Saturday, January 30, 2010

39 months

It has been another fun month with Emily.  She continues to do great going potty all by herself with only a few hiccups here and there.  I've noticed a sharp increase in the amount of toilet paper and hand soap we go through, but I'll take that over Pull-Ups any day!  She also continues to want to "help" with almost everything.

Her firstborn characteristics are also starting to shine through (as the firstborn of two typical firstborns she really doesn't have a choice).  Not only does she insist on always saying the prayer before meals at home, she also wants to say the prayer for her Sunday school class each week.  One of the long-time helpers in that room says she's never had a kid ask to do that before.  The other quickly developing characteristic is bossiness.  This one makes me cringe a lot because I know I was TERRIBLY bossy when I was growing up--even into high school.  Just ask my mom and BIL! ;o)  Lincoln is the obvious target most of the time.  She tries to be a "mother hen" to him a lot.  Luckily, he doesn't really have a clue and doesn't mind...yet.  However, I've begun to see it happening during play dates and other interactions with peers.  It usually takes on more of a negotiator style with me or Austin, but sometimes it's just flat-out statements of how she thinks things are going to be (even though her demands are not necessarily met).  I'm not quite sure how to approach this one yet, so any suggestions would be welcome!

A typical characteristic of a 3-year-old is clutziness and Emily certainly has that one down.  I'm pretty sure she trips over something (often her own feet) and "needs ice" at least 2-3 times a day.  She dumps over a glass of juice or chocolate milk on the kitchen table/chairs/floor at least once a week.

Another thing Emily is trying to figure out is the meaning of abstract concepts like feelings.  After reading The Berenstain Bears are Afraid of the Dark ten too many times, Emily loves using the words "spooky" and "scared" but doesn't know what they actually mean.  She'll call things "spooky" at mealtimes, which usually means the food is hot.  When I ask her to take another bite or try something she'll say she's "scared."  How do you explain those concepts?  Another funny thing she often says about foods she likes is "Yum...that tastes like pumpkin pie."  I'm not sure where this is coming from because the only time she's ever tried pumpkin pie was this past Thanksgiving, and she was definitely not a fan.

Emily continues to love social activities.  Her favorite Sunday school songs are "Jump and Hop" and the one that goes "the rains came down and the floods came up and the house on the sand went SMASH!".  She loves the preschool story hour at the library on Wednesdays, playgroup in Denver on Thursdays and playing with bikes & balls in the gym at Mom's Morning Out at church on Fridays.  When we go places she tells me, "You can talk to the other mommies, and I'll talk to the other Emilys.  They have pretty princess dresses, too." :o)

The January Winkflash pictures have been uploaded and the video player is below.  Can you tell I've been regularly doing a workout video this month?!? ;o)

End of an Era?

This may be the end of an era. After 34 days of wearing one of two Christmas dresses, Emily may have finally reached the end. It happened quite by accident--literally. Yesterday afternoon I heard Emily calling from upstairs something about "potty", which means you better run and find out what's going on. She had completely changed her outfit and her beloved Christmas dress and black leggings were soaking wet and lying on the floor. For the next 15 minutes I desperately tried to find the puddle and the missing wet panty. Emily was no help. She thought it was a fun game and started "looking" in funny places. Finally, after finding nothing and stopping to think, I remembered that Emily had been playing with my large water bottle. She had spilled water over herself--not had an accident in her pants. Phew!

However, with a really wet favorite dress and her back-up in the wash, the revolutionary result of this little adventure was the rediscovery of a cute, hand-me-down "butterfly" dress that Emily wore a few times when it was actually warm enough last fall. She paired the dress with a beautiful pair of rainbow pants and a new outfit was born.  She even changed her headband from red to purple.   She had the dress back on before she even came downstairs this morning. Granted, both Christmas dresses are still in the laundry, but I think she may be moving on. The only problem is that this is more of a fall/spring dress, it’s short-sleeved, it really would only look “good” with white tights, and there’s only one. I did purchase another pink cotton dress last fall, but Emily refused to try it on then, so I thought I’d try again in the spring. Sigh.

