I made them into apple sauce.  I love my mehu maija because we get the extra apple juice that would normally be cooked down in the apple sauce making process.

Henry stealing a little juice.  Thankfully it was cold.

applesauce juice

Nola Mae on my back.  Because if I didn’t “babywear” I would never get anything done!

wrap Zara Velvet making applesauce

applesauce juice 2012

Henry played in our first snow a little bit before going to school.

first snow 2012

I was able to walk to the voting polls while Henry was in preschool.  (There really was more snow at home than in town)

ergo off to vote

Nola Mae was very warm under her fleece body suit because I dress her in many colorful layers.  This is good practice for when the real snow arrives.

Nola Mae stripes

One of the things I love most…is walking into a room and finding one of our boys reading.

Robbie reading on floor

Two boys in one night!

Charlie reading at table

I had fun making and eating some homemade bread.

homemade bread

The boys spent a good amount of time standing all the Lincoln logs up.  I reminded them that Nola Mae or Henry may crash them down.

Linclon log towers

That gave them the idea to do it on purpose with Nola Mae

Lincoln log towers push

The kayak this week:

kayak front

One more round of sanding.  I don’t have the patience for sanding.

kayak sanded

Week 42 – October 15 – 21, 2012

   Week 42 – October 15 – 21, 2012

(Completed on 12-16-12)

I saved most of the pumpkin seeds from the birthday party to make pumpkin seeds.

pumpkin seeds 2012

Nola Mae (6 months) has been sucking/chewing on our soft apples and loving them.

Nola Mae apple

Henry’s job is to refill my small coffee canister that is stored in the cupboard with my coffee cups.

Jobs Henry's coffee

Kayak photos…

kayak boys inside

Kayak inside

Jack left us for a few days to go pheasant hunting in North Dakota.  Helen came to stay with us.

Hanna dino puzzles

I have mentioned before about basketball being played in my kitchen.  I have never gotten a picture because it always happens when I am trying to cook.  Thanks to Helen she got a great action shot.

basketball in the kitchen

Henry seems to love playing the piano.  He gets a 5 minute lesson from Miss Inne after the boys are done with their lessons.

Piano Henry

Robbie built these Lego robots – his own idea/design.

Legos Robbie' robots

Nola Mae at 6 months old has started to move around faster than ever before.

Nola Mae crawling almost

We took Helen out to the fort in the woods.

wrap hike

Robbie was climbing and swinging on this wild grapevine.  A little scary for me to watch.

Robbie vine swing

Nola Mae eating peas for the first time.

Nola Mae peas

I found directions for a Jedi robe on-line – so easy!  I googled “How to make a Jedi Robe” and found an incredibly easy pattern!  Robbie’s request was that it be made out of fleece (really easy – no hemming needed).  I went to Hancock Fabric during their 50% off  sale.  All three boys wanted at Jedi Robe.  Charlie didn’t care that Jedi Robes are brown, he wanted a blue one.  They all helped me make the robes.

jedi robe measure 1

jedi robe measure 2

jedi robe cutting

We took Helen to Iverson Park.  She took many photos (195 photos to be exact).   It was difficult to choose what photos to share.

Iverson Park

Iverson Park leaves

Iverson Park nest

Muscles made with leaves.  This made me itchy just watching them fill their shirts.

Iverson Park leaf muscles

“Hunt until you drop!” is Shadow’s motto.

North Dakota hunt tired dog

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