Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Eve

For New Year's Eve we attended a family party at our friends, the Ulven's. We celebrated the new year at 8:00pm. That's the way to do it! All of us were in bed long before midnight. Emily was more interested in stacking the party horns than blowing them. She also had to add her personal ice cream touch to the cake. :o)

20 Weeks Pregnant

Just in case you're curious and you haven't seen me in awhile, here's a picture of me at 20 weeks. I took a picture every 5 weeks starting at 20 with Emily, too, so it will be fun to compare! (Unfortunately, I don't have those saved in digital format.)

P-Day #3

Not a good day. Emily had 3 accidents and no successes. I gave up and put on a Pull-Up by late afternoon and used another one at night when we went out of the house. Tomorrow is another day.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

26 months old

Emily is 26 months old now and everything you'd expect a 2-year-old to be. We're currently working on potty-training and temper tantrums. Fun times! One of Emily's developments this month has been reciting phrases and even long passages from her Curious George and Dr. Seuss books, among others. At times she can go for pages getting 60-70% of the words correct. You have to listen carefully and already know the story line, but it's there. It has become a bit of a game to try and guess which story she is recalling whenever she gets started. We have read these stories numerous times, and she also listens to some of them on a read-along CD, so it's all rote memorization, but fascinating all the same! (End of major bragging)

On the downside Emily has begun a bad new habit of ripping pages out of her books. I've performed 4 major surgeries in the last week. I have yet to actually catch her in the act. I either find the evidence or she comes and tells me and then says, "Mommy'll fix it."

She has also become fascinated with CD's, DVD's and cassette tapes. She hauls them around and takes them apart and comes close to breaking them all the time. After spending 20 min trying to match tapes, CD's, cases and folder covers back to each other this morning I had had enough. We don't have a good place/way to move them right now, so I did the next best thing. I got out the Saran Wrap and threatened Emily with a spanking if she touched it. She got one, but I don't think she has touched it since. I still may have to get out the leftover window winterizing plastic shrink wrap. We'll see.

The December video player is posted below and the Winkflash pictures are up.

P-Day #2

Emily's Pull-Up was soaked when she got up this morning, but that's probably because she decided to have a solo dance party from 4:00-5:30am. I laid in bed listening to her "read" books, jump on the bed and bang around with her tubs and pinwheel while giggling. I was too exhausted to get up and do anything about it. I figured it might do her good to feel wet for awhile. She went in her potty as soon as she got up, though. The tally for today was 3 successes and 2 accidents with a cheater Pull-Up at rest time b/c I knew she had to go #2 and I didn't feel like cleaning up another one. She ended up not napping and I was right, so that one was worth it. She wouldn't go before or after her bath, so we put on another Pull-Up for overnight. Let's hope we skip the party tonight. :o)

Monday, December 29, 2008

P-day #1

Today was the beginning of another hardcore run at potty-training Emily. We began after lunch since we ran errands in Waterloo in the morning. I announced that we were done with diapers and that Emily was going to wear "big-girl panties" now. It took awhile for Emily to decide to put on some panties (I told her she couldn't get up on any furniture without them), but she has been fine with it since then because she's worn them before. We had 2 successes and 2 accidents today. Not bad for the first afternoon/evening. We put her to bed with a Pull-Up on.

Sunday, December 28, 2008


I have never before been so eager to start taking down Christmas decorations (even though they've only been up for 27 days). I started with the Jesse Tree and the big tree this afternoon. Emily broke 3 and lost 1 of the Jesse tree ornaments. The final tally on the glass bulb ornaments was 7 shattered and 3 MIA. The tinsel garland went straight into the trash. I left the winter/snowman decorations out because almost all of them are out of Emily's reach. I also left her Little People nativity set out because she has had a lot of fun playing with it the last couple days (although she's still calling the baby "Baby Moses" instead of "Baby Jesus").

Austin & I have really been enjoying some of our gifts. Austin's favorite so far is the under-cabinet radio/CD player for the kitchen, which has now reduced the "counter clutter" to a single Kleenex box. ;o) Emily has already shed some tears as we establish a firm "no-touching" rule.

