Wednesday, July 30, 2008

21 months old

Emily is now 21 months old. She has had a fun summer campaigning for daddy by just being cute. :o) Every time I get out her Lorenzen campaign shirt she gets excited and says, "Tee-shut!" It is fun to just sit back and listen to her constant chatter. She speaks in more 'sentences' (i.e. 2-4 words strung together) and has some funny phrases sometimes. She says, "I like it!" whenever ice cream is mentioned. :o)

Emily loves the whole new world she has discovered at counter-height in the kitchen. Whenever I'm preparing food or working at the counter she says, "Watch Mommy" and hauls a chair over. She was fascinated watching me make blueberry muffins, enchiladas and smoothies in the blender this past week. It will be fun to share my love of baking and cooking with her!

Also in the kitchen Emily has figured out how to remove the yardsticks running through the drawer pulls to keep her out of the drawers. She can usually get them back in, too. So far she is only interested in playing with the yardsticks and not digging through the drawers. I'm waiting for the day she discovers them. :op

Emily has also figured out how to snap together basic buckles (booster chair, stroller, etc.). She can't pinch them apart, though, so I have to do that multiple times a day.

Emily absolutely loves Cheney. Thankfully, Cheney is VERY patient with her (see videos for proof of that). She asks, "Cheney doing?" or "Cheney go?" all the time. He's the first thing she looks for when getting out of bed. Then she alternates between chasing him with the baby stroller or a yardstick, "dressing" him up, using him as a horse for her bears and trying to shove his bone in his mouth. I think Cheney puts up with it because he knows there will be spills and scraps to be had almost every time Emily eats. :o)

We are also in the very beginning stages of potty training (see previous post). It's actually more like "potty exploration". :o)

The July video player is posted below and the July pictures are updated on Winkflash.
Note: I tried saving the "Bremer County Fair" video in a different format for a clearer picture. Please let me know if you are unable to view it or it takes too long to load and I'll post it in the regular format. Thanks!

Bremer County Fair

Tonight was a very hot and sticky visit to the Bremer County Fair in Waverly. It was free hamburger night courtesy of the Bremer County Cattlemen. Austin shook a lot of hands while Emily & I explored the fairgrounds. The theme was "Celebrate in 2008" so the 4-H building had balloons all over, which Emily loved. We got to hear the Johnson Family Strings again.

Emily loved looking at all the animals. They have a great petting zoo area, too.
There is a video montage in the July player documenting it.

(Note: I started leaving the videos in the monthly player in chronological order rather than trying to keep them in reverse-chronological order, so the newer ones are at the end of the list. Use the arrows at the bottom right of the player to scroll through the video list.)

Emily also enjoyed playing in the "corn box".

Our last stop of the evening was the Bremer County Dairy Producers' booth for ice cream sundaes. :o)

We headed home before the combine demolition derby started. Emily needed a bath and I needed a shower. I also had a gut-ache from eating too much ice cream. There was too much going on and Emily lost interest after 5 bites. Being the good Dutch (dairy) girl I am, I couldn't throw away ice cream I had paid for (even if it was only $1). So I ate most of Emily's ice cream, too. Next time I think we'll share! ;o)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Battle of the wills...with a small victory for both sides

Emily & I have had some serious battles of the wills over the last few days. I've had to review my strategy and change tactics (as well as take some deep breaths) a few times because this is one war I am not going to lose! ;o)

The biggest battles have involved the potty chair and the bathtub at night. Emily does not want to get off the former to get into the latter. That may not seem like the worst problem in the world, but it can be quite frustrating when you know your small group will be stepping in the door in less than 15 minutes and/or your back is aching from sitting scrunched up on the tile floor after looking at the same lift-the-flap book for 20 minutes. Then when she finally does actually get into the water she refuses to sit down. On Sunday night she got a fast washcloth bath while kicking and screaming and trying to climb out. On Monday night I washed her hair while she stood up. Tonight I have a high school girl coming over to observe our supper/bedtime routines in the hopes of establishing a go-to evening babysitter. Let's hope the presence of another person subdues the fury a bit. Either that or Sarah will know exactly what she might be getting into!

