Friday, October 31, 2008

October wrap-up

Just so you know, reading all those "doctor" books didn't help a bit. Emily had half of them memorized and would tell you everything that was happening in the pictures, but when we went in for Emily's 2-year check-up on Friday she discovered they had removed the giant fish tank in the waiting room and it was all downhill from there. She kicked and screamed bloody murder about everything and proceeded to violently redress herself as soon as the doctor came in. She even ended up wearing her shirt backwards and inside-out the rest of the day. :o) At least Dr. Christiason got to experience her verbal skills first hand! I think Emily told herself, "You don't need to cry, Emily" at least five times. She is a healthy 30.2 lbs. and a sketchy 36" tall. I say sketchy because she was flailing around as the nurse was trying to measure her on the table. I'm pretty sure she's not quite that tall. Both put her in the 90-95th percentile where she has been from day one.

We also finally got a "big girl bed". We set up the twin mattress and box springs in her room after supper with cool new flower sheets and a real pillow. She thought it was pretty fun.

When she went to bed I was "the enforcer" sitting on a stool by the door. I had to silently put her back in bed 13 times in the first 5 minutes, but we got the "stay in bed" part down pretty quickly. She used up her 1 "potty" excuse and her 1 "drink" excuse right away. Soon we had to establish a "no standing, running or jumping" on the bed rule. It took about 2 hours for her to fall asleep (which is par for the course lately), but when she did, it was so adorable to see her curled up like a true "big girl" in a big bed. :o)

Below is the October video player with a couple new ones. The October pictures will be up on Winkflash soon. There are less picture/videos this month because Emily spent half the time half naked during her undressing phase, so I didn't get out the cameras at all during that time. Thankfully, she is growing out of it! :o)


Austin took Emily trick-or-treating after he got home from work. She liked it and got really good at the "thank you" part. Now I have to figure out what to do with all that candy...

This was Emily at the post office the day before. She loves going there because she knows there is a basket of suckers on the counter. I gave her one and she helped herself to the other while I was busy buying stamps. She enjoyed a double treat on her birthday. :o)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

2 years old!

It's hard to believe our little girl is 2 years old today! It seems like only yesterday we were nervously packing up to go to the hospital. Now we have a fun and spirited toddler who keeps us on our toes! :o)

Emily is definitely ready for her birthday. She has been practicing singing "Happy Birthday" to herself for a month now (see video in October player). We've also been practicing holding up 2 fingers all week. She's getting close. After a while she asks for help and then proudly walks around with two fingers in the air until they come undone. We are having a family birthday party on Sunday, but I bought a helium birthday balloon for her today. Unfortunately, it had a hole in it and was half flat within minutes of arriving at home, so we have to go back and get a replacement.

Some other recent developments are the bed battles (see post below). We've postponed any further potty-training until after the election, but I guess we traded it in for something else. :op Emily has just figured out how to count to 12 correctly in the last day or two, and she's pretty good about recognizing colors. You can always catch her singing parts of her favorite nursery rhymes and other songs (besides "Happy Birthday"). We checked out every children's book in the Denver library about going to the doctor in preparation for her 2-year check-up and flu shot tomorrow. I'll have to let you know if that strategy paid off. ;o)

One funny story: Emily has had a runny nose with her cold the last couple days and the other morning I made the mistake of telling her to sit still so I could get her boogers out. She thought "booger" was the most hilarious word ever and proceeded to repeat it and laugh hysterically about it for 10 min. as well as random times throughout the day since then. I guess it was bound to happen sometime! :o)

As much as she can frustrate and push us to the limit, Emily also brings much joy and pride to our lives. We love our little girl and wish her a Very Happy 2nd Birthday!

Bed battles

So it finally happened on Sunday. Emily figured out how to crawl out of her crib. It was quite by accident at first. She was throwing a tremendous fit about something. I had put her in her crib and shut the door just so I could take a deep breath. She was out within seconds and was so surprised she immediately forgot about whatever she was throwing a fit about. Our fears were confirmed when she went down for her nap and within 10 minutes had quietly crawled out, opened the door and snuck downstairs to see what was going on. At that point I just took the side rail off so her crib looked like a day bed, even though it's not designed to be. Emily was basking in her new found freedom. She never did nap that day. And just to add to the drama, she had not one, but two dirty diapers that she promptly removed and smeared into the carpet. Sigh...

