Everything I Love about Wisconsin in ONE Place!

I’ve noticed our cheese adventures have slowed down a bit this summer.  Why? Maybe we’ve been busy doing other fun summer things…maybe we’re more drawn to cheese during cold, winter months.  Anyway, I was thrilled nonetheless when we visited Ehlenbach’s Cheese Chalet this past weekend on our way back from camping. They are located right off the highway in DeForest, Wisconsin.  You can’t miss the mouse on top of the roof nor the massive bovine!

The GIANT cow welcomed us so nicely!  We all know that giant Wisconsin cows make the best cheese!

Giant cow outside of Ehlenbachs Cheese

The Cheese Chalet is all kitsch, but so much fun! Daddy O. posed in front of it, knowing the drill from our other cheese adventures!

Front of Ehlenbachs Cheese Chalet

The store is amazing – very spacious and full of everything I love about Wisconsin: cheese, local micro-brewery beer, wine, and even some chocolate! The selection of curds and cheese was vast and impressive!

Ehlenbachs Cheese Chalet

So much to love about this store!

We are currently devouring the Peppercorn Ranch Cheese Curds and have a 6 Year Old Cheddar waiting for us in the fridge. Other kinds of curd flavors were garlic & dill, horseradish, marbled, basic yellow, and I think some sort of cajun too.  YUM!  Some of the cheeses flavors we noticed were caraway swiss, hot pepper cheese, pizza cheese, horseradish cheese, garlic cheese, baked cheese, and the traditional flavors of colby, monterey jack, brick, swiss, gouda and MORE.

Outside of the building, they had this mural of Wisconsin, which I love! We are fortunate to live in such a beautiful state with so many state parks, lakes, Door County cherries, cheese factories everywhere, Milwaukee breweries (okay AND New Glarus, Madison, and Chippewa Falls microbrews), and the beloved Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Brewers, and our favorite of all three the University of Wisconsin Badgers!

mural of Wisconsin

As I looked at the map, I was reminded of all the cool places I would like to visit with my sweet family.  We had just enjoyed camping in the Dells, but there’s so much more to explore in this great state!

Thanks for following along as I write about it all on Go Mama O.!  Enjoy the remnants of summertime!

On Parenting: The Milestones are Different Now

It hit me when we were back to school shopping yesterday.

Yeah – I know – ALREADY back to school shopping for my first born, who is extremely excited for four year old kindergarten. Where did the time go? I saw another mom, trying to decipher the detailed back to school shopping list with her own kids, and I thought, “Woah, that’s me too!”  Granted I didn’t have three kids for which to shop, but I was doing the same thing.

It’s starting to feel real now – my big girl is officially starting school!!

I can’t help but think that kids’ milestones are different now than than a few years ago.

I have beautifully hand-crafted scrapbooks, documenting their first day, first bath, baptism, rolling over/ crawling, walking, and loads of pictures showing off their overall cuteness!  Looking through my blog archive, I’ve written about many of these milestones and phases as well.  Some pictures that I love:

Image of my son two years apart.

First time flying at 3 months old, and 2 years later.

In this post, I get a glimpse of my future teenager:

sleeping big sister

A memory of big sister napping (here at 13 months)

Here’s another #ThrowbackThursday picture.  My kids at age 2.

Big Sister and Little Brother Age 2

My Two Year Olds (and 4 Year Old Big Sister)

All too soon summer will be off an gone, big sister will start 4K, and soon thereafter little brother will turn three.  Big, big milestones! 

I’m sure there will be pictures taken for this blog and the kids’ scrapbooks, but I’ve found it difficult to remember and document Every. Last. Thing. There have been so many ordinary days (and many million dollar moments) that have included funny things that they’ve said, or a memorable trip to the zoo, or watching big sister ride her big girl bike with more confidence.  I can see my kids growing up at a somewhat slower pace than their first year.  It often takes something to “hit you” – a brief reminder to truly pay attention, or be present to process that a mini-milestone is happening, like first time back to school shopping.

While their won’t be a scrapbook page commemorating back to school shopping, or many of the other little moments we share as a family, I did mentally take note and feel a small victory after that shopping trip.  My daughter was so well behaved, listening well and eagerly helping me find her school supplies. My son came into the store screaming because he didn’t approve of our errand running, but eventually calmed down, and was also relatively patient on our trip.  I’ve learned to take many more things in stride – like tantrums – and I hope I continue to stop and celebrate the many “firsts,” both big and small, with a lot of love and thankfulness.

I’m so proud of these two beautiful kids and feel so blessed to experience both the everyday and big-day-milestones.

Fly on the Wall: Get your Foot out of your Mouth

Welcome to a Fly on the Wall group post. Today 14 bloggers are inviting you to catch a glimpse of what you’d see if you were a fly on the wall in our homes. Come on in and buzz around my house.