I had already decided that Valentine’s Day was going to be the cut-off, after which both Christmas dresses would be retired to a secure and undisclosed location. In the words of my mom, “That was fun, but now it’s done.” ;o) I may have a bigger problem now. We might have to start a new system where Emily gets to choose what she wants to wear from several choices I give her. The hard part is that she can reach all her clothes and get herself dressed before I can even get to her in the mornings. Maybe we’ll have to decide the night before. It will be an experiment. I’ll keep you posted.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Moving up (and forward)

Now that he weighs over 17.5 lbs., we officially ditched the baby carrier and moved Lincoln up to a convertible car seat.  Today was our first outing.  I'm not sure if the pained expression on his face is because of the new car seat, the new marshmellow coat that prevents any kind of movement, the hat (or any hat) that always covers his eyes, the biting wind, or the fact I woke him up in the middle of his morning nap to drag him to the library for Emily's story hour.

He was obviously much happier once he was packed into the car cart at Fareway.  It was quite a circus.  Besides having to carry a squirmy, slippery baby and keep track of a dawdling little girl, I also just got a new purse that resembles a bowling ball bag and weighs about as much.  I can't figure that out, though, because when I moved everything over I didn't add anything, and it still seems so much heavier.  Anyway, with a new wallet and a new organizational system it's going to take awhile to get used to a whole new way of running errands and shopping.

In addition to moving up in the world, Lincoln is also moving forward.  He's still not "crawling", but he is experimenting with other techniques.  One way is a half slither, half army crawl.  Another is to get up on all fours and sort of launch himself forward and then repeat.  I've already moved all of the large, floor houseplants to the upstairs guest room and tried to hide the computer cords.  Next to come are the outlet covers and cupboard locks.

Monday, January 25, 2010

House updates

I am long overdue to post some updated pictures of our house remodeling projects.  I keep waiting until they're "finished", but I have come to grips with the fact that decorating is never "finished".  It is always a work in progress.  So here are some current pictures from our house along with some of the "before" comparisons.

Emily's room when we looked at the house

Emily's room now (Notice the Christmas dress hanging on the peg.  She's wearing the other one. And yes, those are built-in drawers in her walk-in closet that came with the house.  She has the best closet.)

Master bedroom when we looked at the house

Master bedroom now

Half bath before

Half bath now (Window will be replaced as soon as it's warm enough and still needs wall decor and maybe a new mirror)

Stairway/foyer before

Stairway/foyer now (The lighting/flash makes the shade of blue look a little crazy, and there's a lot of wall decorating that still needs to be done.)

Still a fan...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

8 months old

Our little boy is 8 months old today!  He is changing by the day.  He has pretty much mastered sitting up on his own.  If he gets down on the floor he is able to maneuver around pretty quickly.  He continues to roll sideways and scoot backwards.  He is often up rocking on all fours--especially in his crib--but hasn't quite figured out how to move forward yet.  This leads to him getting stuck in some precarious positions sometimes.

Lincoln has started pumping his fingers in a "bye-bye" gesture but has not associated it with saying goodbye.  He has also caught on to turning pages of board books.  His favorite books are touch-and-feel ones.  He has to compete with Emily sometimes, though, because she knows how the books go and tries to turn the pages right away or tries to turn back if you accidentally skip a page.

Lincoln now has two teeth (click on picture to zoom in and see) and usually takes two naps per day.  The transition period of dropping a nap is not always fun, but I think we're almost through it.  Sometimes Lincoln is in bed for the night by 6:00pm, which is before Austin even gets home for supper.  Although not always the ideal schedule, it makes for a somewhat less hectic mealtime when you only have to deal with one child. ;o)

Speaking of meals, Lincoln is down to four nursings and up to three meals.  I think this is the most time and labor-intensive feeding period.  We've made our way through most of the 1st Foods fruits & vegetables with mixed results.  We've also started with yogurt and some finger foods.  Pears seem to be his favorite, but with any food at anytime he may stonewall after only 2-3 bites.  It takes an immense amount of patience to sit and wait for him to give you an opening to shove in another spoonful.  Since that opportunity only occurs once every minute or two you end up constantly hovering with a spoonful of food within an inch of his mouth.  I don't remember it being this hard to get Emily to eat for this long.  I hope that doesn't mean Lincoln will be a picky eater!  The one thing you can always count on, though, are the flavored baby puffs.  He inhales those.  He also is very capable of drinking out of a handled sippy cup on his own.  We've still just stuck with water because he sometimes looks like a football player who takes a big swig and then projectile spits it out again.  Therefore, we've moved on to vinyl, pocketed bibs.  Meals are messy enough that he could stand to take a bath after almost every one.  At the very least, he needs a change of clothes.  Thank goodness for stain remover!

