Monday, November 30, 2009

Quotes of the month by Emily

Instead of a developmental update, I bring you a sampling of Emily's quotes from the month of November...

"Would you like milk, iced tea, lemonade or kinds of pop?" --Emily asking herself what she'd like to drink by repeating what I always offer to guests

"How's it going for you, Daddy?"--a constant question asked while Austin is doing home improvement projects

"I think I'm getting old, Emily"--Austin after spending two days crawling around in the attic and tearing down wallpaper

"I know, Daddy."--Emily's response

"My froat is being difficult. I fink it's broken."--Emily's analysis when she woke up with a sore throat one morning

"I hafta change these pants. They're dangerous."--Emily's excuse when she doesn't want to wear a particular pair of pants anymore

"Lincoln is a Mister Drooly."--true statement, repeating what Aunt Courtney said

"I hafta hear the empty-all gone sound."--the sound made when her straw drink cup is empty, appropriately named by Grandma Boote

"My bottom is making a funny loud noise."--ah, yes, becoming more aware of bodily functions

"I'm not a 'he'--I'm a 'she'"--Emily's correct conclusion after spending a lot of time this month pondering gender differences in people and working on gender pronouns

"Yeah, since that milk thing didn't work out."--mimicking what I said after another milk spilling incident

"What's that supposed to be?"--in a sarcastic tone, often replacing "What's that?"

"I CAAAN'T"--Emily's whiny response to anything she doesn't want to do

The Winkflash pictures are updated and the November video player is below. Also, the "Growing" slideshows at the bottom have been updated. :o)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Weekend work projects

While Emily & I were busy decorating for Christmas, Austin was very busy completing some big home improvement projects. On Friday he installed a bath vent/fan in the upstairs "peach" bathroom. This required cutting holes in the ceiling and the side of the house and some creative wiring accomplished by crawling around in a very tight attic space and on the roof. After a long day's work we have a working vent fan with a timer switch, a real light switch for the vanity light and not one, but two GFCI outlets by the sink. Yay for handy husbands!

On Saturday Austin rented the wallpaper steamer again and finished taking the rest of the wallpaper down in the stairwell as well as the half bathroom on the main floor. Another messy job completed! Below are the before and after pictures plus a sample of the previous paper that was behind the panel in the stairwell.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Decorating for Christmas

I'm one of those "don't decorate for Christmas until after Thanksgiving" people. I look forward to the Friday after Thanksgiving not for the shopping, but for the decorating. It was a little different this year being in a new house where everything doesn't have an assigned place. Also, with an overly curious 3-year-old and a soon-to-be mobile 6-month-old there were several things that got left in the boxes, such as my Thomas Kinkade snow village and the ceramic nativity set I made in VBS when I was little. It was fun, though, because Emily was very excited and actually helpful when it came to decorating the tree. Of course, all the ornaments ended up on the bottom 3 feet of the tree. :o) I had my back turned when Emily found the stockings in the box.

But Emily's favorite "decoration" was the Fisher Price Little People nativity set she received as a gift two years ago. I highly recommend it for anyone with kids age 2+. She is already correctly recognizing some of the characters. (Last year she called the baby Jesus "Baby Moses".) She also loves pushing the button that plays "Away in the Manager". She sometimes sings along, except she's singing "Happy Birthday Baby Jesus". We'll have to work on that.

The tree is always the biggest decorating challenge, and in some ways the masterpiece. We have a 3-part skinny tree that I leave the lights on. Thankfully, all the strands still worked. I tried to replace one burned out bulb, but soon gave up on that. When we got married I bought all new decorations and prided myself on having a beautiful, color-coordinated tree. In the 5 Christmases since then the cheap Wal-mart decorations have gotten chipped, torn, broken and tattered. Last Christmas was especially brutal. (See posts here and here and here.) So this year I decided to reuse the lights, gold beads and bows and then dig through boxes for random, non-matching ornaments. It was a lot of fun going down memory lane. Here is a tour of our tree in pictures...
My parents gave my sisters & me an ornament every year when we were growing up. I left all the dated ball ornaments in the boxes, but got out the rest. The gold angel below is the ornament I received for my very first Christmas. We received the clear ornament the first Christmas we were married.

This is a stitched stocking from my 2nd Christmas, which was always one of my favorites, along with an angel bell from a childhood Sunday school teacher.

Here are some ornaments Emily has received.

