Thursday, August 18, 2016

I thought I was ready....I think I thought wrong.

14 years.  Fourteen years.  For FOURTEEN YEARS I  have been dreaming about this day.  Let's call it what it is (or what I thought it was going to be) FREEDOM.  Today is the year that all of my children will be in school full time.  I won't lie.  I have been dreaming about this day more than once.  Ahhhh, what will I do when they are all in school?  I can run errands by myself.  I can grocery shop alone.  I can go to Maurice's and try on clothes without having kids poke their heads under the changing room door.  I can go to lunch with friends.  I can eat at the cheesecake factory at least 2 times a week.  I can exercise whenever I want.  Oh, the possibilities are endless.  My house will be clean.  I will have home cooked meals waiting every night in the crock pot.  I will have my life together enough that we will have a sit down family dinner every night and do a devotion together as a family.  Our kids won't fight because they will not have seen each other all day and they will just want to hug and kiss each other all night long.  Dan will bring me home flowers every week because I am doing such a great job at being his wife and running the household.  I mean for reals....this is the stuff I thought was going to happen when all my kids would be in school full time.  I could watch the Price is Right and fold laundry.  The dog would be trained finally after 2 years of peeing and pooping all over my house.  I would craft the day away making gifts for teachers and friends.  All would be well with my soul.
 And then it happened..... Griffin's 4K teacher came last week for a teacher visit and BOOM....I am now a mess.  I want the past 14 years back.  I don't want them to go back to school, but I secretly do because they are driving me crazy and eating all our food, but then I love every minute I get to spend with them, except when they are fighting or tattling on each other....and on and on.
On Monday my life will look a whole lot different.  My youngest starts school.  Full time.  I want to be happy for him.  I want to be excited that I will have some "freedom." However, deep down inside I am gonna be a mess.  He gives me kisses all day long.  He begs me for food all day long.  He asks me to play cars with him or go to Piggly Wiggly to get coins.  He is ALWAYS by me.  On Monday, he won't be anymore.  

The week after he starts school, the other 6 will go back to school.  What am I going to do on Monday the 29th of August?  That day is the day I have been longing for, for 14 years.  That day has now turned into the biggest day I am dreading.  My house will be empty.  I am going to miss them all like crazy.   I'll be honest, it will take me a couple of weeks to miss the constant nagging for food and snacks...but I will grow to miss it too.  The thought has crossed my mind "Just pull them all and homeschool them."  Sadly they wouldn't get really much school that way as Mommy would be in a corner sucking her that really isn't an option for me.  

How do you let go of your life in one day?  Everything I have known for the past 14 years is going to be gone in one day.  A chapter is closing on me.  I know you other moms have done this ahead of me.  I know it is possible.  I know I will find a new normal.  

If you see an overweight mom crying uncontrollably on the floor of either of the two schools my kids will be at, it will be me.  If you see a mom holding on to the handles of the door while the teacher is trying to close the door, it will be me.  If you see a mom smothering her 4 year old with kisses on Monday and telling him to not grow will still be me.  If you see a mom walking aimlessly around Oconomowoc looking like she is lost with red eyes....that would be me.  

Bare with me as I try to start a new chapter of my life.  This "freedom" I thought I wanted I don't think I want anymore.  I just want to change diapers and complain about how messy the house is.  

Stop growing up already.  I just wanna be your mommy.  

Monday, August 1, 2016

Apples and Oranges....a tale of two girls 13 months apart.

 When Dan and I met in high school we always said we wanted to have 6 kids.  All girls.  If you would go and find our senior wills or whatever they were called...or wherever they keep would find that written down on my "will."  I believe I wrote under the "plans for future":  Marry Dan Wilke and have 6 kids, all girls.  Well, 19 plus years later, here we are.  We didn't quite get to 6 girls, but we did get 5 and man oh man are they all different.  Our first two children came about 16 months apart.  Both had a tinge of red hair and pale skin.  When Sadie (our 2nd) was only 6 months old we were surprised to find out that #3 was on the way.  Insert Abbie.  She was born 6 weeks early and came out at 21 1/2 inches long with olive skin.  I did get to hold her for just a few seconds before she was whisked away to the NICU.  If Dan hadn't have gone with and made sure she was "tagged" as ours, I might think she got switched at birth!  (I am kidding....this kid looks exactly like her daddy!)
 So here we have two girls, 13 months apart and different as can be.  However the bond that they have is amazing.  Last night I did a refresher course with the woman who taught me how to actually use my camera.  We went on a photo walk with our cameras and the 2 girls.  At first I was only going to bring one, but I am so glad I brought them both!  I told them to get dressed in something that represented them.  Abbie packed her ballet shoes and wore a dress with a pig necklace...and Sadie went with her chuck tailors and a fringe sweater.  I told you...apples and oranges.
We practiced using lighting and shade.  Talked about what backgrounds to use and which to stay away from.  