Lincoln LOVES bath time.  He squeals with delight whenever I start filling his bathtub and undressing him on the bathroom floor.  He'll spend up to 20-30 min. playing with bath toys and splashing around.  It's a lot easier now that he can sit up well and you don't have to have a hand on him at all times.  One of his favorite toys is the rubber duck.  Just like Emily did, he can--and does--like to stick the entire head in his mouth. :o)

Winter beauty

Although it can be long, cold and depressing, winter can also be amazingly beautiful.  I have been in awe of the frosted trees for the last several days as the freezing fog leaves its mark every morning.  All these pictures were actually taken yesterday afternoon from our house.  After another night the frost is even more beautiful and exquisite this morning.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Big helper

Emily has really been into "helping" lately.  She'll ask to help with about anything--especially in the kitchen.  Even though it's usually easier/faster/more efficient to do it myself, I've tried to oblige as much as possible because a) it's entertaining for her and better than having her sit in front of a video b) she might actually be learning some important skills and c) she won't always be so willing to help around the house.

This afternoon Emily & I both had a craving for cookies.  Since my once glorious freezer supply had dwindled down to one lonely oatmeal raisin cookie, I decided it was a good time for some fresh chocolate chip cookies.  Emily helped make the dough by counting the eggs, assisting in scooping & leveling the flour and stirring the dry ingredients.  We both enjoyed the fun part--licking the beaters. :o)  I even let Emily try to transfer the cookies from one pan to the cooling rack by herself.  She didn't do half bad.  Of course, eating them is the best part!  Emily doesn't seem to mind melted chocolate on her face, but she doesn't like flour on her hands.  She had to run to the bathroom at least twice to do a full washing. ;o)

Another thing Emily was excited to help with today was laundry.  She did a great job moving clothes in and out of the dryer.  Too bad this is her idea of folding clothes!

The last big help of the day was washing the potatoes for supper.  I had to do a quality control check, but she was starting to get the idea.  She wanted to wash the whole 5 lb. bag.  Or probably just play in the water.  She only stopped because the front of her dress got wet and she had to run and go change into her other Christmas dress. ;o)

Some of the other things Emily likes to "help" with are setting the table (silverware & napkins), giving Lincoln a bath (dispersing bath toys), reading bedtime books to Lincoln (i.e. selecting the books and trying to turn the pages for him), feeding the fish (when she feels like it and I remember), and holding Lincoln's sippy cup up to his mouth.  She is also asserting more and more of her independence.  Not only does she insist on dressing herself, she is now insisting on going potty all by herself, including the hand-washing.  She hasn't been tested with #2 yet, so we'll have to see how that goes. :op  It's so fun to see her grow and learn every day!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

2nd Blogoversary

Today marks two years for this blog.  I've made 457 posts, have had over 17,000 hits since I installed the counter a year ago and now have Google Analytics installed to track blog traffic in even more detail.  In the last 4 days there have been 79 unique visitors.  Crazy!

I enjoy blogging even more today than when I first started.  Probably because with two kids now I have even more to post about! ;o)  I consider it my main hobby and set it as a high priority.  I've let many other things slide like cleaning, organizing and recently even cooking and baking, but I always make time for blogging.  I consider it our family scrapbook and hope to get around to having it printed in books some day.  So if you ever scratch your head and wonder why in the world I'm posting about something, it may be just a nugget of family history I'm saving for myself.  I'm realizing more and more how many of the little things I forget, so I want to record them to enjoy again later. 