These are ornaments I cross-stitched for a 4-H project when I was in 4th and 5th grade.

We even put up the random, somewhat gaudy, gift ornaments we have received, including the beaded candy cane and icicle from our paper carrier in Denver.

Of course, hanging a new collection of ornaments includes the requisite mess of tangled ornament hooks.

The finished product...not bad!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving Day

We spent Thanksgiving Day in Waukee with Austin's parents and brother. It was a relaxing day of food and family. Emily enjoyed playing with Aunt Brandi & Aunt Traci's old My Little Ponies in a big box of packing peanuts. Lincoln like looking at (i.e. eating) the sale ads from the paper.

We attempted a family picture, but Emily obviously wasn't in the mood...

Lincoln hardly napped all day, but he slept on the way home and then officially slept through the night from 10:00pm to 7:00am. :o) We have much to be thankful for this year--a new house, two healthy kids, great friends, supportive family and a great big God that always provides.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Turkey time

So I tackled an 18 lb. turkey today. After vowing for the last 3 years running that I would never make one again, I couldn't pass up the $.40/lb. Fastco turkeys at Fareway last week. I can't decide what the worst part is--trying to get it defrosted enough, extracting the innards and wrestling it into the oven, determining if it has baked long enough, or carving the thing up. I've had semi-disasters in all these categories in the past. However, this one, by far, turned out the best (although nothing like the picture on the left) and went the smoothest despite doing it during the day with the kids up and about. It helped that I defrosted it in the fridge for 6 days plus an extra 2 hours in cold water just to make sure; it had a pop-up indicator rather than trying to correctly place a meat thermometer; I think I've finally figured out how to detach the legs/wings/etc. It took 2 1/2 hours to carve it up with various interruptions, but I'm happy to have almost 20 cups of cubed meat in the freezer. I think I'm even willing to do it again next year--especially if Austin does all my dishes again. It will take about that long to forget about the mess it makes. ;o)

Happy Thanksgiving!


Maybe I should start paying closer attention to the exact placement of the Exersaucer...

Sunday, November 22, 2009


This weekend we were blessed to have a full house of family guests. Both my sisters et al. were here for the High School state football championships. The BH-RV Nighthawks finished second. We had fun--and got a workout--taking lots of pictures of the three cousins: Emily (3 years) Lincoln (6 months) and Ryan (7 weeks) . Click on the collage to enlarge.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

6 month portraits

I had portrait pictures done today at JCPenney at exactly 6 months for Lincoln. They went a lot better, and it was a lot harder to choose than with Emily last week. I think 6 months is the best age for portraits because it's relatively easy to make them smile, they can't crawl or walk away yet and they certainly don't have or express an opinion about the outfit you've chosen! Below are some of my favorites with some side-by-sides of Emily. I didn't get around to having her "6 month" portraits taken until she was 7 1/2 months old, so she could sit up better. I still think they're two little cuties, and I'm glad they're ours! :o)

6 months old

Wow--Lincoln is 6 months old already! He is still generally a pretty happy baby, although evenings have become his fussy time. He is FINALLY falling into a pretty regular nap routine as long as we're home all day and don't do anything to mess it up. I can usually count on at least one 2-hour nap per day, usually in the morning. Nighttime is still precarious, though. In the last week he has been waking up wailing every 1 1/2 - 2 hours until 5:00am. The last two nights have been much better, though, so I'm holding out hope that we're past that phase. I scoff at the books/magazines/online articles that consider a 5-6 hour block "sleeping through the night." There's no convincing me that putting my baby down at 7:00pm and getting him up at 7:00am with a night waking and/or feeding at midnight and 5:00am is even remotely sleeping through the night. That milestone is achieved when I get to sleep through the night without getting up. I guess that technically happened on Tuesday night when I went to bed at 12:45am after feeding Lincoln and got up with him and Emily at 7:15am (which also happens to mark the longest block of sleep I've gotten since Lincoln was born). However, I should be going to bed closer 10:00pm. Regardless, how can you stay mad about erratic sleep patterns when you usually have this to greet you when you walk into the room?!? :o)

Lincoln still hasn't figured out how to roll tummy to back, but he can push himself all the way up on his arms and "swim" balancing just on his belly. I love this shot of his "turtle face." :o)

By the amount of drool Lincoln produces (soaking at least 3 bibs a day) and the way he chomps on everything you would think he was seriously teething. We've been wondering about that with his random night-wakings and sometimes unexplained crankiness. However, I can't feel anything on his gums yet.

