Friday, July 31, 2009

Waverly House Renovation Day 1

We officially closed on our new house in Waverly this morning. Austin had to go back to work, but I headed there after a few quick errands. Emily was with a friend for the morning. The first order of business was to take a video tour. You can watch it below in two parts. Emily was dropped off, the previous owner stopped by (a very nice, but chatty man who is 85 years old and having a hard time letting go of the house), and my dear friend Angie arrived. Then we unloaded my van full of stuff. We made a second trip hauling stuff from Denver to Waverly before going back to Denver for supper. After putting the kids to bed I joined Austin in Waverly to at least get some initial cleaning done. He began the tedious task of scraping the popcorn ceilings. Thanks to some late-night help from our friend Rod the kitchen got done.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Rest time

I have been trying to reintroduce a rest/nap time in the afternoons with Emily this week after Lincoln goes down for his long nap. One day she took a 3 hour nap. Today I came in to this...
Regardless, it has been a nice break for me in the afternoons. The whole idea is going to completely go out the window next week when we're back and forth with the new house and people are coming to visit every day, but at least I know it can be done. I look forward to establishing new routines once we are settled!

33 months old

Emily is officially 2 3/4 years old. How come we don't use fractions of years other than 1/2? Anyway, she has really been enjoying playing outside with the beautiful weather and a less stringent mom, although her bed sheets feel like a sandbox regardless of her nightly bath. :o) Here's some of the other happenings from the last month...

  • Since we're done with house showings we had to put the child safety latch back on the pantry cupboard door. Emily has a slight addiction to dry cereal lately and will help herself to a snack at any time of day. I guess the cereal boxes will have to be stored in a high cupboard in the new house.

  • Emily's standard hairdo is now pigtails thanks to Grandma B. The only choice in the morning now is what color bands to use. Emily does a relatively good job of standing still when I put them in and a very good job of leaving them in all day. With her crazy cowlicks the hardest part is trying to get the part straight. Emily notes, "Mommy is cutting hair," when I'm using a comb to draw the part line.

  • One of Emily's big accomplishments is being able to point to and count objects with relative accuracy,

  • Emily also has learned the names of most of the main Sesame Street characters--not because she has ever watched a single minute of Sesame Street, but because they are on her juice boxes and Lincoln's diapers. She likes picking out diapers for Lincoln and usually digs through the basket until she finds an Elmo or a Big Bird.

  • Speaking of diapers, Austin has been trying to teach Emily to call Lincoln "Stinkin' Lincoln" when he has a dirty diaper. Hmmm...definitely a Daddy idea. :op

  • Emily had a small introduction to sharing toys with Lincoln this past week. I finally washed up all the baby toys since he is starting to get to the point of being interested in them. I placed a small ring of plastic jangly keys in Lincoln's hand and Emily immediately insisted that she wanted to play with the keys. I had to calmly explain that she could play with them when Lincoln was done (he dropped them 30 seconds later). The silly things came out of a dollar bin at Target or something and she only played with them a couple times as a baby. Lincoln also received a really cute stuffed frog (see photo shoot from yesterday) as a baby gift. Emily immediately latched on to it, and we had to have a discussion about that fact that it's really Lincoln's frog. In fact, Emily received a stuffed doll in the same gift specifically intended for her, but she's way more into the frog. That will make for some fun times down the road!

  • Emily is also too smart and observant for our own good sometimes. The latest example of her catching our inconsistency/hypocrisy is regarding the wearing of pajamas outside. Since she still usually changes herself back into her jammies at some point (or two or three) during the day, we have a daily back-and-forth about the fact that she can't wear her jammies to go outside to play and she has to put clothes back on. So if I go let Cheney outside 10 minutes after I've crawled out of bed in the morning Emily promptly announces, "Can't go outside with your jammies on!"

The Winkflash pictures are being uploaded and the July video player is below. We should have some fun remodeling pictures of the new house in August!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Secret photo shoot

I tried to do a little photo shoot this afternoon with Lincoln, Emily and a stuffed frog received as a baby gift. I had to bribe Emily with the promise of a green Skittle to even get her to sit by Lincoln, but then she didn't really cooperate, so she didn't get a treat. However, after putting Lincoln down for a nap I came downstairs to see Emily holding the camera. Upon further examination it looks like she did a little photo shoot of her own with her stuffed Curious George...

2 more things...

I thought of two more things to add to my list of things I'm looking forward to at the new house in Waverly:
  • Bathroom door locks: Technically there is a lock on our current bathroom door, but it's a little temperamental, and after getting locked in a couple times at the beginning I have literally not locked a bathroom door in my own house for over 5 years. That will be a hard habit to break--not that I even bother shutting the door very often these days. ;o)
  • Flatter streets: Anyone who has ever walked the streets of Denver knows that there is no such thing as a flat one. Everything is either up or down and most of the streets are severely crowned to the point that it hurts my hips to walk on a slant and makes it very hard to steer the double stroller when it keeps trying to pull towards the curb. Our new house in Waverly is located in a relatively flat section of town. I haven't walked the neighborhood yet, but it's got to be better than where we are now!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Moving thoughts

The thought of moving stirs up many emotions and feelings--excitement, sadness, nervousness, fatigue, being overwhelmed by the details. As the big day gets closer I thought I'd make a list of the things I'm looking forward to in the new house and the things I'll miss from the old house.

I'm gonna miss...

  • Fenced-in backyard: We're going to have to really work on teaching Emily about boundaries and will have to always tie up the dog. I won't be able to trust Emily to go outside and entertain herself for quite awhile.
  • Studio playhouse: In order to prepare our house for market we fixed up the studio house out back and staged it as the ultimate kids' playhouse, which was the original plan for it anyway. Emily has spent countless hours out there this summer, not to mention it being a great place to keep most of her toys.
  • Great neighborhood: I love our neighbors and neighborhood and wish we could take them with us. I know there will be new neighbors to meet, but it took 5 years to establish the great relationships we have now. Plus we'll have to board our dog when we go places until we find someone willing to let him out for us. :o(
  • Church bells: The Lutheran church a couple blocks away has a bell tower that chimes every hour and also plays hymns on Sundays and special occasions.
  • "Finished" rooms: Our current house is finished and decorated just like I want. While it's sort of exciting to basically have a blank slate to do it all again, it won't feel "finished" for quite awhile.
  • Home office: We have a great custom-built home office that we both spend a lot of time in. We will have a roaming office for quite awhile in the new house. We will eventually have it permanently set up in the front bedroom doubled as a guest room, but not until we're done using it as a nursery.
  • Front landscaping: I have really enjoyed piecing together the front landscaping over the last 3 summers. Now that things are really starting to fill in I will be leaving. There are some opportunities to play around at the new house, though.
  • Front windows: As much as they leak cold air in the winter, I really enjoy our huge, floor-to-ceiling front windows. I love being able to sit on the comfortable couch and watch the world go by. Our new house does have front picture windows, but they are smaller and there will really be no seating positioned to look out of them. I'll have to settle for sitting on the front porch in nice weather.
  • Quiet street: We have a relatively quiet street in Denver. In Waverly the hospital is across the street with the main entrance to the professional building. The street also leads directly into the public golf course entrance, so anyone coming from the east, west or north would probably go past our house. I don't think they allow golf carts on the streets of Waverly. On nice weekends in the summer the golf carts sometimes outnumber the cars going by on our street in Denver. :o)

I'm excited about...

  • Bigger rooms & storage: Pretty much every room will be bigger than in our current house. And the closets/storage spaces are unbelievable. We could seriously fit all of our current worldly possessions in just the designated storage areas of our new house. I don't even have a clue what to store in some of them! Austin says that's just fine, but I'm sure I'll think of something. ;o)
  • Master bathroom: I'm just excited to have another bathroom, let alone one that's bigger and all our own. We're planning to eventually gut it, so I'll be able to design what I really want.
  • Gas fireplace: I loved looking at the beautiful brick wood-burning fireplace in our Denver house, but we were too cheap to get it inspected, and it was too messy and just not worth it to use it. It will be nice to have a functional one.
  • Awesome washer/dryer: The new house comes with a really nice Whirlpool front-load washer/dryer set. Our current washer/dryer set works fine, but when Austin bought them when he purchased his first house before we met he specifically wanted the ones with the least amount of options. He did a good job. ;o) Since I do 95% of the laundry, it will be nice to have a few more options. There is also the potential for a future main-floor laundry area in the new house. That's still in the planning stages, though.
  • Newer windows: All the windows & doors in our Denver house leaked and really need to be replaced. They were sometimes difficult to manage, not to mention clean. The new Waverly house has almost all newer vinyl windows that flip down for easy cleaning.
  • Less stairs for me: Although with a second floor and a full basement there are technically the same number of stairs in both houses, the distribution is much better. I'm REALLY looking forward to having a bathroom, master bedroom and office on the main level and maybe eventually laundry, too.
  • Bedroom separation: We love our kids, but they can be noisy sleepers, and we like our privacy. We'll keep the nursery on the main floor next to the master bedroom as needed, but eventually all the kids will be in the bedrooms upstairs. This will quickly come in handy since Emily sometimes has a hard time being quiet when I'm trying to put Lincoln down for a nap and after he's sleeping--especially if I have to send her to her room for some reason where she cries and screams out her frustration. :op
  • Hardwood floors: When remodeling the Denver house I was pretty adamant about having carpet in all the bedrooms and living areas other than the kitchen & bathrooms. Although carpet is nice for babies and warmth, hard surfaces seem to be more practical and easier for cleaning up toddler messes (including potty-training) and dog hair. We'll see if I'm just dreaming about that or not.
  • Town amenities: While Denver is a nice little town with most of the basics, Waverly has a lot more to offer including Wal-mart, Fareway, a large hardware store, movie theater and an aquatic center, not to mention lots of fast food and other dining-out options. Many of these things are within walking distance of our new house. Emily is already in love with the "castle park" (i.e. Kids' Kingdom).
  • Garden: There really wasn't any good space for a garden in our Denver yard, so I settled for a tomato plant in a pot and a couple pepper plants among the lilies. I already have a spot picked out for a raised garden in the new yard.

It's a toss-up...

  • Schools: We're not to the school stage yet, so it's hard to compare. Both are great school districts. Waverly is obviously bigger, but that means there might be additional opportunities and activities. There was a Christian preschool at the Lutheran church right around the corner from our Denver house. I'm not sure what all our options are in Waverly.
  • Garage: We have a nice, big, double attached garage in Denver. However, it is a looooong way both down and up stairs to haul groceries into the kitchen. The Waverly house has a double detached garage that is a bit smaller. It's only about 6 steps from the back kitchen entrance, but it's still outside. There is also a single attached garage, but there are only doors to the front porch, the backyard and a cement stairway to the basement. Nothing to the main level, and it's completely opposite the kitchen. It will function as a great super-sized storage shed for gardening equipment, tools, kids' toys & bikes, etc.

Regardless of all my emotions and feelings the move is going to happen. I'm looking forward to just being done with it and beginning the long process of settling into our new home!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Elmo stickers

Emily really looks forward to her weekly letter from Grandpa Lorenzen. Well, she really only cares about the stickers she knows are inside and not the actual letter. After guessing what kind of stickers are inside and ripping open the envelope she takes all the stickers off the sheet and puts them on herself (including face, arms, legs, etc.). They usually eventually end up in her bed, on the furniture and on the floor. This morning she rescued the Elmo stickers from the couch and stuck them on her jammies and toes. :o)
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Backyard curiosity

Emily has had a lot of fun "exploring" in the backyard lately. There are some wilder areas and it's fun to see her running around with the curiosity of a child. The tiger lilies are just beginning to bloom, so she got to have a close look at them today. She called the unopened buds "carrots". :o) She also thinks it's fun to sniff the impatiens, sit in the "grass" (i.e. overgrown rock hill) and feel the fuzzy moss on the big rock.
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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sunday, July 19, 2009

6 years

Today is also our anniversary. It's hard to believe we've gone from this...
to this... 6 short years. Here's to many more adventures together!

2 months old

Lincoln is 2 months old today! He smiles and "talks" a lot--especially on the changing table and his playmat. He likes to bat at toys, although I'm not quite sure he has totally figured out that his hands are attached to his body yet. :o) He can almost hold his head up on his own when upright. His hair line is beginning to recede, but the short stuff underneath seems to be just as dark as the original.

Lincoln is starting to sleep more consistently at night and sleeping patterns are starting to emerge during the day, although any day (like today!) might be completely random and out of sync. He has spent a great deal of time sleeping in his car seat (even at night), but we're working on sleeping more often and for longer periods of time in his crib. I'd like to think I'm a lot more in tune with his needs, cries and cues with it being the second time around and some experience under my belt, but he can still throw me for a loop sometimes!

