Friday, October 24, 2014

From the Nature Trails

My mom and I took the boys out on the trails in our back acreage last weekend while she was up visiting; I had grabbed my camera hoping to snap some pictures of the beautiful leaves. There was only one problem....the leaves were all gone.  I breathed a deep sigh of regret for not getting out there sooner and started walking.  

The kids ran and ran and found milk weed just right for blowing and leaves on the ground just right for collecting.  As I watched them I realized (once again) that there is magic and beauty in every stage of every just have to look for it.

Happy weekend, everyone!  

Thursday, October 23, 2014


Halloween 2011
Keaton, almost 3, was an oriole.
Hutton, 16 mo, was a blue bird.
I was newly pregnant and horribly nauseous during trick-or-treating.
We shared the news with our families that night.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Vacation Journaling 2014: Day 3 - Fishing, Ice Cream and a Lumberjack Show

Tuesday, August 19th

The kids woke up with one thing on their mind today, so after breakfast we didn't stop them from getting dressed and grabbing the poles. Fishing was suddenly on the agenda.

Our dock is decent size but putting five kids and four adults into any area suddenly results in cramped quarters. 

That being said, I was so impressed with how well the kids did.  They took turns so nicely and waited patiently and generally just loved being down there watching and reeling and touching (the fish) and taking it all in.

They all got a chance to catch their own fish and, as any good fisherman would do, name them accordingly.

Keaton named his Nice Bluegill, Hutton named his Lumberjack Show, and Nolan named his FEESH!!

(My children may or may not need a bit of help in the naming department....ha!)

The girls, on the other hand, picked out beautiful names for their fish.  Lucy named her fish Lyra and Lily named hers Ellory.

Just as Lucy was getting ready to put her fish back in the water Lrya flipped and wiggled lose, as fish do, and jumped back in.  The kids all stood at the edge of the dock and shouted, Bye Lyra!

It might have been the most adorable thing ever.

That night we headed to Minocqua for dinner and ice cream at Hoogie Doggies....

...and then made our way to the Fred Scheers Lumberjack Show for an evening performance.

I love these shows because they are entertainment for everyone, kids and adults alike! I think it is safe to say we all had a good time.  After the show the kids got to collect some wood chippings to have signed by the lumberjacks.


By the time we got back in the car to head home the kids were ready to crash - it was too late to ask them about their favorite part of the day - but I'll tell you my favorite part: Keaton, after getting his first wood chip signed looked up at me with wide eyes and said, "Mom! This was signed by a REAL lumberjack!" 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Soul in the Season - Autumn 2014: Nourish


Soul in the Season is back and it has found a new, permanent, home over at The Sunlit Path!

It's been exactly three years since I last made a "Soul in the Season" list and five years since I started this segment in the first place.  Just like I needed it five years ago, I really, really need this in my life right now.

Em and I have changed things up a bit, adding a new fun element I hope you love as much as I do. We've also tried to minimize our "list" to avoid it becoming too much of a task can find all the details here: The Sunlit Path - Introducing Soul in the Season - Autumn 2014: Nourish

Come read and then Tell us! 
What are you looking most forward to this fall?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Our Week So Far....

Sunday - At church on Sunday Keaton slumped over and look up at me with puppy dog eyes and whined, I'm just soooo tired! And I did as any doting mother would do, I looked down at him and hissed, "sit up straight, that's not how you sit in church!" He came home from mass, ate lunch, and put himself to sleep.  For 3 hours.  You know where this is going, right?  Back to School germs, yup, yup, yup.  And Mother of the Year for me, obviously. Coughing, sneezing, runny nose, our first (of the year) school cold! ::throws confetti::

Monday - After hitting the essential oils hard on Sunday Keaton was good enough to go to school on Monday so we got everyone ready, headed to the car, and then our nanny called.  You know where this one is going too, right?  Back to School Colds for everyone!!! She sounded awful. AWFUL.  So we quickly adjusted our plans, Collin took the boys to school and then stayed home with Nolan for the day.

Tuesday - Everyone is feeling much better.  Sarah (not her real name) is back, Keaton is continuing to perk up, the other two are still showing no signs.  Life is Good!  Everyone makes it to there designated locations on time! My phone drops my first conference call but makes it through the second with flying colors!  Yay!  Oh Shit.  Why is Collin calling me 4x in 15 minutes? He threw out his back.  Wait. That does it no justice....He THREW OUT HIS BACK.  That's a little better.  You guys, I've never seen anything like this, he CAN NOT GET OUT OF BED. Apparently all those times I said I "threw out my back" I must have "slightly tweaked my back" because Holy Shit is this bad. The boys brought him dinner in bed though, so that was kind of cute.