Lest I forget the small victory--After sitting on the potty chair for almost 20 minutes last night Emily announced, "pee-pee," and sure enough, there was a little tiny tinkle in the bottom. Yay! I know there is still a loooooong way to go in the potty-training process, but that is a big step for both of us! :o)

First tomato

I picked the first tomato of the season this afternoon. Yay! We're having enchiladas for supper tonight. :o)

I about fell over paying $6 for a dozen ears of sweet corn this weekend, but there was definitely supply/demand forces at work to justify the price they were charging. I guess sweet corn is not immune to inflation. :o( For the record, it was delicious!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Janesville parade

This week's parade was in Janesville. We got some great help from Addy, Emily & Morgan Schut along with Austin's parents and brother. It was sunny and hot! Thank goodness for lots of DumDum suckers acquired along the way. :o)

Bubbles with Grandpa Lorenzen

The last time Grandpa & Grandma Lorenzen came to visit Grandpa introduced Emily to "bubbles" in the sink. Emily has been obsessed ever since and comes running as soon as she hears the water turn on. She often pretends to give her stuffed animals a bath in the sink (see video in player). Grandpa & Grandma were back again this weekend for golf and the parade and more bubble fun! The bunny started off with just a bubble beard, but ended up fully submerged for a true "bath". Thanks Grandpa! ;o)

Pumpkin Progress

The pumpkin experiment is going well. There are beautiful flowers all over the vines. Let's hope they turn into some pumpkins! :o)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Fayette County Fair

Tonight we traveled to West Union for the Fayette County Fair. Austin was in and around the GOP booth talking to lots of people while I followed Emily all over the fairgrounds. We forgot the stroller at home, so she had free range. Whew! She loved looking at all the animals, but kept running back to the pigs. :op Unfortunately, she got pig manure on the bottom of her shoes and they may be declared a total loss (after the Bremer County Fair next week).

There was a big free meal sponsored by all the main livestock groups. Emily's favorite part was the ice cream. :o) She is obsessed with ice cream lately and asks for it all the time--including at breakfast. Emily's other very favorite part of the fair was the red balloon she got from a church booth. It served as great entertainment for the evening. I had to tie it to a little wooden bug car toy from her bag so it wouldn't fly away. She got upset when she saw someone else let go of their balloon let alone lose her own. Heaven help us if she did!

Election countdown...

On the advice of the wonderful wife of a former political candidate, I indulged in a little "craft time" this afternoon and made an old-fashioned paper chain to count down the days until the election. (I'm feeling very nostalgic for elementary school lately!) I thought it might be fun/interesting for Emily, too, but after less than 5 minutes I decided this was a WEN (While Emily Naps) project. I just finished prying my gluey fingers apart and draping my chain on the curtain rod in the office. Each color represents one month beginning with red for the remainder of July. I can't decide if looking at the chain makes me feel better or more overwhelmed about the remaining length of this crazy season of our lives. I'm sure I'll feel differently on different days and so will Austin! ;o)

Reaching new heights

Emily recently reached another milestone in mobility. She has now figured out how to shove a chair from the kitchen table around the kitchen to reach up onto the kitchen counters. She is particularly fascinated by the coffee pot. Luckily, it is almost always empty. Small rugs also tend to get in the way of reaching the sink and stove (for now). Between that and the potty chair/stool in the bathroom no counter is now out of reach except the pass-through window shelf. It will add a whole new dimension to strategic placement of items. :o)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Fifty Nifty United States

Did you ever learn the "Fifty Nifty United States" song in elementary school music class? It was my all-time favorite. To this day I can still remember most of it, and I got a chance to prove it. I got a United States lift-a-flap book from the dollar bin at Target this week for Emily. When we "read" it for the first time yesterday I made the mistake of singing the song. I sang it at least 4 times then, 3 times while she sat on her potty before her bath, 4 times while she sat on her potty after her bath and 6 more times before she got into bed. She refused to "read" anything else, and as soon as I finished she would plead, "Song, Mommy, puh-leeese!" I finally cut her off and put her in her crib where she cried for 15 minutes. What have I done!?!?!? Needless to say, the book is currently hiding under the recliner in her room. :o)