I always love getting comments, so feel free to share.  Thanks for enjoying life together with me! 

Fun in the snow!

It was finally nice enough to go outside and play in the snow today.  I don't know who was more excited--me or Emily.  They talked about snow and read books like The Snowy Day at her preschool story hour at the library this morning.  Plus I've had to sing the entire "Frosty the Snowman" song from a book we have more times than I can count in the last week.  Emily even willingly traded her Christmas dress for a shirt when getting all the snow gear on!  She thought the pockets in her snow pants were pretty cool--especially when I gave her some carrots to put in them.

Our main objective was to build a snowman--or three.  It was a little tricky because you could only use the very top layer of snow where the sun had hit and started melting it.  Everything else was too powdery or hard.  Here are our creations...

Emily, of course, wanted to build more (she suggested 10), but I had only brought 3 carrots outside, and I was having a hard time remembering where to dig for rocks and/or sticks in the landscaping.  She was very proud of them, though, and even had to check on them again before going to bed to see if they were sleeping. :o)

She also enjoyed trying to pull me in the sled and tromping around in the backyard carrying the stuffed snowman from the decorative bench on the porch and singing lines from "Frosty the Snowman."  Check out the January video player for more on that.  Our time ended when Emily sunk deep into a drift and got snow all over her hands and up her sleeves because her mittens were off.  I'm not sure how we managed to lose 3 out of her 4 mittens, but we did.  We may have to make an emergency trip to Wal-mart tomorrow.  Anyway, Emily went inside while I finished picking up and putting away stuff outside.  By the time I got inside she already had her Christmas dress back on along with her snow pants.  In fact, she insisted on wearing her snow pants for the next half hour because she was pretending to be Papa Bear from The Berenstain Bears working in his shop.  This is the exact same pair of snow pants she almost flat-out refused to put on last winter.  Go figure.  At least they fit better!

After Lincoln woke up from his nap we bundled up again and went for a sled ride up and down the block on the snow-packed street.  I LOVE the expression on Lincoln's face in the first picture when he's sitting on Emily's lap (click to zoom in for a closer look).  However, after we got him propped up with the stuffed snowman I think he somewhat enjoyed the short ride.

Then we had fun making "chairs" in the snow banks along the driveway.  Lincoln still didn't know what to think.  Notice Emily with one pant leg up and one mitten missing but loving every minute of it.

The sunshine was beautiful and fresh air was wonderful.  Both kids conked out after we got back inside and the silence was deafening.  I'm sure we will be having another adventure outside tomorrow despite Emily's insistence at bedtime that the snow was going to melt and it was going to be spring tomorrow.  One can only wish!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Christmas dress

I had mentioned Emily's current obsession with wearing Christmas dresses in her monthly update post.  We are now on Day 15 of the Christmas dress phase.  This is a picture of Emily at 7:45am this morning shortly after I pulled the two dresses out of the dryer.  I try to confiscate them every 3-4 days and wash them overnight.  I make her put on black tights or leggings when we go out in public, otherwise just about anything goes as far as accessories.  Feel free to vote in the blog poll on the left sidebar with your guess of how long this phase will last!

Emily's prayer

The other day Emily volunteered to pray before supper for the first time.  She was very serious as she said a slightly mumbled version of the semi-standard prayer Austin usually says with the added phrase, "And thank you for Morgan's potty."  We had just gotten home from a play date at a friend's house where she successfully used the potty without a potty seat. :o)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Foyer tile

Austin has been working on the bathroom all week.  I'll post pictures as soon as it's finished.  Today's big project was tiling the foyer.  It looks awesome!  I didn't catch much of the blue walls in this picture, but I'll post more pictures when it's closer to finished.

Sitting tall

Lincoln is becoming an expert sitter-upper.  He'll eventually tip over, but I can run in and out of the room now.  Here he is being a cheese for the camera.  Unlike his older sister, Lincoln immediately smiles whenever I get out the camera.  He squints sometimes in anticipation of the flash.

Lincoln's second tooth also popped through yesterday.  I think teething really affects his eating habits.  He's doing better in that area, though.  His favorite baby food so far is pears.  He ate the whole container on his first try!