On Monday I stripped down her room to the bare essentials and gated off the closet so she wouldn't have much of anything to play with or entertain herself. (On Sunday she also took all her shoes & pj's out of her dresser drawer and was sporting a new combination each time she emerged from her room.) Monday night was really rough, though. Emily fell out of bed twice and I was up with her a total of six times. She ended up sort of sleeping curled up on the floor halfway underneath her bed.

Needless to say, Tuesday wasn't the happiest of days for either of us. I hauled out the baby gate for the doorway and put Emily down for a nap shortly after lunch, but she didn't fall asleep again until Austin took her on a trip to Waterloo and she fell asleep in the car. At least that gave me a chance to get a nap in! On top of all this, both Emily & I have come down with chest colds. Thankfully, my friend Kathryn came over in the evening for moral support while Austin was gone. We finished taking Emily's crib apart, which left just a bare crib mattress on the floor. However, Emily seems to still prefer the floor and has not slept on the mattress since. Unfortunately, it usually takes 1 1/2-2 hours after I put her down to sleep before she actually falls asleep.

So after 5 days of battles and broken sleep we desperately need to get a real "big girl" bed. Now if I could just find the time and energy to go somewhere to get one...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Cows & Pumpkins

Since the weather is supposed to turn bitter tomorrow and all my plants will die, I decided today would be the best opportunity to snap some fall pictures of Emily with the front porch display. She's wearing her Halloween cow costume. She thinks the cow is fun (especially the "floppy ears" on the front cow face), but she definitely does not dig the hood. We'll have to see what kind of mood she's in and what the weather is like as to how much trick-or-treating we might attempt.

Marriage conference

Austin & I are officially registered to attend a Weekend to Remember marriage conference in Cedar Rapids next month. I have been excited about this opportunity for almost a year now. I volunteered to be the group coordinator at our church, so I have a code for a group discount. It can be used by anyone at any conference in the next 12 months. If you'd like to use it or know someone who would, please let me know and I'll hook you up!

Play dates

On Thursday Emily & I attend the first neighborhood play group. Two of my next door neighbors and another stay-at-home mom from town have decided to get together on Thursday mornings to chat and burn off kid energy. It was a lot of fun, and I'm looking forward to it a lot--especially with winter coming. Between the four of us there is a 3 1/2 year old girl, two 3-year-old boys, Emily and two 10-month-old babies (boy & girl who happened to be born on the same day!) with another baby due in January. I'll try to post a picture when we host the first time.

On Friday Emily & I visited our friends Heather & Wendell Hunt. I got to run some errands in Waterloo and then we enjoyed lunch together. They have a dog named Buster and Emily & Wendell thought it was fun playing in his kennel. I'm not sure Buster thinks it was quite as fun. :o)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Deace in the Afternoon

Austin was interviewed by Steve Deace on his "Deace in the Afternoon" show on 1040 WHO today. In case you missed it you can listen to the replay online or download the podcast by clicking here and looking for Austin's name. If it's not up yet it should be soon. :o)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Election articles

The campaign rolls on. Below are some links to articles recently published in local newspapers. I'm not sure how long they will be live so check them out soon!

Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier 10/17/08

Fayette County Union (West Union paper) 10/16/08

Oelwein Daily Register 10/17/08

Potty update

The war has only begun. We've had some encouraging steps forward and some disturbing new habits develop. Emily will usually go on her potty whenever you set her on it. She gets excited and announces when she has gone. However, she will not stay dressed in bed. It doesn't matter if I put a regular diaper, a Pull-Up or a cotton training panty on. They're guaranteed to come off in less than 10 minutes along with any pajamas. Sometimes she tries to put the pajamas back on in the dark. The top is usually inside-out or backwards and she gives up on the pants when she gets both legs stuck in one hole. I hope this is just a phase because it pretty much guarantees at least one load of bedding laundry per day. Today it was two with the first at 4:00am. Sigh...any suggestions welcome. :o)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The potty war...

