Friday, September 24, 2010

Appleberry Farm

This afternoon the kids and I wanted some fresh fruit,
so we loaded up the wagon with the kids and a mop bucket
and headed over to Appleberry Farm. (Isn't that a delightful name?) The apples were hanging perfectly low enough for the young pickers.
Only Adam needed a little boost.
We picked fifteen pounds of crisp Empires before heading back.
For dinner we enjoyed apple donuts and cider from the farm store, plus some scrambled eggs and carrot sticks to balance it out. I don't know if serving donuts for a main dinner course makes me an especially good or especially bad mother. Either way, it was a lovely afternoon.

Michael, three years old

Darling Michael turned three this week. And what a delightful week it was! He received phone calls, cards, and packages from several loved ones over the past few days. He's felt so special.

If anything defines Michael, it's his talkative, social nature. Michael carries on happy conversations with strangers, memorizes moderately-long picture books, and consistently tells me "thank you for making this dinner for me." Recently he made me blush when he sighed, "Mommy, you make my life so happy." Michael, you are a joy!

We celebrated his third birthday in style with a little Betty Crocker number:
Since he loves playing "restaurant," "store," and "kitchen," he got a shopping basket, a shopping cart, 
and some fabric M&M cookies as gifts. (Zachary and I made these when Michael was napping. Does my homemade gift make up for the semi-homemade cake?)
 The next day we set up a shop for each of the three older boys
and they spent a couple elated hours shopping, exchanging, and bargaining with each other. When Eric came home and joined in, the boys became so excited that they could hardly keep their feet on the ground.
This is just about how excited I am about being with Michael every day. Oh Michael, I could take a dozen of you! Happy, happy birthday.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Fall descended upon southern Wisconsin just before Labor Day, and we've enjoyed crisp mornings and pleasant afternoons since then. We figured that we had better schedule a camping trip soon, though, before it got too cool for comfort! Friday was perfectly mild--even a midnight thunderstorm sounded beautiful from underneath our trusty rainfly.
Can you believe that we fit into our dear four-man tent? The kids slept like puppy dogs; even though Eric reported that he had slept with a tree root piercing his sternum, I know that he loved it, too. Is there anything more beautiful than waking up in the middle of a forest? It even makes the mess in my van/mudroom/garage worth the trouble.

We loved these:
an early morning hike around the campground, where the boys collected piles of treasures,
making s'mores (at night and again for "breakfast dessert"),
and a venture out into the lake, where the boys braved up little by little
(Zachary and Eric are the manliest!).
Just before going home we warmed up on the beach
and made some creatures like "upside-down ice cream cone guy."
Look at those sandy feet on that tired-out boy--this was a successful trip!

Do I dare post a picture of myself with crazy hair, no make-up, and wet pants? Yes, now we are officially friends. Enjoy the lovely trees and precious boys, anyway. I love this memory.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Last week our little nephew Jackson came to visit for a few days. We did regular things, like bike riding and going to parks and reading books and making forts, and Jackson fit right in. Hurray! That was a very good thing, because in January we're going to have a new baby. Hurray again!

A few weeks ago I went in for an ultrasound, when the OB and I discovered that our fifth child would be a BABY GIRL. My immediate response was obvious:
A green gingham sundress with a fancy white cardigan, hot pink jeans with a snazzy striped shirt, play dresses with flowered bloomers! I had a blast.

Yesterday I went in for a follow-up ultrasound, when the sonographer's first words were, "That baby is NOT hiding the fact that he's a boy." A boy? My a boy? Yes, he definitely, definitely is. The OB who reviewed the images even used the phrase "textbook boy image." For heaven's sake! At least for four weeks I was expecting a girl, which is longer than I've ever expected a girl in my whole mothering experience.

I got over the disappointment in less than an hour, when I was back with my four beautiful boys:
Jacob, who scrounges around for extra chore money to use at the baseball card shop each Saturday;
Zachary, who stealthily saran-wrapped his entire bike one night while I was preparing dinner;
Michael, who sleeps with cowboy boots on and carries a harmonica around in his pocket; and
Adam, who was squealing so euphorically in Joann yesterday that I had to take him away from the bright fabric aisles.

What are the chances of having five boys in a row? About 3 percent? Sounds like we're pretty lucky.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Jacob, loving first grade

Eric's mom dropped in to visit for a few days this past week. Yeah! Her visit corresponded with the beginning of school, which was a great help to me. The day before school started I was able to go on a last-day-of-summer-vacation date with Jacob, where we went mini-golfing:
The kid even got a hole-in-one and ended up beating me by 12 strokes! (For the record, I didn't even let him win. I am horrible at mini-golf; he turned out to be pretty amazing.)
The next day I sent Jacob off to school smiling:
He literally skipped off the bus that afternoon: "That was just TOO MUCH fun, Mom. The teachers are nice. Everyone is nice." And the next day: "That was 10 BILLION times more fun than yesterday." And the third day: "The days just keep getting more and more fun. It's going to keep going that way forever." If that weren't enough, Jacob has an after-school friend: another first-grader on the bus and he have hung out for a bit after school each day. (Here they are hanging with Zachary.)
He hasn't been this buoyant for months. Do you know how much his happiness cheers my heart? I grin every time I think of him. Hurray for first grade!