I am almost 6 hours into "Anna Karenina" by Leo Tolstoy, which I uploaded to my new MP3 player using a free library service. Only 27 more hours to go! :o) I can't seem to find (i.e. make) the time/energy to sit down and read a lot of books lately, so now maybe I can enjoy some while doing other things--like taking down Christmas decorations. It might even inspire me to walk/exercise more once the weather gets nicer and the streets are clear.

We are also ecstatic to have a working vacuum cleaner once again and to have the dog hair back under control. It's not exactly the most romantic thing to spend gift money on, but it was desperately needed!

Emily has had lots fun playing with her new toys and reading her new books. The last picture of the slide show was of the new storage bin shelf we got for her room. Apparently, Emily thinks that was a toy, too. Every time we've put her to bed we can hear clunking and clanging, and when we go into her room the bins are all off the shelves and stacked inside one another. I can't decide if actually filling the bins with things would discourage her from removing them all or would just create a colossal mess as she dumped everything in a pile. I'm thinking the latter is the more probable outcome, so except for a few books (which usually end up in bed with her anyway) the bins remain empty for now.

Now that the holidays and travels are finished, we're going to be buckling down in the potty-training department. Tomorrow (Monday) is "P-Day" so Emily & I could both use a little prayer. ;o)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Whirlwind

We are now in the recovery stage of our second round of Christmas travels. We drove to LeMars & Hull in snow/blowing snow on Wednesday and home in dense fog on Friday. We visited all of Austin's grandparents in LeMars and then had three consecutive family parties on Megan's side. It was a great time visiting with family and eating more (yummy!) food than anyone should be allowed to consume in a month. But now it's good to be back home again. Below is a highlight slide show and there are lots of videos in the December player.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Lorenzen Christmas

We spent the (cold!) weekend in Des Moines and celebrated Christmas with Austin's family. It was a hairy trip getting down there Saturday morning with nasty road conditions and a lot of accidents--especially on I35 around Ames--but we made it! We ate lots of good food and Emily enjoyed opening all her presents (and wanted to open everyone else's, too). Her favorite presents so far have been her sewing cards and new Curious George books (go figure!). Unfortunately, she came down with a yucky head cold before we left and wasn't always in the best of moods. But we still had fun visiting family! There are some new videos in the player and below are a few pictures...

We actually got a decent family picture (do I really look that pregnant?!?),
but the "grandkids" picture didn't go so well... :o)

Emily had fun coloring with Grandma Lorenzen and both she
and cousin Asher "helped" Grandma play/sing some Christmas carols.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Emily's first friend birthday party

Emily was invited to and attended her first friend birthday today. Wendell Hunt turns 2 this weekend and his brave mom decided to host a party that included Wendell and four other 2-year-old girls plus moms (none of the boys could come). It was a fun time with simple activities, good food and no gifts. :o) Emily's favorite part was definitely the purple helium balloon she got to take home. She didn't let go of it for most of the rest of the day.

Unfortunately, Emily displayed some of her worst behavior in a long time. I should have had a clue when she threw a 15 min. tantrum before we even left regarding the snowman and her entire bedtime entourage riding along in the van (see previous post). I would have stayed home as punishment, but she wouldn't have known what she was missing, so the only punishment would have been for me because I had been looking forward to this outing. She threw at least 5 more tantrums throughout the morning--including one in which she plopped down in the middle of a fluffy snowbank with tennis shoes, jeans and no mittens. I seriously laughed at that one. She also managed to knock over their Christmas tree. Although her behavior was exasperating, I did not lose my cool. I think (and hope!) I at least made the other moms feel better about their kid not being the only one who ever acts like that sometimes. Next time there will be tougher consequences. :o)

Five cute kids

Coloring party hats, but more interested in the cracker tray.

Playing with homemade play dough...Emily didn't like wearing her hat and ended up ripping it apart.

