Wednesday, April 30, 2008

18 months old

Emily is now 18 months old. At her check-up today she measured 34 1/2 inches and 27.4 lbs. She's off the charts for height and 90th percentile in weight--right where she has always been. I thought she had had a growth spurt recently! She remembered there was a giant fish tank in the waiting room as soon as she saw the building and started yelling "Ish!" before we even walked in the door. Unfortunately, once the nurse & doctor came in the exam room she also remembered them! All in all she did pretty well, though. Check out the cute pictures of her in the little dressing gown. :o)

Here are some current Emily highlights:
  • Emily has really enjoyed listening to the Dr. Suess ABC's cassette tape that my sisters and I almost wore out when we were little. I've even caught her trying to sing parts of it lately. She sings, "A--D--I--itchy." :o)

  • Emily's "prayers" consist of her saying "Pray?", folding her hands, and saying "A-ben". They occur a random times during the day--usually in the middle of meals.

  • Dipping things has become a fun activity. Just today Emily was dipping cold green beans (steamed yesterday) in peach flavored applesauce. Yummy! :op

  • Emily has figured out how to climb on and off of her little wooden rocking horse all by herself.

  • I try to do my Denise Austin workout video a couple times a week. As soon as I start getting out my exercise equipment Emily says "Ex-cise?" Then she starts imitating and narrating moves--"stech" (stretch), "tist" (twist), "up down"

  • Emily also loves dancing to the pre-recorded songs on the keyboard. It starts with "Star Wars" and goes from there. If you haven't already, check out the dancing videos in the April video player below.

  • Emily is really interested in pockets, so you have to be a little more careful about what you carry in them.

Here's my funny story for the day. Because of Emily's lingering head cold and runny nose, we had just used up the stack of Kleenxes I rescued from the bathroom floor a couple weeks ago (see earlier post). I guess I left Emily alone a little too long in her room while getting supper ready tonight. She set a new record of casualties at 159 Kleenxes. That includes the 2 that Cheney grabbed and ate. There's an accompanying video in the player.

Below is the April video player. In addition to the ones posted on the blog all our April pictures are updated on Winkflash.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Not your typical Tuesday...

So the day started off pretty well. I pulled the sheets off my tulips for the second morning in a row and they looked perfectly fine. I was not going to lose them again like I did last year! Although it was a bit chilly, Emily & I took a walk up town to the post office and Kwik Star. I was too lazy to dig out her hat and mittens again, but I think she was fine. In addition to my walking cardio (because anyone who has walked the hilly streets of Denver with me knows it really is cardio) I was able to do a 40 min. toning workout video while Emily played around the house. I was feeling pretty good.

Things started going downhill when Emily decided to only take a one hour nap. This was in stark contrast to the four hour nap she took yesterday. Her whole sleeping schedule has been out of whack because she still has a lingering head cold, and I'm suspicious that her eye teeth may be starting to move up. Since we had a lot of extra play time, Emily decided today was a "dumping" day. That basically means that she systematically moves through the house and dumps out everything she can find on the floor. This included, but was not limited to, two different sets of alphabet toys, an entire bookshelf, all of her toy baskets and the 120 piece MegaBlocks set I picked up on clearance at Wal-mart yesterday to go with her new Lego table (although one leg is still broken b/c the glue I bought to fix it didn't work, but that's another story). In the midst of this chaos I attempted to clean the sliding glass door windows in the breezeway. Emily "helped" by unrolling half a roll of paper towels and crumpling them on a pile. Fortunately, I ended up using most of them. In the process of cleaning the windows I noticed that we have a psychotic robin that clings to the tree just outside one of the breezeway windows and tries to fly into the window every couple minutes. I noticed him doing it last night, too. The tree, sidewalk and outside of the window are a mess. Maybe one of these times he'll either give up or knock himself out trying.