Emily continues to do well with adjusting to life with a baby in the house. She very seldom gets upset if I'm busy with Lincoln, which is great. She likes to "help" a little bit, but is not at all smothering or really in the way. It has been a great transition for her.

Friday, July 17, 2009


We are ecstatic to announce that we accepted an offer on our house last night! We are pleased with the result and very excited to be able to make plans to move forward. We close on August 14, so that doesn't give us much time. We are looking into the possibility of moving up the closing date on the new house (currently July 31). Moving will probably be more of a gradual process while we do work on the new house with one day for big stuff at the end. It's going to be a crazy next four weeks!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Couldn't be fooled

I didn't really fool anyone with the Double Take poll question. Lincoln is on the left and Emily is on the right. The final results were 1 (5%) incorrect, 15 (78%) correct and 3 (15%) couldn't tell. Thanks for voting!

Fun on the farm

We attended a cookout dinner at the Boettger farm last night for church. Emily had a blast and bawled in the van because she didn't want to go home. Here is the evening in pictures...

Emily ended up eating only the toppings of her ice cream sundae (M&M's & chocolate chips).

They have a llama that spit on Emily last year. She must not remember because she was fascinated. Austin kept her far enough away this time.

We enjoyed a hayrack ride as a family--even Lincoln liked it!

Emily loved dunking a basketball (with a little help from Daddy).

Grandma time

I'm not really sure where the last week has gone or what we even did with ourselves most of the time. Life is a bit of a blur these days. Grandma B came to visit for a few days at the beginning of the week to help out. I actually got to go clothes shopping and run errands on my own without any kids and Austin & I got to go out to eat at night. Plus we were really lucky because when we stopped at the new house in Waverly to peek in the windows the son of the current owner stopped by to haul away another load of stuff and opened up the house for my mom to see.

Don't these pictures just make you smile?!? :o)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

4th of July weekend

We made the first major road trip as a family of four this weekend to NW Iowa and everything went pretty well. My dad had not been able to make it to Denver to meet Lincoln because of spring field work, so that was a highlight. Lincoln was also introduced to all six of his great-grandparents on Saturday. We stayed with my parents in Hull, but Austin had a cousin get married in Sioux City on Saturday evening, so we saw all of his family, too. That's a lot of people in one day! The kids actually handled everything very well.

Emily enjoyed running around Grandpa & Grandma's farm looking at the cows and playing with a big pink ball. The big fireworks in Sheldon were rained out on Friday night, but my parents had purchased an assortment from Pyro City in South Dakota to shoot off in the backyard. Emily didn't appreciate the first bottle rocket, so a lot of it was viewed through fingers covering her eyes. By the end she was asking for more, though. :o) It's probably a good thing we didn't go to a big show yet this year.
Emily also enjoyed dancing (i.e. chasing around) with her cousin Asher at the wedding while everyone else was eating. There is a video of that plus other weekend fun in the new July video player at the bottom of the blog.

Emily outside

After my long rant two weeks ago about going outside I have had to eat my words a bit. Soon afterwards I read an article in the paper about the importance of children being able to play and run outside in order to develop large motor skills, among other things. With beautiful weather and no scheduled showings last week I let down my guard a bit more and let Emily loose in the fenced-in backyard barefoot and semi-unsupervised. She had a blast! Between the sandbox, the deck and the studio house full of some of her long-lost toys she was entertained for hours. We had to have a little lesson in closing the screen door each time you went through, but she mastered that pretty quickly. Of course, the play time wasn't without incident. During a one hour stretch when I was busy feeding and taking care of Lincoln, Emily managed to spill red Gatorade all over my cream-colored double papasan chair cushion, fill her baby doll stroller with sand and pluck a large green tomato off of my only tomato plant. Grrr! She probably won't have any sand left in her sandbox by the time we move (which isn't all bad) because most of it will either be on the deck or down the bathtub drain. She gives new meaning to "sandy blonde" hair! ;o) But it's summer, and she's enjoying the same carefree playtime outside that I enjoyed as a child. :o)

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Double Take

Can you tell which picture is Emily and which is Lincoln? Vote in the poll in the left margin.
Happy 4th of July!