Saturday, January 31, 2009

2009 Goals Progress Report

The best motivation for accomplishing a goal is accountability, so I thought I'd post an update on the 2009 goals I made.
  1. Emily's potty-training: Needless to say, it has been quite an adventure in this department for the last month. After more than 2 weeks of intense efforts and multiple strategies resulting in limited success and lots of frustration and messes, I've decided that Emily is just a classic strong-willed child and is absolutely not going to do it until she decides she's going to do it and there's nothing I can do to change that. Therefore, I've taken a more casual approach, purchased large quantities of pull-ups and have resolved to stop fighting a losing battle and just wait her out for awhile. Some day she's going to surprise me!
  2. Moving Emily's room: This is really more of a March/April project. However, because of the whole light battle most of her stuff is in the new room already anyway. I know what I want to do with the new room, it's just a matter of getting it done. :o)
  3. Deep-cleaning one room: This is the goal that needs the most accountability. I'm happy to report that we really almost got two rooms clean! I did the upstairs bathroom and Austin did the downstairs bathroom. I still have a box of little-used stuff that I have to sort through and reorganize on the storage shelves in the downstairs bathroom, but there was a lot of progress made!
  4. Cutting the monthly grocery bill by 25%: I ended up spending 79% of my grocery budget this month. It included a few splurge items (I usually allow myself one/week) and some stock-up items that were on sale. I feel very good about using up some things in my inventory that have been around for awhile and creating some more breathing room in my freezer while not totally depleting all my supplies. It takes a lot more concentrated effort, but it's doable!
  5. *Added Goal* Praying over Emily on a nightly basis: This is one of those obvious things I should be doing as a Christian parent, but it wasn't until I started reading Dr. Dobson's The New Strong-Willed Child book that I realized the true importance and gained the real motivation to actually do it. Every night I check on Emily before going to bed myself. Part of it is a need to cover her up and check the diaper/pajama situation (we sometimes have a removal problem), but I also take the time to physically lay my hands on her while she sleeps and pray for both of us. I believe it has truly altered my attitude towards her in sometimes difficult and frustrating situations. I wish I had started doing it sooner.

I hope you are making progress on your own personal goals! Check back at the end of February for more progress on mine. :o)

Friday, January 30, 2009

27 months old

Emily is 27 months old today! She loves to sing songs--particularly "ABC's", "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" and "Jesus Loves Me". It's also funny listening to her try to spit out the words to "I am a Promise." She got a book/CD combo from Great-Grandma Boote for Christmas and tries to sing along. She also definitely knows her colors, although she gets black/brown mixed up once in awhile.

Since Emily seems to have a knack for memorizing books, we've been working on memorizing a Bible verse. Our church is currently studying the "Jesus Creed" from Mark 12:29-31, so that's what we have been practicing. Emily had it down in a week or two (and I have lots of witnesses!), but it's going to take another week or two to catch it on video. I tried bribing her with Gummy Bears this afternoon, but only got part of it. I used up all my bribery power for the picture. ;o)

Besides the light shenanigans mentioned in the previous post Emily has also rediscovered Cheney's water dish. The other day I caught her with all her play dishes set up around it on the floor and dipping out "drinks" in the cups. I think she even took a sip. :op So I moved Cheney's water dish up onto the counter. That is no match for a determined toddler with a set of mini folding chairs. She just moved the party up to a higher level. I made her clean up all the spilled water twice and (horrors!) made her keep wearing the shirt she had gotten wet. I don't have another place to put the dish, so I've just been filling it 1/4 full at a time when she's probably not going to be around for awhile and she hasn't touched it in a couple days. Let's hope she learned her lesson with that one!

Besides getting into things, some of Emily's other current favorite activities include making "brest-beck" (breakfast) with her play kitchen/food, sorting pieces of the Cootie game, listening to Curious George CD's, watching Dr. Suess or VeggieTales "bideos" (videos) while Mommy naps and putting on ChapStick. Yes, she is a girl after her parents' hearts and she has it down! :o)

The January video player is posted below, but may have a few more additions depending on my luck with the Bible verse. The Winkflash pictures should be up shortly.

Light Shenanigans

I posted recently about Emily's new found fascination for light switches. Since that time a battle has ensued over turning on the overhead light in her room at night to facilitate extended play time. After removing the bins and wastebasket she quickly figured out that a stack of books works nicely. Therefore, we had to be very selective about which books, if any, got left in her room at night (definitely no thick treasuries). In recent days we have also had to remove a box of diapers, a plastic wipes container, a wrapped sleeve of diapers and even an upside-down empty plastic peanut butter jar she had hiding in the closet. Needless to say, Emily's room is now completely barren except for the bed, an empty changing table and an empty book shelf with only a small space heater. I'm sure that was the next (and only remaining) object to try.

Then this morning a light clicked on in my head (pun fully intended). Duh--the light is on the ceiling fan in Emily's room and can be controlled by the pull chain rather than the light switch, which would end the battle once and for all. The saddest part about this realization is that someone mentioned this fact a week ago and it didn't register until this morning. Oh well. Emily may have been one step ahead the whole time, but we eventually triumphed in the end! Now that this has been settled, I'm curious about your opinion on restoring objects in Emily's room. Please vote in our current poll on the left!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Minivan Milestone

While we were in Hull our 1999 Oldsmobile Silhouette minivan turned over 100,000 miles. We have owned it for 1 1/2 years now and both of us agree it's the only way to travel with kids!

Happy 80th Birthday Great-Grandma Boote!

Emily & I spent a long weekend in Hull to celebrate my Grandma Boote's 80th birthday. There was a family dinner/party on Saturday night and we all attended church together on Sunday morning. Emily did great. She was an awesome traveler and entertainer. Plus she was quiet and almost angelic during church (probably b/c she was so tired from the night before). All in all it was a fun and relaxing weekend with lots of family time!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Light switches

Much to her daddy's dismay, Emily has discovered a fun new thing--light switches! She likes to experiment with the ones she can reach by turning them on and off and on and off. If she can't reach one, she tries to find a way to get to it. It didn't take long for her to figure out that an upside-down bin from her bin shelf makes the perfect step stool for her bedroom light at bedtime tonight. So does an emptied, upside-down wastebasket or laundry basket. Therefore, the bin shelf and other items have been removed from her room for the second time in the last week. Here are some other picture examples...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Ice Cream Cones

So what do you do during the coldest week of the year? Eat lots of ice cream cones! This has been Emily's favorite treat lately. I think it started when I recently found half a box of cones in the back of the cupboard from last summer. She has definitely improved her technique since then! She actually really doesn't like the cone itself and will even spit it out if she accidentally takes a bite. Truthfully, I don't really care for cake cones either. Next time we'll definitely be getting sugar cones even though they are messier and can't be set down. So Emily just licks and licks until she gets all the ice cream her tongue can reach. :o)

Winter Blues

After another 7" of fresh, fluffy snow the back deck is officially deeper than at any point last year. The mailboxes at the curb are completely covered again, and we haven't seen the the actual curb since the first snowflakes fell. Today's forecasted High is -11 F and the current windchill is -44 F. Have we hit bottom yet? Can we start saying that there is more winter behind us than in front of us? Is there any hope of a "January thaw"? If it weren't for a brilliant south sun shining into our kitchen during lunch most days, I think I'd be suffering more "seasonal depression". I think I'm also a little jealous that Austin left this morning for a 2 1/2 day business trip to Orlando, FL. :op On the positive side, the hours of daylight are getting longer. Our household (unlike almost every other one I know of) has been blessed with relatively good health this season. We have each had only one minor head cold (knock on wood) and nothing else. Now if only we could get Emily potty-trained... ;o)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

1st Blogoversary

Today marks our 1st "Blogoversary". I heard recently that you're supposed to celebrate your 100th post. That happened way last summer sometime, so we'll celebrate one year of blogging instead! :o) It has been a blast, and 228 posts later I am obviously addicted. I hope you have had as much fun reading it as I have writing it! It is a cheap (free!) hobby that allows me to vent, seek advice and just plain brag from the comfort of my own computer chair. :o) I also enjoy reading other blogs. I'm up to 25 in my RSS feed list that I follow on a regular basis. If you know of any other great ones feel free to pass them on and I'll check them out. I love getting comments and suggestions. Thanks for your loyalty and support!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Doggie Diet

I finally made it to the vet this past week for Cheney's annual exam and shots. He is in relatively good health and doesn't look overweight, but the vet said he'd really like to see Cheney lose up to 10 lbs. to prevent arthritis problems as he continues to grow older (He's 85 lbs. now). So Cheney is now the only household member to officially be on a diet for the new year. It will help now that Austin has started walking him 4 days a week again. That kind of went by the wayside during the campaign and the first part of the winter. Oh yeah--Emily only went through parts of 5 Dum-Dum suckers during the 30 min. we were actually at the vet office.

Also, just a quick note that after taking a week off to regroup I have begun another round of intense potty training with a slightly different strategy. The last day and a half have been quite the adventure. Although we haven't made much progress in the actually pottying department, I have definitely established the upper hand as to who is the boss about that and other things. That is a victory in and of itself. Hopefully, I'll have a positive update at the end of the month!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The untold story...

This morning Austin was out scooping snow (again!) and I had to quick run to the bathroom. I heard a commotion and found this scene when I returned. Any ideas what happened here? Note: When I first came in the tricycle was on its side and Emily was laying on the floor bawling with dirt smeared all over the front of her pajamas. I'm thinking it has something to do with the fact that there was a small weakness (opening) in my window shrink-wrap job on the CD storage shelf and Emily was disgusted I had moved the plant in front of it to block her out. The plant is repotted and the hole is now closed up with packing tape. Seriously. Do we have a determined toddler or what?!?

Monday, January 5, 2009

And the new baby is...

A BOY! We are both really excited (especially Austin). Everything looks normal and great. Here is one of the amazing pictures from the ultrasound. Also, check out the video below. It is incredible to see such a tiny (.89 lbs), perfect thing from the face down to the little heart valves opening and closing. He is (and all babies are) truly a miracle and gift from God!

Note: The final poll result was an even split with 16 votes for Boy and 16 votes for Girl. However, I found out people could vote more than once. Thank you to everyone who participated and voted!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Get your votes in!

Only a couple more days left to vote on whether you think we're going to have a boy or a girl. Our ultrasound is scheduled for 4:30pm on Monday. You'll have to check back soon afterwards for the official results. Right now "boy" is slightly ahead of "girl" but it's close. For the record, I haven't voted. I don't have real strong feelings either way (I didn't with Emily). But I may be leaning slightly towards "boy". We'll soon see! :o)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Office - Take 3

Since I'm on a roll with blog posts, I thought I'd throw in one that's a little past due. In mid-December Austin remodeled our office for the third time since we moved in. He added a finished wood shelf to the ledge, more shelving above the desk area, a fabric-covered bulletin board and rebuilt the desk pedestal to provide room for two computer workstations instead of just one. He also put the filing cabinets on rollers in the closet and redid all the closet shelves. Below are pictures of Emily "helping" take apart the old desk and putting together the new one as well as a semi-finished picture of the new office. There is still more work to be done and shelves to fill. ;o)

2009 Goals

The term "New Year's Resolution" has negative connotations, and I've never really liked it. However, I find myself setting new "goals" at the beginning of each year anyway. Here are some of my/our bigger goals/tasks for 2009:
  1. Get Emily potty-trained. This is the number one goal this month, and we've already started (see "P-day" posts).

  2. Move Emily to the guest room by Easter to make room for the new baby in the nursery. This will require repainting and major sorting/moving of closet & dresser contents.
  3. Deep-clean one room of the house per month. This was Austin's idea and is a good one, but it's going to take a team effort. We're talking emptying closets/cupboards/drawers and sorting/cleaning from the inside out. I'm a little overwhelmed right now with everything I want to and should get done in this area, so hopefully breaking it down and having some help and accountability will make it more likely to happen and less daunting of a task.
  4. Cut the monthly grocery bill by 25%. I experimented with this in September with some success. With food prices seeming to level off for now I want to try to do this on a more consistent basis with a more reasonable target goal.

There are other small things, and more things that will come up, but as the new year begins it's always nice think about starting things fresh! What are some of your major goals in 2009?

Happy New Year!

Goodbye to a crazy 2008 and hello to a brand new 2009! I thought I'd take this opportunity of new beginnings to try out a new blog color scheme. I welcome any comments or critiques. (Seriously, if you don't like it or find it hard to read let me know.)

Despite a slightly later night Emily was up bright and early. We hopefully started a new family tradition of eating pancakes for breakfast in our pajamas and then enjoying a day of football. We actually wrestled Emily's snow gear on to go out with the sled for the first time. All previous attempts had ended with her violently shoving her snow pants back into the closet and me giving up and taking a nap instead. Of course, she liked it once she got outside. We walked up & down the street (since our street is still almost completely snow/ice covered) and even took a few trips down a small hill by the golf course (see January video player).