After casually dabbling with some potty training for the last couple months I stepped up the intensity today. I just finished reading the book Toilet Training in Less Than a Day by Nathan Azrin and Richard Foxx. It is an intensive method developed in the early 70's and is taught at seminars today. I acquired a copy of the handouts from someone who attended the seminar and swears by it (trained 3 of her kids). Along with a copy of the book from and a cheap doll that wets, I figured for the cost of one month's worth of diapers I didn't have much to lose.

I must say I was pretty anxious about doing it because I didn't feel as prepared as I wanted to be, and I had had two of my worst "mommy days" in a row, so the starting circumstances weren't ideal. However, I dove right in after some intense prayer time this morning and this verse from Psalm 144:1 "Bless the Lord, who is my rock. He gives me strength for war and skill for battle."

Emily & I spent 3 hours in the bathroom this morning. I quickly discovered that she probably wouldn't pass the "instructional readiness test" mentioned in the book. In other words, she wasn't in the mood to follow my commands this morning. As a result, we didn't even come close to getting trained. However, there were some major moral victories. First of all, she did go in the potty more than she ever has before and even had her first BM. Second of all, at no point did I feel utterly frustrated or get upset or yell. After the last couple days that is huge. The phone started ringing off the hook and I was trying to get lunch put together, so it's my fault things really fell off at the end. I am willing to try again tomorrow, though. I am optimistic that even if it gets us one month closer to being fully trained it will have been worth it. This was only one battle in a longer war, and as the Bible verse says, God will give me strength and skill to endure and overcome! ;o)

New garage door

We finally got our new garage door installed--what a difference! I'm very excited to have a door that closes the first time every time, doesn't allow snow drifts in the garage during the winter, has a working overhead light, has a safety stop feature and actually looks nice! :o)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

No more "meeks"!

Another rather unexpected and unplanned perk of the weekend was that Emily was completely broken from her pacifier. She has always taken a pacifier, but for the last year or so it has been confined to her crib only (while sleeping). For some reason she called it "meeks" and we never corrected it. When I put her down on Friday night she was so exhausted she went right to sleep without a peep. It wasn't until 5:00am the next morning that I realized I hadn't even gotten her pacifier out of her bag. Luckily, she was almost equally exhausted every time I put her down the rest of the weekend. She cried for "meeks" the first two times, but for less than 10 minutes. Since then she only has casually asked about it, but as soon as I say, "You're a big girl and don't need it anymore," she drops it and is fine. Yay!! I had been dreading this task and it seemed way too easy. Now if only potty training tomorrow goes as well...;o)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Fun weekend in Des Moines

Emily & I headed down to Des Moines this past weekend for a fun time with Austin's family. The weather was absolutely gorgeous. I'm glad we got to enjoy the last warm days! The highlight of the weekend was going to a pumpkin farm on Saturday morning. It was crazy busy, but we enjoyed looking at the animals, a hay rack ride, the corn maze, looking for pumpkins and having a picnic lunch. A collage of pictures from our day is below. :o)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

You GOTTA check this out!

If you have any desire to laugh today PLEASE check out my sister's new blog at Uuhh...what?. Not only is she an incredibly talented writer, she is hilarious. She really is one of the funniest people I know. That's what I miss most about living far apart! I promise you won't be disappointed and will laugh even harder if you know her in person. If you need a dose of seriousness, you can find that, too, at her Small Town Saver blog where she is doing an October Bible challenge and has an amazing insight on a passage from the New Testament every day.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Ryken wedding

For lack of anything else interesting to post about lately, here are some pictures from Mike & Christy Ryken's wedding we attended on September 26, 2008. Austin was a groomsmen, and I just got to enjoy a fun time catching up with lots of mutual friends! Mike is probably one of Austin's closest friends. They have been meeting every Tuesday morning at Perkins at 6:00am since before Austin & I even started dating. I got to know Mike through FUEL at church while Austin & I were dating. We're excited that Mike & Christy will soon be moving to an acreage just SW of Denver!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