I’m still sort of new to this group challenge, so if you’d like, you can meet my family in my first post or read more in my second Fly post.  Here’s a picture of us from our camping weekend this summer, and a brief snapshot of our summer in this post:

camping collage 2014

Camping fun – reading stories in the tent, trying to get a good family picture before our hike, fishing with Daddy & Grandma. Little Brother age 2.75, Big Sister age 4.5

Mealtime Antics

Some dinnertimes tend to be especially hectic and crazy – especially on my workdays. One night my son was constantly calling, “Mom, Mom, Mom…” with various requests. That particular night the kids were sitting at a smaller “little table,” instead of the bigger, adult table, so I felt like I was up and down a lot getting things for my kids. I confessed to Daddy O. “This is my most stressful forty-five minutes of the day.”

My two year old, then chimed in with another, “Mom.”

Me, feeling a bit exasperated, “What?!”

Little guy, “I love you very much.” Oh…Awh…all this stress and crazy is definitely worth it!

After dinner we often let the kids eat dessert, or dinnertime bonus, as we like to call it. One night my 4 year old asked, “Mom, can I have turtleneck ice cream?”

Me, “It’s just called turtle ice cream.”

Big sister, “Oh.”  Me, “I’ll get you some.”  And I’ll have some too!  It’s been funny seeing a pattern about turtle / turtleneck comments with my kids, as in my last post.

ice cream eating kids

We love ice cream!

Four Year Old Fashion

Daddy O.: I tried to get big sister to wear her khaki pants.

Me: Oh yeah, her capris. Sweetie, why don’t you wear those? They are 4T.

Big sister: I don’t know I’m just not into them.

Wow, has she been watching some Tim Gunn (who is anti-capri pants) lately? I love seeing her sense of fashion develop!

The many faces of big sister

Here’s big sister showing off her accessories and crazy faces! Little brother got into the photo shoot too!

I noticed that big sister’s hair was growing longer, so I said, “We need to get your haircut soon. Do you want some off the ends or grow it long?”

Big sister immediately said, “Grow it long” (like the princesses, obviously).

I looked a little closer, saying, “Let me see your hair. We may need to take some off the ends to keep it healthy.” Big sister was a bit confused, “Is my hair getting sick?” I started explaining, “No honey, not exactly.”  Then little brother chimes in, “My hair is sick.”

But I guess that’s one way of thinking of it…your hair gets sick, so you need to go to your stylist to make it better!  I love their rationale!

Eventual Potty Training, Lots of Potty Talk!

Little brother will turn three in September, and we’ve had SOME interest in using the potty.  There has been a very HIGH level of interest in using potty talk from both kids.  I’m trying to rein that in, but here’s a sampling of what I’ve heard:

Big sister: Mom, my brother says I poop IN my butt.

Me: Well, isn’t that right?

Big sister: NO, I poop in the toliet.

Me: Yes, you’re right.

This girl is very exact! She really likes to correct her brother (and others too).  I’m wondering what’s in store for her and what she’ll navigate towards once she starts school!

During a diaper change, I started this exchange with my son:

Me: Oooh – green poop (thinking, can’t we just be DONE with diapers now?)

Little Brother (clearly excited): Green – my favorite.

Big sister: You can’t choose what color your poop is. Your body chooses (based on what you eat).

Me: Yeah, you’re right.

Later to Daddy O. I said, “Did you hear that lovely exchange about green poop?”

Daddy O.: I can’t wait until parent-teacher conferences!  (Big sister starts 4K in fall…let the fun begin!)

In a conversation between me & Daddy O., I was explaining, “We have a whole lot of food. I wanted to say we have a b-u-t-t-l-o-a-d of food, but I don’t want our kids to hear that.” Daddy O. suggested, “You could say b-o-a-t load.” To that I said, “Well, that’s not as fun.”

The Golden Rule

We’ve been talking about the Golden Rule, after reading the Berenstain Bear’s book and big sister went to vacation bible school for the first time this summer.  I was a bit surprised when big sister said, “Mom, remember the golden rule: You get what you get, and don’t throw a fit.”

I guess we need to review the Golden Rule a few more times!

Foot in Mouth

As the post title states, there was some “open mouth, insert foot moments” as of late. This has happened in the LITERAL sense, as my two year old can put his foot in his mouth and seems to like sucking on his big toe. Another fun blogger I follow, Kaela at The Girl Who Blogs, just wrote about phrases she did not expect to use while parenting. I shared with her that I’ve told my two year old son to, “Get your foot out of your mouth.”  Crazy kid!!

On Getting Tired

Little brother: I took a yawn.  (or in other cases, when he’s not tired, he says, “I didn’t take a yawn.”

Me: yawning with exaggeration

Little brother: That’s a Thunder Yawn!

Daddy O.: What’s a thunder yawn?

Little brother: A really big yawn.

I hope this post hasn’t generated too many yawns – be them tiny or thunder yawns! Be sure to buzz around, and click on these links for a peek into some other homes: