Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Growing family

Just a quick note to say that we are excited to welcome a new Lorenzen cousin in August (Traci & Don are having a boy!) and a new Boote cousin in September (Congratulations Courtney & Adam!).

2009 Goals Progress Report

It's hard to believe it's already the end of March! That means it's time for another Goals Progress Report:

  1. Potty-training Emily: Still in a holding pattern with this one. She asks to sit on the potty a couple times a week but never actually goes. She also has the pages of her "Big Sister" book memorized that talk about big sisters wearing panties because they are too big for diapers, but there doesn't seem to be any application of the concept--yet.

  2. Moving Emily before Easter: This was the big accomplishment this month. I posted earlier with pictures of the redecorating. The move itself went off without a hitch. Emily never even blinked. She loves the butterflies and flowers. I'm still working on some wall decorations. I also hope to eventually move more books onto the exposed bookshelves. For now, her bin shelf is in the closet. I filled the bins with some clothing items and different toys. We have locks for the bi-fold doors, so everything can be easily be shut off at night when she is supposed to go to sleep. As I mentioned yesterday, I've been working on a quiet playtime in the afternoons in lieu of a nap. So far Emily has done great entertaining herself for about an hour with the toys in her closet and a CD of kids music. At the end of the day she has to help clean up and sort the toys back into their proper bins in the closet. Then she gets a sticker to put on the poster hanging on her door (Thanks Aunt Brandi & Grandpa Lorenzen!). That has also worked very well. She still tends to get out of bed to grab the books that are on the exposed bookshelf, or sometimes even sneaks into the bathroom to dig hair accessories out of the drawers, but she scampers back up on her bed as soon as you come check on her and eventually goes to sleep without a whole lot of fuss.

  3. Deep-cleaning one room: I consider Emily's room the accomplishment for this goal this month, although I think I still need to vacuum/dust the mini-blinds and window sills. However, Austin took it upon himself to do most of the kitchen, too. One night he completely cleaned out the fridge--including the vent panels on the bottom. Another Saturday I left to run some errands in the afternoon and came home to find him removing everything from the kitchen cabinets/drawers and wiping everything down inside & out before reorganizing and putting things back. Wow--do I have an awesome husband or what!?! In addition, when my mom was here to paint it was such a nice day on Saturday she ended up brushing the screens and washing all the windows in our kitchen & breezeway. I'm lucky to have such awesome help!

  4. Cutting grocery budget by 25%: I completely blew this one in March. As stated last month, I was running really low on inventory. My other excuses are that we were home almost the entire month (therefore eating all our own food) and I took not one, but two major shopping trips to Sam's Club, which can do a LOT of damage in a hurry! Let's just say I should be stocked up on baking supplies for quite some time. ;o) I went through a baking spree/binge about a month ago. After doing some price comparison I discovered how much cheaper it is to buy basic baking staples in bulk. Now that I'm stocked up I feel another baking binge coming on. This morning I made 3 dozen homemade cinnamon rolls for the freezer to be baked later and 7 dozen monster cookies. I think it's my way of nesting. :o)

  5. Praying nightly over Emily: I am still doing this. It is so precious to tip-toe in her room at night and see her peacefully sleeping. You can't help but forgive her no matter what happened during the day. It is a good, daily reminder of the kind of unconditional love God has for us all!

  6. *NEW GOAL* Catch up on photo albums/"scrapbooking": I know, I know--what mother doesn't have this totally unreasonable goal?!? You're lucky if you get through age two of your firstborn, the pictures printed for your second and pictures taken of your third. All the sudden your "babies" are graduating from high school and you start panicking about what you're going to display at their open house. Well, here's my game plan: I upload all our pictures to Winkflash.com. (Note: you can view them with a user name/password, which I will gladly provide if you don't already have it--just ask!) I only order/print pictures to put in frames or to send to people, which rarely happens. Instead, I have created digital photo albums through the web site and have had them printed in hardcover, bound books. Then I add stickers and handwritten captions as needed for embellishment and explanation. I call it "digital scrapbooking." I tried traditional scrapbooking of my own baby pictures when I was in junior high, but I'm not as artistic as I would like to be, and it would take up to an hour for a single page. I only made it to age 2. Now it takes me a total of about 3-4 hours to put together a 100-page book online and another couple hours to add stickers/captions. I can usually get 3-5 months worth of photos in a book. So far I have Emily's picture books completely done through 14 months (3 books). I have the books printed and stickers purchased through 22 months (2 more books). I have another book almost put together online through 25 months (November 2008). There are enough uploaded photos on Winkflash to create at least one more book, although the picture volume has slowed significantly since Christmas. I am already in the habit of uploading, sorting & organizing all our photos on the computer on a regular basis because of the blog. I always upload them to Winkflash at the end of the month, if not periodically during the month. Now that I'm almost caught up with putting together books, I've decided to try and add to the current online photo album at the end of each month, too. I only print/purchase the books when Winkflash runs a flat-rate book sale (saves 60%). You usually only get a window of about a week, so if I have books waiting to be printed I don't have to go crazy trying to get one put together before the deadline. I missed two opportunities last year because of that. One of the other nice things about putting together these books online is that once kid #2 comes along, it's so easy to use the same pictures in separate albums. You don't have to worry about ordering doubles/reprints and sorting which pictures go to which kids. So, after all that rambling explanation, my goal is to be as caught up with Emily's pictures as I can be by the time the baby comes and going forward, adding photos to online albums on a monthly basis so I'm ready to order at any time. Whew! (P.S. If you'd ever like to look at my photo albums to see what I'm talking about please let me know!)
Well, I think that's enough to work on for now. Stay tuned for more exciting updates! ;o)

Monday, March 30, 2009

29 months old

Instead of opting for a dressed-up/put-together photo this month I thought we'd go for a straight-from-the-bathtub/ready-for-bed picture in Emily's favorite outfit--jammies. Notice how crazy curly her hair is after washing (this picture really doesn't do it justice)! Emily can often be found wearing at least part of a pajama outfit when Austin comes home from work. It's not that I don't dress my child (although there have been days where we've both spent almost the entire, if not the entire, day in our pajamas). Emily just loves her pajamas. If you leave any piece of them anywhere within reach, she'll find them and change into them herself--usually at nap/quiet time. The other day she wore her "monkey jammies" top (which is button-up) backwards for the entire afternoon & evening. :o)

Speaking of nap times, after enjoying a month of returned afternoon naps, I've decided to purposely mess with them again. Emily's nap times kept creeping later and later (like not until 3:30pm or 4:00pm), which forced me to wake her up before she was ready, which made her crankier than if she hadn't napped at all. Plus then she would bang around her room until 10:00-11:00pm, and we'd have to constantly fight her to stay in bed. Instead, I've been working hard at establishing a quiet "play hour" in her room from 1:00--2:00pm where she can look at books and play with toys while I take a desperately needed nap. ;o) So far it has been working well. (See tomorrow's post for more details.)

One very important skill Emily acquired this month was the understanding/capability of blowing out through her nose into a Kleenex. You take such a small thing for granted until you have to deal with an infant or toddler with snot continually running out of their nose and you just want them to blow it out good for once! Unfortunately, the reason Emily learned it this month is because she had a runny nose for quite a bit of the time. After generously sharing a cold with me she skipped a week and then shared another bugger of a cold with Austin. I also had to compromise with the whole Kleenex battle. I have been "helping" her wipe her nose most of the time recently, but I decided there is a distinct difference between me initiating the blow/wipe because of a runny nose from a cold and her insisting on a wipe if she sheds a tear after getting upset about something.

Another skill we've just started working on is drinking out of a cup without any kind of sippy lid. I know this is long overdue, but it's just so much easier (and safer and neater) to stick a lid on everything, especially when the drink is not being consumed at the table. Emily pretty much has it down but still requires a bib when practicing to catch a few stray drips. We're also working on the difference between "poking," "stabbing" and "scooping" with a fork and the frustration the follows when using the least effective method for a particular food. There has been a bit of digression in that area lately that needs to be corrected.

In general, though, Emily is a very good eater. We are both excited to see the return of strawberry season. Emily would eat a pound of strawberries a day if I let her! One funny discovery this month has been that for however much Emily loves having an ice cream cone, she still doesn't particularly care for the actual cone itself. She's also a bit picky about the flavor of ice cream. Up until recently she had only ever really had vanilla. On St. Patrick's Day I broke out a box of mint chocolate chip. She was all excited for "green" ice cream, but took one tiny lick and declared, "I don't like this!" So Mommy got a double-dip and Emily's cone was refilled with "white" (i.e. vanilla) ice cream. A week later I gave her some S'more Please (the feature flavor of the month from Blue Bunny). She didn't seem to mind the graham-flavored ice cream too much, but she didn't like the chocolate flakes/chunks at all--even after I told her they were "M&M's", which she usually tries to pick out of cookies first. She just licked around the solid pieces and said, "Mommy'll eat it." Yes, she will! :o) I'm curious to try plain chocolate or strawberry sherbet or something without any chunks (i.e. good stuff). Or maybe she'll just be happy with plain old Fastco vanilla!

Lastly, I just noticed that Emily's 2-year molars are finally popping through on the top. There's no sign of them on the bottom yet. I don't know when they're "normally" supposed to come in, but I've been wondering when they'd show up since the rest of her teeth were pretty much in "on time."

I apologize for the shortage of videos again this month. The Winkflash pictures should be up shortly.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Living in the Present

I am an "anticipator". For me, whether attending or hosting a play date, dinner party or out-of-town trip, 80% of the joy and pleasure comes from the planning and anticipation of the event rather than the event itself. As such, I am always looking forward to "the next thing"--something scheduled on the calendar; a developmental milestone; the next stage of life. While this practice helps me be more organized and prepared as much as possible, it often gets in the way of my ability to "live in the present". Sometimes I consciously have to stop and remind myself to enjoy whatever I happen to be doing in that moment--often something with Emily--because I will never have that moment again, and all to soon, I will be longing for it to come back. Or worse, wishing I could do it over. I was reminded of this again when a passage out of What Every Mom Needs by Elisa Morgan & Carol Kuykendall really struck me yesterday:
"We tend to keep waiting for life to get better when, really, it just gets
different. If the grass looks greener on the other side of your fence,
it may be because you're not investing your time and energy in your own
grass. Live in the present."

I feel this is especially true for this season of life. The daily grind can so easily cloud the rainbow in the bigger picture. There are definitely moments, days and even weeks where I can't wait to just get through it--whatever "it" is. But the old adage, "This too shall pass..." applies to both the good and the bad, so as my sister-in-law, Brandi, says, "Endure it or enjoy it," and always look for the rainbows!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Emily's New Room

The main reason my mom and sister came to visit this weekend was to paint Emily's new room. My sister is an amazing artist/designer, so she came up with a bunch of fun ideas and we just modified one a bit. We definitely went for fun and bright colors! Here's the painting progression...(can you imagine Austin's reaction?!?)

I bought the matching flower/butterfly wall decals to go with the bedding set. Courtney added her artistic touch...

I sewed a valance for the windows. You can't see it very well in this picture unless you click to zoom in, but there are white butterflies on the white fabric...

Bed put together...

Emily trying it out!

I put Emily down for a nap for the first time today in her new room. As I should have expected, it took her less than 5 minutes alone in bed to discover that the butterflies and flowers were actually stickers that could easily be peeled off the wall. She had three of them off by the time I reached her. Although I'm sure she'll test me again, I'm pretty sure she got the message of how I feel about that activity! ;o)

I figure moving into a new room is a good time to set some new ground rules and routines. Staying in bed will be one of them. I hope it will help that the bed is up against the wall (for now) with a side rail and is quite a bit higher off the ground now that it is on a bed frame with a bed skirt. We'll see.

I also have more finishing touches to put on the room, including hanging things on the wall. I hope to have a video tour posted soon with the finished product. Then it's on to reorganizing the nursery again. Only 8 weeks to go!

Fun with Grandmas

After asking almost every day for the last couple weeks if we can go to "Grandma's House," Emily was lucky enough to have both grandmas (and Aunt Courtney) come visit us! Grandma Lorenzen came Wednesday night and stayed until Thursday afternoon. I think they played with every single one of Emily's toys! We also met Austin for lunch and picked out material for curtains in Emily's new room.

Grandma Boote and Aunt Courtney arrived on Friday morning and stayed through Sunday afternoon. Although the main objective was painting Emily's new room (see next post), there was lots of time to read books and play outside. Check out the videos of Emily learning to pedal her tricycle and chasing big bubbles. Emily also sported cute pigtails courtesy of Aunt Courtney. :o)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

"I Want!"

Although Emily still gets out of bed and takes a long time to go to sleep, we have discovered we can avoid the crying/wailing for the most part by leaving her door open a crack. This is in stark contrast to her earlier preferences when she would get out of bed to slam the door closed. Whatever works.