 We came across a new favorite spot of mine!  The girls had so much fun just being themselves.  I secretly think they felt like celebrities.  They laughed and giggled and it was so nice to be there as a photographer but mostly as their mom.
 Abbie is full of grace.  Poised and delicate.  Sadie is full of spunk.  Quirky and hilarious.
 Sadie is highly competitive and will try anything while Abbie is cautious and lacks in confidence.  If Sadie can't do something she will have a darn good time trying to do it and make fun of herself while doing it.  Abbie will rarely try something new and excels in what she does know how to do.

Abbie...full of grace.

Sadie...full of spunk. 

 At the end of the day it is amazing to see how different they are.  13 months apart and complete opposites.  However, they have a bond.  Not just the 2 of them, but all the girls.  They love each other.  They play together.  I hope that never changes.  My prayer for them is that even when they move on to their separate walks of life that they will always remember this bond.  I kinda feel bad that I didn't get to capture this moment with all the kids...but I am really loving the pics of just the 2 of them.  I can't wait to pair up 2 more kids and go back and take some more pictures!  I think this was a night for us all to remember!

Monday, July 25, 2016

I wanna take your picture...

Life is hard.  Being an adult with responsibilities can suck sometimes.  Then you turn around and see 7 beautiful children who you would do anything for to give them the world...and you do just that.  3 weeks ago Dan got a second job working nights and weekends.  Now, I know you are all thinking...Susan,  you lazy person get the job.  I have tried!  I have applied and sent resumes and applied some more...and nothing.  I recently applied at the local Y and prayed and prayed I would get an interview for this job I really wanted...and I didn't even get an interview.  One night while we were doing the bills (which is never a good time here) Dan applied at a local sporting goods place (which I also applied too as well and did NOT get an interview) and instantly he got an interview.  He went in and got hired on the spot.  So for now...until I can beg someone to hire me...he is working double time.  I am running craft camps here at the farm and taking pics to help as well....which leads me to some pretty awesome families I have had the privilege to capture memories for!!  For real....these people are all so beautiful!  

 Our dear friends who abandoned us moved away a year ago came back to Wisconsin for a visit.  I think we took these pics at 8:00 at night but I seriously just love them all so much!  They are so much on top of this game of life that I was taking Christmas card pictures for them!  Yes, some people are that organized!

 I had the special honor to take photos of my dear friend.  I can't give much info on her or their situation, but I can tell you that my friend loves this little girl beyond words.  She was full of sass and serious looks...and she didn't sit still....but, she captured my heart!

 Yesterday was just as much fun as I got to capture these cousins and siblings together!  Their eyes are AMAZING!  We had 7 kids and not a touch of blue eyes...but these kids have they best blue eyes ever!

Then there is my crazy clan.  We tried photos a few weeks ago.  It was just as a thunderstorm was moving in.  It was late and they were all hungry.  We did what we could.  

 How in this crazy world are my daughters becoming so beautiful?  Stay little and awkward so I don't have to worry as much...please!!!!

 We don't have blue eyes here, but Griffs has some of the biggest brown eyes I have ever seen.  They all have their daddy's eyes and I wouldn't change that for the world.

So two things....I am offering a photography special right now.  45 minutes-1 hour of shooting by myself for $100.  I will choose and edit the pics and send them to you via a dropbox link.  You can download and use the pics as you would like!  Email me at to set up an appointment with me..or text me if ya know me....or Facebook me.  

#2....If you know of any place looking to hire someone and think I would be a good fit...please let me know.  I know God has something great in store for me....I am just having a hard time with His time frame!  

Happy Monday!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

A Watermelon Party to Remember!!

Here at the farmstead we pumped out another themed party....Watermelons!  Now before you hate on me please know this.  Abbie turned 11 in April.  It is now mid July.  That is how awesome of a mom I am.  She has been begging and asking and begging and begging since April to give her a party.  It has been years since she has had a themed party.  I kept putting it off...and off some more.  Finally, I caved.  She asked me 2 weeks ago about having her party again and I opened my planner and picked the first day we didn't  have anything planned.  Well, that my friends was today! is what we could whip up in 2 weeks (while running Camp Create here too!) 

I don't have many original ideas.  However, I can pretty much copy anything I see.  I like to think I am "creative" but really I am just a "creative copier."

I turned our dining room/Fridays at the Farm room into our watermelon dining hall.  I like to cover tables with wrapping paper.  I was wandering through Marshalls and saw this adorable green and hot pink wrapping paper...and boom.  In my cart it went!  It worked out perfectly.

Alright, so maybe I did have these party gifts as an original idea.  I found these cute pink buckets at Micheals on super sale.  I painted a green stripe on the bottom and used a sharpie to add seeds.  I filled them with some cheap Easter grass that I found brand new at the Good Will.  My dear friend, Nellie, from Nellie Design came through again for me and created a printable party for us.  It was so cute as usual!  Thanks Nellie for rocking our party with your printables!  

We covered water bottles with the labels Nellie created.

I saw this watermelon vase idea on Pinterest.  Mine turned out NOTHING like the one I was trying to copy.  I cut off 1/4 of the Watermelon and scooped out the guts.  I tried to pour water right into the watermelon but then it started to leak.  I popped the flowers in a fish bowl and put the fishbowl inside the watermelon.  I found these spring roses on sale at Pick'n Save for $5.  Abbie's favorite color is orange so I loved the fact it had orange flowers on it! 

I will take no credit for this watermelon pig...this was all my husband and my nephew.  We were down to the wire and I was starting to panic that I couldn't get everything done.  In stepped in the 2 men.  They rocked this pig.  Abbie wanted a pig for her birthday, and she got it!  I'll take a watermelon pig over a real pig any day of the week! 

We did some games as well.  It was too windy to put our watermelon bowling outside so we kept it inside.  I wouldn't recommend using a real watermelon.  It cracked almost right away.  Whoops. 

We all dressed in watermelon attire.  The kids work red, green and pink and I found these awesome watermelon socks on amazon for $5 AND free shipping!  Yahoo

My mom made us watermelon cupcakes.  Easy Peasy...and super cute. 

The table pulled together nicely.  I hand made the felt watermelon banners and used Nellie's printable party for the birthday banner.  I pulled out anything white, pink, red or green I could find and used it to add some height to the table. 

I found this gumball machine at a rummage sale years ago for $10.  I love using it for parties with a bowl of pennies next to it.  

Look as those watermelon cookies.  I will not take the credit for those either.  I did make the cookie part with an amazing sugar cookie recipe and then I let my friend decorate them for me.  They were a HIT with all the kids!  As soon as we put them out, they were gone.  

We turned our rice krispy treats into watermelons using some food coloring and chocolate chips.  I found a tutorial on Pinterest for them.  We also made watermelon pretzels.  I am proud to say we did come up with this idea all on our own too!  Ok, maybe I can have an idea of my own every now and then!  

This fruit watermelon pizza was a total pinterest fail.  Trust me.  It looks nothing like the tutorial I followed.  It tasted delicious, but looks like a mess.  I learned what not to do for next time!! 

We have used wine corks before to make pumpkins so we tried to pull off a watermelon made out of wine corks.  Once again, nephew Christian, stepped in and helped me make the wine cork watermelon!  (Thanks Wendy for the wine corks....we still are using them!) 

I love me some spray paint.  I used some spray paint to make a watermelon on the lawn as well as a tic tac toe board.  

We had watermelon bubbles and watermelon colored nail polish to turn your nails into watermelons!  

Overall, I think the party was a success!  I was happy with how everything turned out and that we pulled it off in such a short amount of time.  Party / event planning is definitely a huge passion of mine.  Now if only I could find a job doing it.  Lately many people have encouraged me to do this as a job....hmmmmm.... I think I am too scared that no one would want me.  I'll have to pray about this!  

 Happy 11th birthday, Abbie!  I am sorry you had to wait 3 1/2 months to have your party.