Caterpillar cupcakes and balloons to take home

Note: Three of the other moms blog, so I'll add links to their posts when they are up. :o)

Silly Snowman

So we have this annoying snowman door hanger that sings and laughs and kicks his feet when you push a button. (There is also a motion-sensor option that has long been disabled.) We received him as a gag gift from a fellow small group couple years ago, but he is now a part of the standard winter decor. Cheney doesn't like him, and last year Emily was afraid of him. This year they're buds. She hauls that thing all over the house and "pretends" with him just like her bear or Curious George. I find him propped up on a kitchen chair with a pile of Jesse Tree ornaments in front of him or Emily hugging him and telling him not to cry. Today she threw a fit because she wanted to take him along in the van on our trip to Waterloo. If she accidentally hits the button that sets him off she runs to the other side of the room, but otherwise she loves and jingles him all day. :o)

Shredding evidence

In case you were wondering what I mean by shredding the tinsel garland on the Christmas tree, here is a picture of the evidence...

On a completely unrelated note, I have never been more thankful for the invention of Color Wonder markers than I have today! ;o)

Thursday, December 11, 2008


My exciting moment for the day was feeling very distinct and obvious movements of the baby for about 10 minutes while driving home from Waverly. I've been wondering for about a week now, but there was no doubt today!


Emily & I both finally got haircuts on Wednesday. Emily didn't exactly cooperate, but Trudie got some snips in here and there while I tried to hold Emily down on my lap and distract her. Emily now officially has bangs, the same length across the back (as far as we can tell) and a little bit of layering. We washed it tonight, so we'll see if it curls up more in the morning. Below are pictures of Emily enjoying sitting in the chair and trying to pretend to wash her hair after getting it cut as well as a close-up of her new 'do. :o)

Monday, December 8, 2008

2 year portraits

Emily finally got her 2-year portrait pictures taken at JCPenney's last week. It was definitely the least cooperative portrait sitting we've had to date, but the photographer got some cute shots despite the fact Emily only really sat still while holding and eating a package of fruit snacks. :o) Below is a comparison of each of our 2-year portraits.

I usually just use a coupon for the single-pose package, but of course the portrait studio always puts together adorable collages. My will power held, but here are some of the things we could have ordered if I had an unlimited picture budget...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Wall Art

Emily produced her first piece of wall art yesterday. Thankfully, Crayola Washable Crayons lived up to their name and it wiped off easily with just a damp cloth. :o)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Christmas decorations

Emily has been "helping" me put up the Christmas decorations. She was really excited about the tree and actually wasn't doing too bad until I caught her using the vacuum attachment to pulverize one of the glass bulbs still in the packaging. She was also pulling the tops off of the bulbs so I had to keep pinching them to get them back together. That was the end of "helping Mommy whif duh Christmas tree." Since then it has been a non-stop battle to keep her hands off of it. She touches an ornament and says, "Are you s'posed to be touching?" There are already a couple of bulbs on the floor with missing hooks or tops and I'm glad I didn't try really hard to get everything perfectly spaced out. I've kind of decided that I really don't care what happens to the decorations (except the lights). They were cheap at Wal-mart when I got them 6 years ago and are falling apart anyway. Maybe we'll just have to see what's on the clearance aisle in January!

Luckily, Emily found some other fun things to play with in the Christmas decorations. The Santa hat has come on and off several times. I've already given up on a cute posed picture for the Christmas card.

Emily also rediscovered the Little People nativity set she received from G&G Lorenzen last year. She quickly figured out how to play the "meezik" and can name most of the characters. We're still working on the fact that it's "Baby Jesus" and not "Baby Moses," though. :o)

Check out the new December video player at the bottom for some extraordinary Christmas dancing! ;o) Also, thanks to a download from my sister there are a few additional videos in the November player on the 11/30/08 post. Sorry about the orientation. I don't think I can rotate videos--or at least I haven't figured out how to yet.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Doomed pants

