Thursday, August 14, 2008

i forgot to get out the camera again

i should be running to the grocery store to pick up some spaghetti noodles for supper, or doing some laundry, or reading the piles of books i've started, or preparing for homeschool lessons, or dusting and vacuuming up doghair, or . . . what about doghair???

nope, we did not get a dog, we just had a really fun visit with erin madson and her really big german shepherd puppy prince. actually, the dog did not make a big hairy mess, i was just being silly. but i am bummed that i forgot to get out the camera. prince is such a fun dog. he's full of personality with his cutest cocked head, floppy ear, and funny phobias. able just loved prince. not exactly the licking his face all over part, but able kept chasing prince around anyway. it was really cute to watch. prince likes to "hurd" the children as erin called it. he will walk right next to them and gently guide them to where he wants them to go. the children seemed to understand that he was just curious, but gentle. i was glad that they were okay and liked him because sometimes they are apprehensive about being around dogs. pete and erin have done a great job working with him and training him and it was really fun having him here.

erin is visiting her family for the month of august as they are transitioning between moves. always cross country it seems - they'll be moving back to california in september from the d.c. area. while we are only 2 hours from dixon, erin asked if she could come up for an overnighter to hang out with us. it was great getting to catch up in person. they are in the process of hunting for a camper trailer. the plan is to take the scenic route to california and camp along the way. they are always up for a good adventure. and they don't have housing lined up yet for when they arrive in california. hmm? sounds familiar. seems we have a lot of adventurous friends in similar situations - wadsworths, milligans, bartelts, to name a few.

anyways, it was a fun visit. oh and erin introduced me to facebook. becky was able to convince us to start blogging, but i'm not ready for the facebook thing yet. i just finally figured out how to do this all by myself without mark's help, so i'm a bit overwhelmed at the prospect of something new. besides, we don't have a lot of bored time available to us, so i'd be way too tempted to use so much time learning and then catching up. any of you facebookers out there are free to point friends to our blog to catch up on all things milligan.

oh good, it's raining now so i can't go to the grocery store for spaghetti noodles. guess we'll be adventurous with supper and make something creative from the pantry and fridge. let's see . . . zucchini tuna noodle bean casserole? just kidding - it's an inside joke between the momma and the milligan kiddos.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A Little Help Please.

I just finished repairing this beautiful silver trumpet made in PRC, wherever that place is. Well, for some reason, it isn't playing very well. If anyone can help me, I have just about given up. Maybe it's just me.? I should probably just bill the customer, and return it. I'm sure he won't have the same trouble with it that I'm having. So before I return it, I'd welcome any suggestions on what might be wrong with it. When I play, it sounds a little ... I guess I would have to say, "airy". But I haven't been playing much lately, so....

Thanks for your help,

Saturday, August 2, 2008

a celebration of Leannora

(i have a few things to fix and add on this, but i need mark's help. so since it's actually leannora's birthday today, here's the preview.)

a look at our little lady Leannora's 3rd year:

happy birthday to you, Leannora is 3 now instead of 2!

We celebrated Leannora's 3rd birthday at the Fenwick family campout at Kim's Uncle Joe's farmette.

She helped frost the cupcakes and decorate with sprinkles.

The summer that Leannora was born we missed the campout because she was only a few days old. It was fun having such a memorable celebration.

summer fun and a snack in our garden

The children all love Little Bear. In a Little Bear movie that we have he and his friends take a trip to the moon and and go moon jumping. Little Bear wears a box on his head. So Leannora is pretending to be Little Bear here. The boys assure her that he is not a girl, but she has made up her mind to join in the fun with the boys.

Leannora LOVES her brothers. This bedtime pajama picture was taken when Leannora had decided that Owen was her special buddy. The two would play together in everything. It was a wonderful little window of a special bond between brother and sister. Of course, all the children are good buddies and love to imagine and pretend in all sorts of adventures together.

We made cowboy cutouts for all the children at the end of the summer. It was kind of a kickoff for our first official year of homeschooling. Each child had an outline of their body on newsprint roll paper and we printed out enlarged pictures of their faces. Then we drew cowboy outfits unique to each of the children. Leannora was the cutest cowgirl in the place. Instead of a gun, lasso, or lariat, Hogan thought his sister should have a basket of flowers. Here's cowgirl Leannora times 2.

A sweet elderly woman from church requested some pictures of Leannora specifically in piggy tails. This was one of the photos we sent her along with some Leannora doodles. She kept them on her refrigerator. She went home to be with the Lord this winter. We were so blessed to be a bit of encouragement to her as she suddenly battled and lost a fight against cancer.

We surprized Grandma Sara with this dress one time when they came to visit. Sara's mother made this dress for Sara when she was a little girl. She remembers wearing it over many years as it was a favorite and could easily take out the hem a bit to add length for a growing little girl. She was so tickled to see Leannora in this adorable dress.

This is Daisy, Grandpa Bill and Grandma Sara's dog as a new puppy. We've started calling her crazy Daisy because she's so full of energy. I guess we must have momentarily worn her out with all the energy of little Milligans.

A BIG lego tower constructed by Nikao and Leannora.

Great Grandpa and Grandma Milligan came for a visit just a few days before Able was born. They brought all sorts of treats and treasures for our family. Here Grandma and Leannora are having a special time reading some new books.

Aunt Nina and cousin Bobby came for a quick delivery. . .

of chicken george for supper. I guess it's a well known thing among the nurses in Dixon that chicken from the Candlelight Inn and BBY help induce labor. We really enjoyed their quick visit.

Unfortunately the chicken didn't work it's wonders in our birth situation. But a baby boy was born evenso. When we announced to the children that our baby had been born, Leannora asked, "Is she a her?" She was not thrilled that "he was a him" and answered, "Awww, I wanted a baby sister." In a short time her disappointment disappeared and she said, "I love Able Arden!"

a bunch of movie watching milligans

The glory of raking leaves on a beautiful autumn day is jumping in your work pile! As soon as the first few leaves begin to fall from the trees, the children beg to rake. Our three small trees in the front yard are our only leaf producers, so the poor children have to wait till we've got a good bunch on the ground before we play. Then we push them off the curb and watch the city trucks load 'em up and move 'em out. We do save some for our compost pile and a fun jumping spot in the back yard too. The neighbors even kindly (for real, in kindness - I'm not being sarcastic here) share their leaves with us for bigger piles!

Oh GIVE THANKS to the Lord for He is good, His love endures forever! We have had the honor of hosting the Hartzell family Thanksgiving meal in our home for the past 2 years. Great Grandpa Hartzell was touched by the day together as a family.

Cousin Adam! Buddy Becky! They were living near one another in Chicago for a while. So Becky rode along with the Mardauss family and then Adam and Becky took the train back to crazy Chicago after our Saturday Thanksgiving celebration. It was fun having Becky as a part of our family for the day.

O Christmas tree! We got to add some of our homemade decorations to Grandpa and Grandma Strub's tree one Sunday after our church meeting.

I think you might call these winter indians.

Winter wonderland of 2008. We broke Wisconsin's record of snowfall this winter. Oh was it fun! Snowmen, sledding, we even made a snow cave and trails to walk around in our backyard.

This is Leannora's first haircut. She was so excited to share in haircutting night for the first time. She wanted 5 inches cut off and held up her 5 little piggies with such exuberance. Daddy said only a couple - we're just trimming those lovely locks little lady.

We had enough of our cold blue family room and warmed up the wood burning stove room with red! Leannora helped us keep the work rolling along.

A jammie morning! Everyone gets so excited about these simple things. (Able really was happy, he just blinked at every flash of the camera. For a few months we couldn't take a picture of him without that funny look on his face.)

Since we have 5 children, the puppy priority is pretty low on the totem pole. So the children take turns playing "baby puppy." This is Bruiser, sometimes called Bean, Teddy, and also know as Snowflake. He is our best puppy. He will sit, stay, and has the cutest personality. Leannora is a very good puppy trainer.

Craft time! Oh, how Leannora loves learning time! She does not let me forget that she wants to learn along with her big brothers. Hogan snapped these 2 shots with his camera. He has the best way of capturing our family candidly from a child's perspective!

"my dancing dress!" A friend of my mom's used to teach dance classes. She was getting ready for a rummage sale and gave Leannora this BLUE dress!

The children all had their jammies on one evening. Papa hadn't seen Leannora's dancing dress yet so we put her dress over her pjs and let the children jam and jump and dance around.

happy birthday to our 4 year old little lady leannora
august 25, 2008

the cloud room - part one

So this is the beginning of one of the momma brilliant ideas.

Last year we gave the boys a new room. We painted the walls dark blue and then on one wall we made it look like a log cabin. They call it their cowboy room because we decorated it with fun things from Grandpa Bill and Grandpa Strub.

We wanted to give Leannora something special too. I had in mind to paint her room a lovely shade of lavendar (similar to what I had in my room as a young girl). But when I asked her what she would like she said BLUE. (At the time, Owen was Leannora's best buddy. It was a very sweet stage. Because Owen's favorite color was blue, that became Leannora's FAVORITE color.) So blue it would be.

Now I've always wanted to try painting clouds. I remember trying to get Chris Padgett to help me paint a sky scene in my room on Boyd St. It didn't work cause no boys were allowed in my room and it was way too full of smiley faces. So of course, this was my big chance. And of course, the original artist that I am -always wanting something different, led me to the idea of painting a night sky. (I would have loved to have done a stormy sky, but that wouldn't have been very peaceful for a little girl's room.) I found a picture of the idea in a magazine and was determined to give it a try.