Wednesday - Is that today?  I don't even know where were at here....yes, today is Wednesday.  Collin barely slept last night, which of course means I also barely slept last night.  And guess what else happened over night?  The little two started coming down with their colds. Because, of course!  I was going to keep Hutt home but he woke up 10 minutes before Sarah was going to be here and said he wanted to go to school (he doesn't and hasn't had a fever so I let him...I probably shouldn't have, but I did). So, we had 10 minutes for him to eat, brush his teeth and me to make Keaton's lunch.  But then he sat down to eat and said his tummy hurt: poop or eat Hutt, you can only do one! Pick! He went to the bathroom, I shut the door behind him and realized instantly it was locked, because why not? I mean, we're not running late or anything....I find the key, get the boys in their shoes and coats and out the door only to realize that Keaton's car seat is not in the car....and OMG, can we add one more thing to this morning?  Please?!

Anyway, that's our week so are you doing?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Back to School

Yesterday marked the First Day of the 2014-2015 school year.

Keaton has been pretty excited about this upcoming year - and especially about his new back pack and lunch box - at Meet the Teacher night last week he had a hard time sitting still through Hutton's open house, so eager to get to his own classroom to check it out. So it was no surprise to me that yesterday morning he lined up as soon as the bell rang and marched right into his room with his classmates, never looking back. 

When he got home last night we asked what his favorite part of the day was and he told us: Everything!! He told us all about the classroom behavior chart and he's excited to move up from green to earn stickers and prizes.

Hutton has been a little more tentative about going back to school and he's the one I've been a little more worried about. Having still struggled a bit with drop offs even at the end of Preschool I wasn't quite sure how he would react on the first day. But like Keaton's transition from Preschool to 4K, there was no need to fret.

As soon as we walked in the door he found a friend from last year and off they went to play with Lego's; I barely had the time to give him a kiss on the cheek and tell him to have a good day! When he climbed in the car at pickup he pulled my ear close and whispered, "Mom? Can I go back tomorrow?" and last night as we laid down to sleep he told me, "The teacher was really nice!"

Nolan produced our only set of tears on the First Day!  Ohh boy, was he mad that he couldn't stay to play with all the toys in Hutt's classroom!  

He was also mad in the morning when I was making the boys' signs and the printer spit something out for everyone but him.  I can understand, kiddo.  You don't want to be left out!  So we made him a sign and he held it proudly. He was also pretty happy when it was time to go pick up his big brothers.


In preparation for the First Day we had a little Back to School dinner on Sunday night. Back to School Party according to the boys. It was a little celebration for sure. Papa and Busha came over and we had beer can chicken on the grill, corn on the cob, green beans, watermelon, potatoes and rhubarb crisp for dessert. Keaton picked out most of the food; Hutton didn't care what we ate as long as we ate it at the "fancy table."

The boys each got a couple little surprises.  A new outfit for the two big boys (mostly because I needed more school clothes for Keaton!) and all three got a new folder, sketchpad, and I finally (finally!) finished their colored pencil rolls (which I started back in February!)

They were pretty thrilled. 

Papa and Busha brought along a goodie bag for each of them too. Hutton pulled me close as we were setting the table, pointed at the gift bags they brought and asked, "What are those for?" with a little gleam in his eye. 

Even though I'm not quite sure I'm ready for summer to be over, I guess it's time....Back to School they go!

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Sunlit Path

I was so upset last Tuesday evening when I sat down to continue our vacation journaling and realized I had forgotten the cord to transfer pictures from my (real) camera to my computer.  You may have seen some of the fishing pictures loaded to Facebook, I just couldn't continue journaling without being able to document the morning spent on the dock, poles and worms and tackle boxes in (many little) hands.

I've been busy transfering and uploading pictures and will come back to our vacation journaling shortly, but for a moment I want to break to let you in on some other exciting news going on around here.  Remember awhile back when I mentioned that I had taken on two new (outside of work) projects? Well, yesterday my good friend, Ember, and I unveiled one of those projects.  One that has been in the making for just over a year but that we moved ahead on in earnest at the beginning of this summer: a collaborative blog called The Sunlit Path.

We had originally planned on launching this in July but life and other things got in the way.  For reasons we can't really put into words - okay, we can, nerves - we've been dragging our feet since then.  Early this week Em pinged me and said: I feel strongly that we should make this go Without thinking twice I told her, Do it.

I plan on continuing to post here and I'm sure at times the lines between what I talk about here and what I talk about there will be blurry, but for the most part I foresee My Merlot being home to our family happenings and documenting the boys as they grow and The Sunlit Path being a place where I bare my heart and soul about the journey (accomplishments and struggles) to living the life that we so greatly desire. Much of what I talk about in our first post has been known to anyone that we've seen in person in the last year or so, but I'm not sure I've ever talked about it publicly, here.

I hope you will come and walk with us on this journey...

You can find The Sunlit Path online at the following places:

Instagram - coming soon!