After giving up on the window washing I decided to take Emily outside to play in the backyard. I was utterly dismayed when I opened the door to the studio house and discovered that it had flooded along with everything else last Friday. Unfortunately, it never crossed our minds to go check and this was the first time I went out there. The carpet was soggy wet and stench was almost unbearable. There is one small window that was open a crack, but other than that it has been wet and closed for almost 5 days. I could already see mold on the dry wall in one corner. I felt nauseous from it the rest of the evening. As luck would have it, Austin left for San Francisco today for a HUGE sales presentation and won't be home again until Thursday. I consulted with him on the phone after Emily went to bed and then headed out with a mask, gloves and a variety of tools out of the basement. I could do this. I watch people tear out worse stuff every Saturday night on the house flipping shows on TV.

All I can say is I definitely got a triple workout in today! I emptied everything we had been storing in there (Surprisingly, I don't think anything got ruined) and ripped up all the carpet. Then I pulled off the base boards, cut out some chunks of drywall to inspect the damage and pulled up a small piece of plywood from the floor (the carpet was glued down to plywood, but came up pretty easy). I even discovered an ant colony living in the wall. What a mess! I don't know what we're going to do with it now. I was hoping just to paint and redo the curtains sometime this summer to make a cute playhouse for Emily and to store larger toys. Not so much anymore. (Click on the pictures for an enlarged view)

To top everything off, somehow when I was freaking out about the studio house this afternoon Emily was running around outside and managed to get a huge scratch on one cheek. Normally this wouldn't really concern me that much, but I had just scheduled an appointment to get her 18-month portrait pictures taken at JCPenney on Thursday morning. The scratch is in addition to a small pimple on the other cheek and a banged up chin from slipping on a book yesterday. All in all, Emily's face looks about as bad as it ever has. I was amazed when she was a baby and scratches seemed to instantly heal in 24 hours, but I'm thinking that's not going to happen here. I was hoping to get the pictures back by Mother's Day, but we may have to nix that idea.

So here I sit. It's almost 10:00pm. I'm tired, sore and dirty. I haven't had a shower all day. And there's a whole sink full of dishes sitting in the kitchen. But look on the bright side--at least my potatoes turned out at supper. ;o) (Thanks, Courtney!)

Friday, April 25, 2008

News report about flooding

Here is a link to the news report from KWWL about the Denver flooding. They exaggerated the amount of downtown flooding a bit. Most of the industrial area was flooded, but not the Main Street businesses. Flood

Sorry, but I think this link is now dead as KWWL only keeps video clips on their site for a limited amount of time.


Okay, so I've never really been a "garage-saler" before, but now that I have a kid I see the immense value in cheap play clothes and good, used (& cheap!) books and toys. Aunt Courtney brought an entire summer wardrobe last weekend courtesy of the Hull garage sales. Since Emily was too sick to stick in a room full of toddlers at Mom's Morning Out at church (which I was very sad to miss for the 3rd week in a row), but well enough to be out and about, we ventured into NW Cedar Falls this morning to check out a few sales, including two moms from Orchard Hill. We ended up stopping at a bunch of different places. At this time of year you can just start one place and keep following signs. I got some good generic play pants for future use, a really cute "bumblebee" raincoat, quite a few books and two fun toys--a white erase board easel and a Lego table with 2 little chairs. Now we just need some Legos or Duplo Blocks. I also got a new gigantic (real) house plant for the breezeway. If nothing else, the pot it's in is worth more than what I paid for the whole thing! ;o) Emily sure enjoyed wandering around and checking out everything--especially the stuffed animals. She found a large bear quite similar to the one that ended up in the dog dish earlier this week. She ended up dragging it around on the wet, muddy garage floor, so I offered to buy it, but the ladies thought Emily was so cute they gave it to her for free. He's going to have to take a little spin in the washer, too. :o)

The Janesville city-wide garage sales are tomorrow, but I might have filled my quota for this week. The Denver city-wide sales are Mother's Day weekend. My biggest mission is to find some outdoor toys. I would really like to get a good, used Little Tikes Cozy Coupe (see picture), but I have quickly discovered that they are a highly desired item and the chances of me finding one at a garage sale are slim to none. Therefore, if anyone knows of anyone looking to get rid of one I am definitely interested! I'm especially interested in the older models that have different color schemes. Please let me know!!