For any of you who have never heard the song, or those of you who want to take a trip down memory lane, click here: Fifty Nifty United States - School House Rock.wav

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Celebrating 5 years / Fun with Grandpa & Grandma Boote

What a great weekend! My parents arrived late Thursday night, so they had all day Friday to play with Emily. My dad & I took a road trip to Monona, IA during Emily's nap time to tour a senior living facility. My dad is on a community committee back in Hull looking at building a similar facility. It was quite interesting and a great chance to visit with my dad. Emily enjoyed the peg toy they brought and reading lots and lots of books. Grandma B calls Emily "Toodles" and Emily soon started calling herself that only without the 'd' sound. :o)

Saturday morning was the Sumner Days parade. It was very humid and not one of Emily's better parades. She actually threw two temper tantrums during the parade route. Both were because I wouldn't let her drape her red bead necklace on the wagon handle like she had done while we were waiting for the parade to start. Luckily, there was a stray DumDum sucker or Tootsie Roll in just the right spot to satiate her each time. Whew! Here is a classic picture--one shoe off and two fistfuls of candy. :o)


Saturday was also our 5th Anniversary! I don't know why, but I feel older knowing I've been out of college for 5 years then knowing I've been married for 5 years. It has been an amazing journey. To celebrate Austin & I took off after lunch and actually went door-knocking together for awhile in Janesville. I know--but I was curious to see him in action! :o) Then we checked into a hotel in Cedar Falls. We relaxed in the pool/hot tub, had a wonderful meal at Ferrari's and saw a beautiful rainbow after a storm blew through. We met up with my parents & Emily again for the late service at Orchard Hill. I was more relaxed than I had felt in months and none of us had any separation anxiety at all. It was the first time I had left Emily overnight and it was long overdue!

After church we all headed to Jay Bullerman's house for the annual Waterloo Open client appreciation event held by Financial Resource Advisors (my former employer). Emily wasn't interested in eating. She just wanted to play in the ice chest. :o) It was great food, though!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Not so much Story Hour

So I thought it would be a lot of fun to take Emily to the Thursday evening story hour at the library. I quickly discovered that she definitely has not acquired the attention span (however small) or social skills needed to participate. She pretty much just ran around the library playing with the big gorilla and chicken puppets and other items in the kids area like she usually does. She only got close enough to steal the bear puppet the librarian was going to use to tell a story about a bee, a bear and a honey pot. Oh well. We'll try again next year!

Phelps Youth Pavilion

Today was "dollar day" at the new Phelps Youth Pavilion at the Waterloo Center for the Arts. It is an awesome new children's interactive learning center that I have been wanting to visit with Emily since it opened this spring. For $2 I figured it would be a fun way to spend a couple hours in the morning. It was pure chaos with 100+ kids and adults running around, but it was a lot of fun to watch Emily explore. She wasn't shy about anything. I can see how it will be tons of fun in the future without the big crowds and when Emily begins to "grow" into more of the exhibits. It reminded me so much of the Omaha Children's Museum I loved when I was in kindergarten.

This is a collage of Emily checking things out. She loved the "fishies" and life-like cow. I couldn't get her to try and milk it, though. ;o) She is also exploring China, digging in the "garden", fishing with magnets, going "shopping" for vegetables and crashing a play being staged by a group of random kids.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Picnic in the park

On Sunday evening we attended the Bremer County GOP fundraiser picnic at Prestien Park in Denver. It was a beautiful evening, though a bit breezy. Austin spoke along with all the other GOP candidates running for various offices from county supervisor to U.S. Senate. He did a great job! We were also privileged to have the Johnson Family Strings as the entertainment for the evening. The Johnson's are a neat home school family from rural Denver that play together as a whole family all over the area. There are six kids ages 6-17 and they are amazing! There is a short video of Emily "dancing" in the video player. I tried to tape Austin's speech, but Emily was not cooperating at all, so I finally gave up. She performed her duty of looking cute, but only ate crackers and cookies for supper. We also decided it was time to go home when she wiped out on the tennis court, spilled her "fishy" crackers and skinned both knees. :o( Luckily she was quite resilient (and tired) and almost fell asleep on the stroller ride back.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Mischievous House Elf