October Bible Challenge update

Okay, so I might have gotten a little too ambitious on the whole blogging thing when it comes to the Bible challenge. Although I have done my readings every day and have had quite a few personal insights, I just don't have the time to write about them on a regular basis. Nap time (the only "me" time of the day) doesn't necessarily equal a lot of leisure computer time lately, so I am extremely limited in what I can reasonably accomplish. Writing (especially profound thoughts) takes a lot of time and effort. I think that's why I did not enjoy writing papers in High School/College. (I guess I'm lazy!) I definitely have a renewed appreciation for people who write for a living. My nature is such that I can not do a half-hearted job, so under the current constraints we will have to settle for sporadic thoughts. :o)

With all that being said, I believe one of the biggest lessons I've learned so far is that spending time in the Word first thing in the morning does more for the attitude than anything. In the past, I've heard the comment a lot that "if I don't do my quiet time I know I'm going to have a bad day." The flip side assumes that if I do take time in the morning I'm going to have a great day! That has often been the case when I've done sporadic things in the past. However, we live in a broken world and having a regular quiet time does not equal a perfect day!

I've decided that having a regular devotional time in the morning gives you the clear option of what kind of attitude you're going to have for the day. For instance, on Friday at the end of the day when someone asked me how my day went I said, "Would you like the "half empty" version or the "half full" version?" I could have given a long answer explaining exactly how my day went from each viewpoint and you would have never guessed it was the same day! At certain points during the day I was definitely in the "half empty" camp and feeling a bit sorry for myself. (Have you ever enjoyed reveling in your own misery?!? ;o) However, by the end of the day I could see more good than bad. It was definitely all about attitude.

So back to my original thought--it is not about the specific circumstances of the day, it is all about attitude. And attitude is an option. Everyday. Multiple times a day. How's your attitude today?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Day 1 in the Psalms

I've decided to blog about my month-long journey through the Psalms. The purpose is not to brag or impress, but to hopefully inspire and bless and create some much-needed accountability. Heaven knows I need to work on this area of my spiritual life, so maybe having a specific plan with strong accountability will help me form a solid habit. I am using the track found here. I invite you to join me or find another track to use. As mentioned before, my sister has several suggestions on her blog here. I can't promise a blog post every day. I may have a skip day or just not have the time to write about it, but I am going to try hard and do my best. As a last note, I will be reading/referencing my new NLT Bible. While I grew up with and love the NIV, I'm trying something new to maybe gain a different perspective. :o)

Theme: Blessing
Readings: Psalm 67, 72, 84, 128

Two related things stuck out to me in the first two psalms. In Psalm 67 the psalmist is talking about how nations who fear and follow God will be richly blessed. The second part of Verse 4 says, " (referring to God) govern [the nations] with justice and direct the actions of the whole world." That is a comforting thought in these turbulent times. From nuclear threats to oil fears to collapsing financial markets and the downward spiral of traditional family values it is sometimes hard to remember (or even believe) that God is in control of everything. But He is, and it's nice to know someone holy and good is ultimately in charge!

To go along with that, Psalm 72 is a prayer for the king. While we are not ruled by a king in America, the second part of Verse 15 still applies: "May the people always pray for him and bless him all day long." Even if we don't always agree with them, it is important to pray for our leaders.

Psalm 84 is an encouragement for jump-starting your journey of growing closer to the Lord. Parts of it are the basis for the famous worship song Better is One Day. Verses 5-7 were specifically an encouragement to me. If you are rooted deeply in your faith and are "strong in the Lord" you will be able to find blessing and strength through even the toughest of times.

Psalm 128 talks about how an individual will be blessed when he/she fears the Lord. Verse 3 specifically mentions my role: "Your wife will be like a fruitful vine, flourishing within your home." As a stay-at-home mom and wife, that is a wonderful promise. I want to flourish in the role God has placed me in at this time and place, and it motivates me to cultivate a deeper relationship with Him.

Feel free to respond with your thoughts. I hope you can clearly see how God has blessed you in at least one way today!

New October Bible Challenge

Are you looking for a new challenge? Thanks to the awesome idea and resources posted by my sister on her blog, I am going to participate in her October Bible Challenge by spending "30 days in the Psalms". For more information I highly encourage you to check it out here. :o)