Water, Water Everywhere

After receiving 3.5 inches of rain last Thursday/Friday we received another 5 inches in a 24 hour period finally ending at 9:00am today. It was just wave after wave of thunderstorms all night long. It made for a virtual sleepless night for me after adding in the fact that Emily caught her first cold in over 2 months yesterday and I was up with her for 1 1/2 hours b/c she couldn't breathe very well. When Austin & I got up early there was water pooling in the basement. The old sump pump was either broken or not able to keep up, so after filling the shop-vac 5 times and dumping it outside, Austin made a flying trip to Waterloo for a new sump pump. Luckily everything was safe in plastic bags or tubs. The only minor casualty was a canvas tent that fell off the shelf and can be washed. Water is still seeping in the foundation in several places and part of the floor is still wet, but at least it's semi-under control!

As bad as that seems, I felt very fortunate after heading out and seeing what other people were dealing with. At least two other neighbors had water in their basements and were hauling stuff out. Downtown was in chaos. The creek that runs along the northwest side was so flooded it had cut off the north and west entrances into town. A lot of stuff west of State Street was flooded, too. KWWL (the local NBC affiliate) was broadcasting live as residents were evacuated. People had vehicles and equipment moved and parked along the streets, including the entire fire/emergency rescue fleet. The water was all the way up to halfway surrounding the grocery store, which is at least 4 blocks away from the original creek. A sandbag station was set up in the parking lot. School in Denver was cancelled along with many other small districts in the area. On the way home at noon I saw rolls of carpet stacked up on people's driveways. Below are a couple pictures, including the park by the creek where Emily & I like to slide and swing. Notice the water is half way up the twisty slide!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


We got a new sandbox and sand for Emily last week and today was the first day that it was really nice outside and the sand was actually dry enough to play in. Emily didn't like the feel of wet sand on her hands earlier this week. Today she didn't show a lot of interest in the sand itself except for one taste . :o) She mostly just liked banging the plastic toys around. Mom definitely had more fun! ;o)


Emily had several mischievous moments today. The first was early this morning when I lost track of her in the house. As suspected, she was splashing in Cheney's water bowl. The rug was soaked and so was her favorite bear stuffed animal. I decided "Bear" was going straight to the washing machine. It was a good excuse to wash up all the winter gear, too. After the initial fit Emily forgot about "Bear" the rest of the day. It's a good thing b/c it's probably going to take a day or two for him to dry out!

The second moment occurred at the pharmacy downtown. It was a gorgeous morning, so Emily & I took the stroller downtown to run some errands. I should have known better than to let her out to "walk" while I was browsing the card aisle for Mother's Day cards. I got most of them put back, but had to leave a small pile at the cash register. The clerk was laughing and insisting that she could just put them all away.

The third event happened when we got home. I was going to change her into play clothes so we could go outside and check out the sandbox (see next post). Emily, however, refused to let me put her pants on, let alone socks and shoes. So, I ended up sitting outside on a lawn chair reading a magazine while she ran around in the breezeway with just a short-sleeved onesie. It was a battle of the wills and took 20 minutes before she decided to cooperate so she could join me. Score one for mom. ;o)

Two other notes of interest. Emily's favorite snack is currently Fruity Cheerios. The box I just opened had a little diecast NASCAR car in it. It's funny watching her with her "car". She knows exactly what to do and what sounds to make! The other note is that Emily was looking a little tough tonight because she received her biggest goose-egg to date in the middle of her forehead. She was running "fast" across the stepping stones in our front landscaping this afternoon in her Crocs (which are still a bit big for her) and fell face forward, smacking her forehead on one of the stones. She cried for less than 10 seconds, but it sure looks owie!

Monday, April 21, 2008

New neighbor dog

The family across the street just got a new Wheaten Terrier named "Chance". We went over to meet him today. :o)


Emily's "dancing" has really begun to evolve lately. Check out some of the fun videos in the April video player. :o)

Weekend guests

Grandma B and Aunt Courtney came to visit for the weekend. They read LOTS of books with Emily and giggled a lot, too. Aunt Courtney also brought some super cool cookies made with the cookie cutters we gave her. Emily sure enjoyed them!

