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!

Raking leaves

We finally got most of our leaves raked yesterday. There are still some leaves frozen to the deck and street after all the rain/moisture and some of the landscaping is going to have to wait until spring. Austin was out in the sub-freezing temperatures for 6 hours and it took at least five pick-up loads to the brush dump. I helped off and on as I could and Emily joined us for awhile, too. I think Emily definitely had the most fun. She was actually very cooperative about wearing a hat and mittens.

Friday, November 7, 2008

First snow

We woke up this morning to the first dusting of snow. Austin & I were silently cursing it because 2/3 of our leaves are still on the ground, and we had hoped to get them cleaned up this weekend. Emily, however, had a different reaction. She ran to the window and said, "Get out the sled? Snowman?" Are you kidding me?!? She even went as far as opening the front coat closet and hauling out her winter coat to put on over her pajamas. Unfortunately, that's as far as I had gotten in the winter snow gear department. I didn't have a hat, mittens, snow pants or boots for her. So no going out in the snow for us! Thankfully, it melted by noon, but it was yucky and snowy all day and will be all day tomorrow, too. I did make it to Target to quickly purchase all the missing snow gear items this afternoon, but hopefully it will be awhile before we'll actually need to use them! :o)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Our big announcement

That's right--we're expecting again! I'm currently 12 1/2 weeks along and due May 18. It has been a relatively good first trimester despite all the stress of the campaign, potty-training, etc. We announced it to our families by having Emily open up this shirt as her last birthday present. Unfortunately, it has taken 4 days to wrestle the shirt on her and all morning to try and get a halfway decent picture. I hope that is not an indication of things to come! :o)

We had our first OB appointment and an ultrasound last Thursday and everything looks great. Below is the best picture of our growing miracle. Please keep us in your prayers as we add this to the list of major adjustments in our family life!

Emily's Birthday Party

We had a fun birthday party for Emily on Sunday afternoon with lots of family. It was a Curious George theme with an adorable monkey cake made by Aunt Courtney. Emily received clothes, books, neat wooden puzzles, a new play kitchen set and lots of fake food. Below is a slide show with the highlights. Thanks to everyone for making it a special day!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Another chapter closes

Well, the results are in. It looks like Austin lost his house race by approx. 1500 votes (56%-44%). While the outcome is a bit disappointing, both Austin & I are completely at peace. We both are proud of the campaign that was run and have no regrets. As Austin says, "I feel like we did everything we could and left it all out on the field."

A HUGE thank you to everyone who contributed in any way. From monetary donations to hundreds of volunteer hours, your love and support was felt the whole way. We couldn't have done it without you!

We are both just glad to have this chapter in our life finished and look forward to whatever God has in store for us in the future. Please keep us in your prayers as we make a big adjustment to a "new normal".