So in February I finally convinced Mark, with the help of my mom, that we could accomplish this creative task. My mom planned to come for a few days to help me. We had a variety of leftover paint in the basement that I was going to mix to get the choice color. But once we mixed it, it was much lighter than what I had as my original idea. I was too cheap to buy paint. That was part of the deal - a quick, inexpensive, fun project for the family. I debated for a while, and then decided to try the mixed color. But then we ran out of paint. Uhh.

So we tried painting clouds down low on the walls, which was not what I had pictured, but we can be creative with what we've got. It turned out to be so much fun painting with my mom and the children. As Strub grandchildren they all have painting clothes and lots of painting practice. This time we painted O's on the wall with rags.

Nikao got a paintbrush so he wouldn't be so messy.

I had lines chalked out for the children so they would know where they could play with the O's. At some point Leannora and Nikao found the chalk and made their own little doodles on the wall. At first I wasn't so happy, but then it wasn't a big deal as we were IN the painting process. It turned out to be a cute thing. Leannora was practicing her own O's and the letter L.

Owen wanted to make the highest marks on the wall. Oh that brotherly competition.

The children all did a great job and had so much fun. Looking back at it now, a part of me wishes that I would have kept it as it was. But then I couldn't keep you in suspense for the cloud room - part 2. More to follow soon. . .

Friday, August 1, 2008

A Stonesifer family visit!

The band that Mark plays in, Highway 2 Heaven, had a concert at our church in July. We called up a few people to invite them and it worked out that the Stonesifers could come!! They met us at the church. Actually, they arrived before us, having had some adventures on the way.

We finally got to meet Milo at 2 months old. Wow, what a great little man! Hmm. . . a great young big guy might describe him better. He looked bigger than Able who was 9 months old at the time. (although Able might have had a pound and a few inches up on Milo).

The Stonesifer children survived the noisy concert by listening from a room off to the side with a window to view things. Hopefully they had a fun time. Mark's band hasn't figured out how to not be too loud. Trumpets mostly. Hee hee.

Following the concert we had a pie and ice cream social downstairs at the church. Yummie! It was a bit overwhelming trying to keep up with our guests and the band members and our children, so we kind of missed out on good buddy time. But the Stonesifers found the children's play room which is right off the social area, so i think they still had a fun time.

Then a cool thing happened. After all the activity, the Stonesifer family followed us home to hang out for a bit. We managed to fight the traffic exiting WI on a Sunday night in not too bad of time. None of us had eaten supper really, so we snacked and played games and had a simple good time. And the amazing part is that I actually got out the camera and took a few pictures. So here's Val surrounded by kiddos reading some library books.

And here's the Stonesifer men, Shawn and Milo.

Two silly, sleepy girls. Lucy and Leannora having a sleeping party. They were pretty tired cause it was late, but they didn't want to miss out on any fun. So they figured out how to rest and have fun at the same time.

Well hopefully the hours that the Stonesifers postponed their return travels meant that the traffic was a bit more smooth. I forgot to follow up and find out. But anyways, we had a really fun visit. Thank you!!!

Hurray! Zoo day!!

A few weeks back we went to the Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison with Grandma Strub, Aunt Erica, and cousins Daniel and Kayleigh. What a fun day!!

The zoo is FREE and a really fun place. They are in the process of redoing a whole bunch of things, so it will be even better and still free. For a small zoo, it is pretty great. I think it's just the right size for our family. And not too big so as to exhaust all your energy. (The parents energy that is, somehow children can keep going and going!)

I wish I would have taken some pictures of the new playland - a treehouse! We watched it being built last summer. There is a carousel just next to the playground area.

Here's the giraffe exhibit. Last year we visited the week that they got 2 new giraffes. That was pretty neat. There are 3 now. We had fun posing at this spot.

Leannora and Owen are watching the 2 lions in this picture. One visit we were standing near the male lion. He was laying down in the grass. Then he got up and walked over to the female lion who was lying on the rocks. He pawed at her a bit and she just swiped back answering that she was not in the mood to play. So he went back over to where we were standing and let out a few good roars. Maybe he was complaining to all of us? Anyways, it was really cool. They are such amazingly powerful animals! What a creator we have!

Able got tired out after adventuring through the zoo.
We have some similar pictures of Kayleigh at the same age sleeping in the stroller too. So cute!

If any buddy is ever interested in a zoo adventure sometime we would love to have you up here for a day or weekend or whatever! Our big van is great for packing people and strollers snacks and stuff and especially children. I've never been there on a weekend before - I imagine it would be pretty busy. But I know that weekdays are really great!

So . . . till our next posted adventure. . .