Anyway, this week ushered in a whole new phase. Previously, Emily would constantly ask for things throughout the day in a semi-innocent questioning way such as, "Want to watch George on T.V.?" As of Sunday morning her whole tone changed when she discovered the word "I". Suddenly everything was, "I want to watch George!" in a demanding tone of voice. Since that approach obviously didn't get her anywhere she has now modified it to, "'I want to watch George,' said Mommy!" Now I certainly did not say any such thing--especially in that tone of voice--but it may be true that I was just wishing I could set her down in front of Curious George to get some free time. Of course, that thought is now out of the question. So she's still not getting anywhere with it, but she's still trying. It's almost amusing to see what tactic she'll try next. :o)

The Kleenex Battle

Yesterday Emily & I engaged in another "battle of the wills" over none other than--Kleenexes. As I just posted, she has decided she doesn't like the feeling of a tear-stained, snot-streaked face. Now whenever she even slightly begins any kind of protest (whether tears have been evoked or not) her first reaction is, "Need a Kleenex". Because this has become quite a frequent occurrence, I decided that she was a big girl and was perfectly capable of wiping her own face and nose (and she is b/c I've seen her do it). However, Emily vehemently disagrees. She insists, "Mommy'll do it" and refuses to hold the Kleenex--especially if it is at all slightly used. She even goes as far as to reach out her neck and try and wipe her face on the Kleenex in my outstretched hand offering it to her. Well, I'm not going to do that. So, although I'll show her how and gently guide her hand (which she doesn't like either), I'm not going to wipe it for her. That makes her cry more. Which makes her need a Kleenex all the more. A 20-minute episode of this is why we didn't get to stay outside very long yesterday. Of course, after moving it inside the circus act just intensified because then I had to deal with a dog who goes ga-ga over Kleenexes (especially used ones) and a child who was violently throwing them on the floor as part of the rejection process. Anyway, the battle isn't over, but I definitely have the upper hand. It's a pretty easy one to win if you don't mind a few tears and a messy looking face. :o)

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Kleenex Box

This was too amusing to wait until the end of the month to share. Emily's latest, most faithful bed companion is now none other than--a Kleenex box. As briefly mentioned in a previous post, Emily has developed a going-to-bed routine that involves 10-30 min. of loud wailing and protesting, excuses, purposely making herself slide out of bed onto a heap on the floor and occasionally violently hurling herself at the bedroom door while I stand guard outside to make sure she at least stays in her room, and usually her bed, too. Since we've taken away the "Need a drink!" excuse by leaving a water bottle in her room and "Have to go potty!" only works once, her new go-to excuse is "Need a Kleenex". She has apparently decided that she doesn't like the feeling of a tear-stained, snot-streaked face that inevitably accompanies her protest routine. Thus enters the Kleenex box. She actually started hauling it off the top of her changing table on her own. Now she carries it around and hugs it tight just like a stuffed animal during her protesting and makes sure it's tucked in close when she finally falls asleep. As you would probably guess, the box itself is not made to withstand this kind of "love" and has seen better days. In fact, it is currently almost completely reinforced with packing tape. I don't want to waste the half-full box, and I don't want her to ruin another one, so we're just going to call it a phase and hope that "this too shall pass..." :o)

Pregnancy Pillow

Last night marked the return of my Snoogle (not to be confused with Snuggie) pregnancy pillow--or as Austin not-so-fondly refers to it, "the big white turd". I'll be the first to admit that it's pretty bulky and awkward for use in a shared queen-size bed, but it sure is comfortable! Plus, I'm getting to the stage now where I really need multiple pillows, and although it's still quite an undertaking, turning over and readjusting one pillow is easier than many. :o)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Celebrate Plate

When I was growing up we had a fancy red plate with the words "You Are Special" written around the edges that was prominently displayed on the hutch. Whenever anyone had a special personal accomplishment (birthday, award won, recital, etc.) they got to use the "red plate" at mealtime. I wanted to carry on this tradition in my own family and received this "Celebrate" plate for Christmas a couple years ago. Unfortunately, it got stashed away and was only recently rediscovered during my musical closet escapades.

Tonight was the plate's official debut with Austin being the first to use it. He has officially been promoted to Director of Account Management at Short's Travel Management. He is now responsible for managing all existing corporate and sports client relationships and the 2-3 account managers who will be underneath him. He will also continue to be involved in winning new outside sales. It has been a stressful last couple months to get to this point, but I think he's excited to implement some new ideas and processes. Congratulations, Austin!

P.S. For those of you who know Austin well, you'll be happy to note that the first meal served on the Celebrate plate was one of his favorites--frozen burritos. ;o)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Thief in the Night

One not-so-fun habit Emily has gotten into lately is waking up in the middle of the night--often because she has fallen out of bed (which is occurring much more frequently these days for some reason). She usually pretty much goes right back to sleep if I get up and help her back in and pull up the covers. The other night, though, we had to go through the whole 20 minute rage/going-to-bed routine at 5:00am. Not cool.

Anyway, Austin didn't get home until after midnight from his business trip last night, so he partially unpacked on the bed in the guest room. Around 4:00am we both woke up to the sound of a door slowly and quietly opening. Then we heard a few footsteps, a long period of silence, a few footsteps and a door slowly and quietly closing. We were both curious what she had been up to but too tired to get up and check. This morning Austin discovered his cell phone missing, which he had left on the bed next to his suitcase. Sure enough, it was tucked under Emily's arm along with Mr. Bear. It was safe from her meddling because a) the battery was dead and b) it has a password lock on the touchscreen, but we're going to have to keep a closer eye and ear on our little mischievous elf--especially since she has discovered our basket of spare keys!

Share and share alike (not really)

Emily has so graciously shared a cold with me over the past few days. For her it was merely a bump in the road over the weekend, and she's pretty much past it. For me it has slowly ramped up to a full-fledged smack in the face (and ears and throat and chest, etc.). Thankfully, I got all my necessary errands run at the beginning of the week and it's only social activities that will have to be canceled or skipped. :o( Austin has been gone enough lately that he has stayed away from it so far, but he has been working/traveling so much that he is worn down and vulnerable, too.

In addition to sharing a cold, neither Emily nor I have really adjusted to the time change at all. We have pretty much just run the same schedule as normal only an hour later. My own sleep schedule has been chaotic if non-existent lately. Thankfully, Emily has been taking longer, solid naps in the afternoon that have allowed me to catch up here and there.

Monday, March 9, 2009

30 weeks pregnant

This is my 30 weeks picture. Only 2 1/2 more months to go! Trust me, I feel a LOT bigger than I look in this picture. I think it's the sweatshirt. ;o) I'm still feeling pretty good, but sleeping is starting to get a bit trickier. I'm still not ready for the baby to come yet, though.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Catching up with long-time friends

I had a wonderful time visiting with my two best friends and roommates from college today. They came up for lunch and part of the afternoon. We don't get a chance to talk and catch up nearly often enough, so it was a lot of fun! :o)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Loving the Library

We've really been enjoying the library in Denver lately. Emily & I have attended "Toddler Time" a couple times now. Unfortunately, it's at the same time as the Mom's Morning Out program at our church on Friday mornings, but we can catch it once in a while when there is no MMO. Toddler Time is a 30 min. program geared for ages 1-3 that is a shorter, more active version of story hour. There are about 8-10 kids that attend. It's a great way to introduce and practice social skills that I can't possibly teach at home such as following some else's instructions, participating in structured group activities, walking in a line, etc. as well as using/playing with a variety of objects and materials. Plus I get a chance to meet some other moms from Denver! There are three of us due to have babies within 3 months of each other. Needless to say, we didn't have to squat down to pretend to waddle like a duck this week. ;o)

Today the library put on a program to celebrate Dr. Suess' birthday, so we decided to check it out as family. Here is our morning in pictures:

Coloring a Cat in the Hat hat and other pictures

Emily modeling her hat at home

Floor puzzles

Not sure what to think of the Cat in the Hat

Decked out in full rain gear (can you tell she loves her new umbrella?!?)

They were showing the movie Horton Hears a Who and had other older/messier crafts in another room, but we had fun doing our own thing. Since it was such a rainy, dreary day we went home and all caught up on some much needed rest after lunch. Yay for relaxing weekends!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Gorgeous afternoon

Emily & I enjoyed a gorgeous afternoon outside today. It hit 68 degrees in Waterloo! Emily loved playing in her sandbox again, twirling around with her new umbrella and trying out the new basketball hoop she got from G&G Lorenzen for Christmas. I cleaned up the backyard and then just sat in a lawn chair soaking up the sun--all without having to wear a coat. I also cracked a few windows open to air out the house. Yay for the promise of spring!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The man with the yellow hat...

As a tribute to "Da-man-wif-yellow-hat" from Curious George Emily & I made cowboy hat and boot cut-out cookies with yellow frosting and leftover Valentine's sprinkles today. Can you tell she enjoyed eating them (click on picture to zoom in)?!? ;o)

New toy