Have you ever owned a pair of pants that seemed destined to be doomed from the start? I sure have. And they always seem to be khaki-colored. My latest is a super-comfy pair of drawstring maternity khakis from Old Navy. (Side note: I have finally given in and am in full-fledged maternity clothes. I have been for a week now after a fun shopping spree the weekend before.) I cut the tags off these beauties on Thanksgiving morning. At noon I acquired a dollop of cherry whip salad on one leg. I say "acquired" because I'm pretty sure I didn't spill it. I think it might have had something to do with Emily smearing the salad all over the tablecloth. :op At night I dropped a big blob of chocolate ice cream on the other leg. Luckily, some stain-remover and a washing at my mom's house got it all out. So today I thought I'd wear them again. I drove into Waterloo and the first time I stepped out of the van I got greasy mud splatters on both legs. Then in the afternoon I was wrestling a dirty diaper off of Emily on the floor and got it smeared on my lap. After another treatment and washing they're looking okay again. What's next? Do I dare wear them anywhere semi-important? Over the years all my khaki-colored pants have suffered greatly and have been subjected to more than their fair share of stain-remover. Why are stains and spills attracted to light colors? Maybe that's why I've never purchased a pair of white pants. :o)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

25 months old

Emily is now 25 months old (not "3"). I might try for a better picture tomorrow. ;o) Her personality continues to shine through more and more every day. Her constant jabbering makes us laugh. Here is a sampling of some of things overheard in the past month:
  • "Emily get a snack and maybe watch George?" (have I established a bad habit here?!?)
  • "Did Emily go shopping at Target? Yeah! Dat was pretty fun!" (even though we only went to Wal-mart that day)
  • "Stay here. I'll be right back. Don't be too curious" (usually directed at her stuffed Curious George)
  • "Dis is George. He's a good lil monkey and always berry curious. One day dah man whif-em yellow hat..." (directly quoted from the beginning of every Curious George story)
  • "Hello. Dis is Megan. How are you? Ganx. Bye." (her pretend phone conversation every time)
  • "Tikki Tikki Tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo" (one of her current favorite books)
  • "Emily have some more puppy dogs?" (referring to the puppy chow snack I made for this past weekend)

Emily has adjusted pretty well to her "big girl" bed. She doesn't always stay in bed when we put her down, but thankfully she does stay in her room. In fact, when she wants to come out in the morning or afternoon she knocks on the door and says, "Knock, knock!" :o) When I check on her after falling asleep she looks so cute and angelic all cuddled up under the covers clutching a stuffed toy. Too bad I know better! ;o)

The other "grown up" thing Emily has started doing is helping feed Cheney. She initiated it at first, but we have to closely supervise the timing and amount (Cheney gets fed a set amount 2x/day) or he might get an extra "snack" once in a while. ;o) She's usually pretty proud of herself!

We're still working on a haircut. I called my next-door neighbor/stylist and found out she had been taken to the hospital with labor contractions at 33 weeks, so she might be on bed rest for awhile. We'll see what we come up with for Plan B.

Our November video player is posted below and Winkflash pictures should be updated shortly!

Beautiful snow

Isn't it amazing how the first real snowfall of the season is so beautiful and exciting! This is what we woke up to this morning. Too bad we won't feel the same way by January! :op

Thanksgiving in NW Iowa

We headed to NW Iowa for Thanksgiving on Thursday. The first stop was Austin's G&G Lorenzen in LeMars for the traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Emily got to meet her new cousin, Seth, for the first time. She was mildly curious about the "baby" but not overly impressed. She was more interested in playing with the hat and mittens in her bag. :o)

Then we headed to Hull to stay with my parents for a couple days. One of Emily's favorite toys was some homemade cymbals made up of two old pot lids. Check out the video of her giggling!

My mom's side of the family got together on Friday night. It was really nice because my Grandma Vander Kooi, who has been in the nursing home for almost 2 years now, was able to leave the nursing home for the first time in a couple months and come to my parents' house courtesy of a borrowed handicap-accessible van. My grandma was recently diagnosed with kidney failure. Because of her age and condition, dialysis really isn't an option, so it's just a matter of time. It's very possible she'll make it through Christmas, but this might have been our chance to say goodbye. So it was a bittersweet occasion. I feel at peace with the whole situation, though, and know that God's timing is perfect.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Crazy hair

Emily's hair is out of control. This is typically what it looks like first thing in the morning. The back is even worse.