Friday, April 18, 2008


Emily has also been enamoured with crawling into "boxes" lately, which is pretty much any type of container. Her favorite is laundry baskets, but she will attempt anything, including the small crate that we keep a few DVDs in. The process usually begins with emptying everything out of the "box", crawling in and then trying to gather everything back into the box with her without getting out. Below are pictures of her toy basket from earlier this week and the small laundry pail in her room this morning.


Toddlers sure keep you on your toes and Emily is no exception. Yesterday I must have been in a hurry when switching laundry loads. When I went back to move the last load to the dryer I discovered that somehow a plastic Mickey Mouse ruler and the remote to the TV in the office had ended up in the washing machine. Luckily, that particular load was done on the delicate/gentle cycle, and after drying out for 24 hours the remote works just fine. Hmmm...

Remember when I mentioned a couple posts ago that Emily usually stays out of trouble when I'm in the shower? Today was not one of those days. When I peeked out I discovered Emily had hauled the large Kleenex box off the top of the toilet and was surrounded by Kleenexes as she was systematically pulling them out saying, "Nose" after each one. (62 to be exact) While I was painstakingly trying to refold them back into sort of a pile I'm pretty sure Emily was downstairs playing in Cheney's water dish. She has had an intense fascination for it lately and I had not put it back up on the counter after feeding him. She was also perfectly quiet the whole time and her hands were suspiciously damp and cold when she did re-emerge. It doesn't take a genius to figure that one out, but since I had just stepped out of the shower to the large pile of Kleenexes I just let it go. Sigh...

Monday, April 14, 2008

Van mis-adventures

So our van has not been our friend lately. One of the other fun experiences we had in Des Moines was vehicle trouble. Shortly after arriving we discovered the van was deader than a doornail. Austin's dad tried to jump it for 30 min. and barely got the dash lights to blink. We had to pay to have it towed in the morning and the battery replaced. Luckily, they had it done by noon we could be on our way...

Fast forward to Monday morning. I had a couple quick stops in Waterloo before a play date in Hudson that I had been looking forward to for a week. After the first stop I went back out to the van and...deader than a doornail. Not a sound or even a flicker of light. Grrr. I ended up calling a tow truck again. Thankfully, they were able to jump it after a little tinkering, although I still had to pay them almost a full towing fee. I dropped Emily off at a friend's house and brought it to the shop. It turned out to be some kind of corrosion around the battery connections that the first place probably wouldn't have seen. So...hopefully everything in that department is fixed now. I was very disappointed to miss the play date, but Emily & I enjoyed a spontaneous McDonald's lunch and made it home for nap time.


It has finally begun--Emily started calling my "mommy" this weekend. Or more accurately, "Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!" I hadn't felt bad that she had been calling Austin "Daddy" for months and said nothing regarding me because I knew once it started it would seem like it would never end. ;o) It's fun, though.

Emily is in the total copycat stage verbally, so you can make her say almost anything. It's funny, but also a little scary. She can finally say "Gam-pa" and "Nam-ma" and we practiced saying all the names of her uncles & aunts. I don't think she has assigned meaning to the names yet, but she can say them! Everything that remotely resembles a computer screen or still picture is called "Ash-uh", so we didn't have to practice that one. ;o) She can also say her own name, although it comes out "Em-my". She hasn't assigned meaning to that one yet either.

Fun in Des Moines

We spent Thurs-Sat in Des Moines because Austin had political meetings to attend. Emily got to hang out with Grandpa & Grandma Lorenzen a lot. She especially enjoyed walking around in the rain puddles. :o)

Emily proved herself to be a little monkey, though. On Thursday night Austin & I were out at a reception so Grandma Lorenzen put her to bed in the little port-a-crib borrowed from Great-Grandma Freking. It's basically the size of a Pack 'N Play but looks like a wooden crib with spindles. Emily protested when Grandma left room, but by the time Grandma had walked down the hallway to her own room she heard a noise behind her and turned to see Emily following her. It took less than 30 seconds for Emily to figure out how to climb out and pull open the door. Little stinker! So Grandpa & Grandma had to haul out the Pack 'N Play and try again. We put Emily back into the port-a-crib the next morning to see if she would show us how she got out, but she just got mad and sat down (see video). I guess we'll never know!

Emily loved playing with Copper (the dog) and practiced saying "Cop-uh" for days before. They had to learn to share just like Emily & Cheney. Here is Emily crawling into Copper's basket of toys after hauling them all out.

We've also been working on "praying" at mealtime. Sometimes Emily just crawls up on a chair and says "Pway". Here she is after a meal at Grandpa & Grandma's house.

Brushing teeth

Emily likes to brush her teeth and pretend to brush her stuffed animals' teeth, too. :o)

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


As everyone knows, toddlers are messy. Yesterday I caught Emily "helping" sort the laundry after I had already sorted it once. She also decided to add her blue ball and Vikings teddy bear to one of the baskets.

Today I thought it would be fun to give Emily a whole frosted cupcake instead of cutting it up into bite-sized pieces like I usually do. I was hoping for an improved performance over her birthday cake and she didn't disappoint! She thoroughly enjoyed licking off all the frosting, poking holes and then generally pulverizing the thing. I'm not sure how much she actually consumed. :o)

The funniest mess from today, though, occurred while I was taking a shower. I should note that Emily usually does just fine wandering around and entertaining herself without getting into too much trouble while I'm showering and getting ready in the morning. Today, however, I had decided to merge two large bottles of hand lotion on the counter. While one was upside-down on top of the other both pumps were on the counter. I thought they were far enough out of reach. Apparently not. In less than 5 minutes I peeked out to observe Emily waving the pumps around in the air. The sink, counter, toilet and parts of the cabinets and tile wall were covered with a smeared layer of hand lotion--not to mention Emily's shirt, pants and face. It wouldn't have been so bad except for the fact that after putting it off for quite some time, I had finally broken down and done a thorough scrubbing of the bathroom only last night. Sigh...

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Emily antics

Emily made us laugh today when we caught her "playing chess" with her bears. We have a little "coffee/game corner" in the fireplace room where I have had a chess board set up (thanks to my generous friend, Kimber!). Emily discovered it this week and has had a ball climbing up on the chairs and playing with the chess pieces. We have found the pieces all over the house. Just yesterday I moved the toilet paper roll holder in the upstairs bathroom and three pawns fell out. Emily had put them down the tubes of the stacked up rolls. (She likes hiding lots of things in the tubes--including hair clips and her toothbrush.) This afternoon she took it to the next level and hauled her bears downstairs so it looked like they were playing each other. She then happily moved back and forth between the chairs.

Emily decided it would be fun to use Cheney as a chair this afternoon. He humored her for about 5 seconds. She also decided to "help" feed him tonight. She hauled out the container with his food all by herself and then dumped it in his dish after I scooped it out. Cheney was hiding from the vacuum cleaner, so Emily busied herself playing with Cheney's food. Check out the video in the April player. Austin stopped recording just before she picked up the entire dog dish and held it up to her face like a drinking glass saying, "All gone." :o)

I finally got some metal silverware for Emily and she has been practicing "poking" her food with a fork. She got pretty good with cooked carrots the other day. Bite-size pieces of PBJ toast work well, too (probably b/c the peanut butter makes it stick regardless of how well it's actually on the fork). Emily & I also shared a bowl of ice cream the other day, which surprisingly worked well with her fork b/c it was hard enough--too hard for her to scoop with a spoon. The other momentous occasion in that department was officially moving her high chair downstairs. I'll haul it up again when the weather gets really nice and I can hose it down for good outside :op, but she now exclusively sits at the table in her "big girl" chair. :o)

Spring at last!

It actually really felt like spring this weekend. Yay! On both Friday and Saturday Emily & I spent 1 1/2 hours outside in the backyard. I've never been so thankful for a fenced in yard! Emily just explored on her own and chased balls with Cheney while I was able to get all the spring yard work done. It was great not having to wear a coat and actually having to put on sunscreen! Although there are still a few small mounds of snow in the front, for the first time in months we are actually able to see the entire curb & gutter in front of our house. The trees across the street budded out overnight, and it's only a matter of time before the grass greens up again. We can't wait! Our mission this week: acquire a sandbox.