It has been a longer week without much interesting going on. We do, however, have a mischievous "house elf" on the loose. Three significant items have disappeared lately: my watch, one of Emily's "juice" sippy cups and one of my mixer beaters. I can't function without a watch and losing the sippy cup is significant since there are only two in that rotation and that barely suffices at times. Luckily, both items could be easily replaced at Target yesterday. The beater disappeared on the day Emily got into the cupboard that houses my mixer and a lot of big bowls. She had fun "cooking" while I was trying to juggle frying bacon, answering the phone and shutting off the smoke alarm. :op Later that night, after washing up everything she had hauled out, Austin & I couldn't find one of the beaters anywhere. Thankfully, it mysteriously reappeared as soon as Emily got up in the morning. I didn't care as long as it was back in time to bake cookies today. :o)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Field trip to PetCo

Emily & I took a little field trip to PetCo this morning to get dog food for Cheney and look at all the animals. That is some fun and cheap entertainment (except for the dog food part)! Emily called all the rodents "mice" and loved the "fishies" and "wa-er" (water) best. You can click on the picture collage to enlarge.

Poor Cheney

This is Emily's new favorite pastime. Poor Cheney!

Friday, July 4, 2008

4th of July

Today was a big day! Austin's parents came up from Des Moines to help us out. Our first stop was the big 4th of July parade in Oelwein. It was a perfect day for a parade. What a lot of people! Dave, Cheryl & Tyler saw a lot of people they knew, so it was a lot of fun. We had a big crew and they still couldn't keep up. Emily sure liked all the "flags" and Tootsie Rolls!

We had McDonald's on the road (which Emily did VERY well with) and made a brief pit-stop at home in Denver to reload before heading up to Fredrika. Emily took a 30 min. snooze in the van before we had to wake her up to sit in the wagon. That was also a big parade for such a small town. Emily did so well the whole day and performed her role of looking cute beautifully. We got a lot of comments (and hopefully a lot of votes!) from people lining the streets.

We finally made it home by 3:30pm where everyone except Emily crashed. After being confined to either a car seat or wagon all day she was running around like crazy. She thought it was hilarious to chase Cheney around pushing her baby stroller and trying to run into him. She even caught him a few times! Then she had fun playing in the sand with Grandma Lorenzen while we grilled supper.

After Grandpa & Grandma Lorenzen left for home Austin washed the van in the driveway and I watered the flowers while Emily "helped". She had great fun playing with the water hose, sponges and splashing & dumping water in & out of the car washing bucket. By the time we went inside she was soaked from top to bottom. It was a great end to a very busy but fun day!

Happy 4th of July!

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Wednesday, July 2, 2008


We enjoyed our first meal of fresh green beans from my experimental "garden" this summer and they were delicious! I had forgotten how much better garden fresh ones taste as opposed to "fresh" from the grocery store. Emily, of course, loved them. But she'll eat anything called a "bejable". Also, the experimental pumpkin vines are looking good. I'm excited to see what might come out of those. I love summer!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


It was a beautiful afternoon and we finally were able to haul out the sprinkler. Emily had a blast! She talked non-stop (see video montage). Cheney liked it too. :o) We also got out the pool to splash in. Throw in the sandbox and it's a perfect formula for fun (and a mess)! I was engrossed in trying to catch up on the daily papers and didn't notice that Emily was systematically filling her pool with sand one scoop at a time. I rescued most of it using her sieve scoop. I haven't figured out a good system for getting Emily cleaned up and inside. I ended up hosing Emily down, drying her off and then shaking out the towel and her entire changing table pad and waiting for the rest of the sand to come off in the bathtub.

Laundry Day Disaster

Nothing puts a damper on Laundry Day (other than the fact it's Laundry Day) more than running not only a Kleenex (which I do quite often), but also a tube of ChapStick through both the washer & dryer with the dark load. I did that a couple times in college with devastating results. Although the casualties were great in number, they were not the most heartbreaking items this time around. I ran a Google search last night on ways to rescue the victims but came up with a lot of conflicting information. I am currently experimenting with straight-up Dawn dish detergent with promising preliminary results. Has anyone else experienced this tragedy and recovered?