When Aunt Courtney was here this weekend she put it in pig tails and braids while distracting Emily with a Curious George book. I'm lucky if I can get it in a pony tail while chasing her around and up and down stairs. I'm not a "hair person" and between the long, thin, tangly hair and crazy cowlicks I am at a total loss. I think I'm going to try to get an emergency haircut scheduled with my next-door neighbor/hair-stylist. I hope she has some ideas!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

No more naps :o(

I think I'm officially giving in. Emily has decided that she no longer needs to take a regular nap. She has skipped 7 out of the last 10 days, and the days she did "nap" were really busy ones where she fell asleep in laps towards the end of the afternoon and had to be coaxed awake again. I knew I was doomed when at the end of the day she was no more tired/cranky than the beginning of the day. Unfortunately, most of the time I was the tired, cranky one! One positive note is that Emily has readily adapted to a "rest time" in the afternoon where she quietly plays in her room and doesn't peek out for an hour or so. I have taken this opportunity to nap myself. It's funny because when she's ready to come out she knocks on the door and waits for someone to come get her. :o)

The next question is "Does Emily go to bed any earlier?" Sort of. We've been putting her "down" at 7:30pm vs. 8:00-8:30pm, but she still plays in her room/bed until 8:30-9:00pm. She has been sleeping in until 7:30am on a pretty consistent basis, though, which is a bit later than before. I guess we'll take whatever we can get!

I definitely mourn the passing of regular nap time simply for the lost "me" time, but it also has some benefits. I don't feel like I have to rush home from morning activities to get lunch and a nap in on time. I don't have to fight Emily to stay awake in the van on the way home from morning activities/errands because it's not going to affect her nap time anyway. I don't have to fight Emily to stay in bed and go to sleep in the afternoons. I have a lot more options for scheduling activities/errands in the afternoons, although I haven't tried it yet b/c I've been too tired. An earlier bedtime is an option even if she doesn't fall asleep right away. There will be surprise naps and chunks of "me" time that will be viewed as wonderful gifts instead of something to take for granted.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Weekend Getaway

Austin & I enjoyed a very nice weekend getaway. We attended a "Weekend to Remember" marriage conference in Cedar Rapids, IA put on by Family Life. It was an affirmation of the great marriage we already have with a good reminder of ways to keep it that way. It was especially nice just to go away for a couple days and spend time together not worrying about anything going on at home. My parents came to take care of Emily. I honestly hardly ever thought about her the whole weekend, and apparently she didn't think about us much either! Everyone had a great time. :o)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Post-election thoughts

If you haven't already, I encourage you to visit Austin's campaign web site and read his post-election letter. You can find it at

Welcome, Seth David!

Emily has a new cousin! Seth David Moss was born to Adam & Brandi on Monday, November 10. He was 9 lbs. 3 oz. Seth is doing great and Brandi is doing better after having a really rough go of it. Please keep them in your prayers as Brandi continues to recover and they start living life as a family of four!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Serious silliness

Today has been a day marked by exceptional Emily silliness. This is actually a pretty typical morning picture. Emily comes roaring down the stairs and starts hauling bags of cereal out of the boxes to graze while I get her bowl of oatmeal ready for breakfast. Today she was sampling Multi-Grain Cheerios and Vanilla Creme Frosted Mini-Wheats.

At nap time I put her down at the usual time and fashion. However, Emily was apparently not sleepy today. The first time I had to check on her because of suspicious noises coming from her room she was sitting on top of her changing table banging pictures against the wall with her whole basket of big girl panties scattered on the floor. I didn't get a picture of that one. The second time I checked on her (an hour after putting her down for the first time) the scene looked like this. I thought I'd experiment by bringing her book cart back into her room from the guest room. Apparently she's not ready for that yet!

The third time I went in to check on her because of more suspicious noises I found this. That would be Emily holding the curtains supposed to be covering her closet. She said she was, "Playing a game." Hmmm. Also notice that the crib rail supposedly blocking the dresser drawers is no match for this monkey. She had hauled almost everything out of a drawer that I can barely get to and is sporting an inside-out pajama top and one black dress shoe from the collection.

It is now 4:00pm and we've given up on the idea of a nap today. Maybe I'm being punished for sitting her down in front of a Curious George video for 1 1/2 hours this morning while I got some desperately needed bookwork done. I thought I had made up for it by reading real books for over an hour. I guess we either need fresh air or some serious aerobic activity. Here's hoping for a smooth and early bedtime!