Emily & I have been observing a pair of cardinals in our backyard, too. Emily loves pointing out all the birds. ;o) It looked like the cardinals were collecting nesting material, so I hope they stay close by. I love watching and listening to them.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Funny Friday

Every day something makes me laugh. Today seemed to have many humorous moments, so I'll share a few with you...

  • For some reason Cheney seems to LOVE eating Kleenexes--especially used ones. :op This morning Emily climbed up on the toilet while saying "cayuh-ful", grabbed a Kleenex out of the box saying "Bwess-oo" and then wiped her chin while saying "nose". (Even though she didn't need to wipe anything) Then Cheney started chasing her around trying to get at the Kleenex. He finally got her cornered by the bed in our bedroom. Meanwhile, Emily is saying, "No, Chee-ny" while waving the Kleenex in front of his face, which only makes him more eager to get it. I was laughing out loud at both of them.

  • At Mom's Morning Out (our church group for mom's) I was given a free tall mocha from Starbucks. I've never had Starbucks coffee before and actually haven't had a coffee product in quite awhile. I drank the whole thing and was still jittery from it at 4:00pm. No more Starbucks coffee for me!

  • Before heading home we stopped at FRA to drop off some cupcakes. They were having an office potluck and gave Emily a cookie, which she thoroughly enjoyed on the way home. (See picture)

  • After lunch I had to quick go to the bathroom before putting Emily down for a nap. Before I was finished she burst into the bathroom, said "Ucky", reached into her pants and--you guessed it--pulled out a handful of poop. :op Definitely not as funny when you're not exactly in a position to take care of it right away!

  • Emily fell asleep in the van for 15 minutes on the way home from Waterloo, which oftentimes is enough to mess up her whole afternoon nap routine. Today was no exception. While she was supposed to be napping I was downstairs doing bookwork. I was on the phone with a billing company and could hear the crib squeaking like she was jumping up and down followed by wild laughter. After 1.5 hours of entertaining herself in her crib I decided to get her up so we could both go play outside. When I walked in I saw that banging around in her crib was not the only thing she had been up to. Remember my post about undressing herself earlier this week? Here's what she looked like today :o) (Click on picture for larger view. There is also a video in the April video player)

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Email update notice

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Emily has had a penchant for undressing herself lately. Whenever we go to her room to get her in the morning or after a nap it's a surprise as to what she'll actually still be wearing. Unless it's a snapped up onesie or pants with a tight elastic waist band, anything is up for grabs. The socks are always gone. Once in a while the shirt, but more often the pants. Last night I had to get up with her at midnight and she was down to just a diaper. She went to bed with a one-piece, footed fleece sleeper. She has figured out zippers, so sometimes we go in and she's got the top half off. When I went to redress her last night I found her sleeper laying in the crib completely inside-out with only the top 5" of zipper undone. I'm not sure how the little Houdini accomplished that one. Obviously we're ready for warmer weather, which means less clothes!

A Thousand Words...

This picture really contains a thousand words. First of all, much to her daddy's delight, Emily is carrying on a proud Lorenzen tradition of LOVING popcorn. I gave her some for the first time this week and now she asks for "pop" as a "snack" often. Austin will have to increase the amount he makes on Sunday nights!

Secondly, as you'll notice, Emily is wearing a 'beautiful' purple "neck-sis". It's really an elastic woven hair band that has been overstretched, but she proudly wears it every day. :o)

Thirdly, you'll notice Emily has an attentive audience. I've left the gate off for a week now and let Emily & Cheney interact all day. It has been a process of learning about 'sharing' for both of them. Emily tends to find Cheney's "bone" and proceed to try to shove it in his mouth. Then when he actually reacts and tries to take it she won't let go and gets upset because he's trying to get it. They pester each other once in a while, too. I figure it's a small taste of what it's like to have more than one kid! ;o) Of course, Emily is also learning that it's fun to 'share' her food with Cheney at the dinner table, and he is much obliged. We have been trying to curb that habit.