Cereal feeding successes come and go by the day. Sometimes he'll gobble down a couple teaspoons twice a day and sometimes he just spits/drools most of it out. Although it's a lot more hassle and work, I'm looking forward to expanding his menu options.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Rice box

Today was the day I introduced the rice box. The idea came from a couple friends and my moms group at church. A large storage box + a 25 lb. bag of rice from Sam's Club + misc. small toys = a fun indoor sandbox. Emily was super excited. Of course, the first rule was that the rice stays in the box or the lid goes back on. Emily lasted about 15 minutes. That would be why the rice box will be kept downstairs on a hard floor that can be easily swept and there is an extra 10 lb. bag of rice for the inevitable refill. :o)

Our basement is slowly but surely turning into a viable play area. There is still a lot I'd like to do/organize, but for now Emily loves pedaling her tricycle and being pushed around in her Cozy Coupe in the wide open spaces. And now the rice box is downstairs. :o)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Some days you just need a sign that says "My daughter dressed herself today". :o)

(I didn't make her change and we went to the library, Fareway & Wal-mart.)

Ready to roll

Emily has creatively named Lincoln's large stuffed frog "Ribbit". He normally lives in the corner of Lincoln's crib. The other day I found him decked out in Lincoln's fleece jacket and ready to roll in Lincoln's car seat (I had to help with the last buckle at Emily's insistence).
Side note: After spending 5 min. on trying to determine the appropriate spelling of "ribbit", I discovered that Ty, Inc. makes a similar stuffed frog that is actually named "Ribbit". Isn't it amazing what you can learn on the Internet?!?

Monday, November 16, 2009

More family visitors

After Grandma B left we were excited to have Auntie Abbie & Uncle Wade arrive (my sister and brother-in-law). They stayed with the kids on Saturday night while Austin & I went out on a "date" to Kohl's for Austin's bi-annual shopping trip. It was actually a lot of fun. I got some nice stuff for winter, Emily actually liked the shirts I picked out for her and Austin replaced much of his winter wardrobe.

Abbie & Wade also went to church with us on Sunday and hung out with the kids in the afternoon while Austin & I took much-needed naps. The kids loved them and Emily cried when they left. They were headed to the High School football playoffs in the UNI-Dome where Wade's brother is the quarterback for my hometown team. Go Nighthawks!

Tear down this wall(paper)!

With Grandma B here to handle the kids for awhile, Austin & I started tackling the wallpaper in the foyer/stairwell again. I worked on the edges in the morning while Austin wrestled the rented wallpaper steamer all day on Saturday. After putting in a full day Austin estimates it will take another 4 hours to finish the remaining stairwell. Ugh. It's only the first step in the process, but it's definitely the worst. It will be worth it, though!

Saturday, November 14, 2009


Emily has totally been into puzzles lately. We gave her a set of four 24-piece puzzles from Green Eggs & Ham by Dr. Seuss for her birthday. She has put them together so many times that even if you mix up all 96 pieces she can have all four puzzles put back together in less than 20 min. When Grandma B came to visit she brought three more 24-piece floor puzzles. It has been a wonderful (quiet!) form of entertainment.

Grandma time

My mom came to visit for a few days for some much-appreciated "Grandma time." Emily loves the one-on-one attention and new games/activities. I love the opportunity to get a few things done around the house and get out of the house alone. I finally spent some of my birthday money (from 5 months ago) on a highly-anticipated massage. I also had a 2 hour dentist appointment and did some clothes shopping just for me. :o)

Another great thing about my mom coming is the expert opinions and advice she has to offer on developmental progress. One of the things she did while at our house was teach Emily how to cut with a scissors, which is something I knew in the back of my head I should probably do but hadn't gotten around to it yet. It's funny watching Emily open and close her mouth with each cut. I tried to get a video of it.

Emily also worked on pedaling her tricycle in the basement and catching a ball. Plus she actually sat on the potty for Grandma. :o)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I finally hauled the highchair up from the basement and scrubbed it down really good. (Gross!) Lincoln looks tiny and grown-up at the same time. It's easier to feed him cereal in the highchair. He also sits in it at night while we eat so he can see what everyone is doing.

Emily, of course, thinks it's another fun toy to play with. Poor George. She dressed him in one of Lincoln's fleece sleepers and pretended to feed him a stick of butter she snatched off the counter while I was baking.