Sunday, February 28, 2010

40 months old

Emily is now 3 1/3 years old.   One of her current favorite activities is playing with her LeapFrog Fridge Magnetic Word Builder.  She's getting pretty good at following directions and finding the letters to spell the words.  She is also starting to associate phonetic sounds with letters--a beginning step towards reading.  Emily also likes playing pretend with her Little People figures and stuffed animals.  She has started playing more with babies and doing "mothering" activities with them.  I caught her trying to "feed" her baby the other day with her shirt up, although I don't think he was going to get much out of her bellybutton.  ;o)  Her baby currently has a blue sleeper on, so she says it's a boy and his name is Lincoln. :o)

The Christmas dresses have officially been retired to an undisclosed location.  About a week ago I started being a little stricter on the dress code in general.  She still has choices of what to wear, but it has to at least be a matching combination.  Amazingly enough, there actually haven't been that many battles outside of one big boundary-testing episode that was so obvious it almost made me laugh.  Emily changes her outfit up to five times a day, but usually comes up with more or less matching combinations.  She has even voluntarily put on a couple shirts that have literally been hanging in her closet for months with the tags still on.  There is hope!  However, I rarely choose to fight the hair battle at this point.  She loves her headbands (hippie style) and not only wiggles incessantly, but almost immediately pulls out any ponytail/pigtails I try to put in.  It will take a visit from Grandma or Aunt Courtney to accomplish that!

Sometimes I wish I had a tape recorder for all the little "conversations" and "negotiations" that take place between Emily & me during the day.  Of course, I can't remember most of them later.  Some make me mad, but most make me laugh.  One day Emily scolded me by saying, "Mommy, toilet paper is for bottoms and Kleenex is for noses," after catching me blowing my nose with a piece of toilet paper.  We've been working on regulating the amount of TP used after going potty and actually using Kleenexes to wipe her nose (as opposed to hands, clothing, or worst of all: sniffling).  I guess it's sort of sinking in.  Whenever Emily gets put in time-out on the steps she tries to "push" the banister over with her feet.  She then announces that, "I'm not sitting very well!"

Emily took a huge step backward this month in the potty department regarding #2.  It has been extremely frustrating.  At one point I began "Operation Potty Pennies" where Emily gets a penny each time she has a potty success of any kind and a penny taken away each time she has an accident.  They hang in magnetic clips on the fridge.  At the end of the day she puts the net amount in a money counting jar.  She caught on quickly and loves putting money in the jar, but it didn't seem like enough of an incentive/deterrent to make a difference for the first 2 weeks.  However, she hasn't had an accident in 3 days.  I hope I don't jinx that!

We didn't watch a lot of the Olympics, but Emily was pretty impressed by the parts we did watch.  One Saturday after lunch I turned on the women's aerial ski jumping.  By the time I returned to the living room Emily had pillows (a.k.a. "ice") lined up on the floor and was somewhat trying to imitate them by jumping off the couch.  Yikes!

I'm working on uploading the February pictures to Winkflash and the video player is below.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

UNI basketball game

Austin & I had a special treat tonight.  We got to go to the final home men's basketball game at UNI.  The Panthers are having a spectacular year and we've been following them all season.  Last week I threw Austin's name in a cardboard box in the entrance of the Waverly Fareway and the next day we got a call that his name had been drawn!  He won two free tickets to the game and got to shoot free-throws during one of the media timeouts.  He didn't win anything, but it was fun to be a part of a record-setting crowd (7,332) at the new McLeod Center.  Neither of us had been there since it had been built.  UNI finished the season undefeated at home and are gearing up for the MVC and NCAA tournaments.  Go Panthers!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Play-doh let-go

Being the meticulous firstborn I am (see previous post), one phobia I have regarding Play-Doh is mixing different colors until they are impossible to separate.  Although I acquired a large Play-Doh collection at a garage sale once, I rarely get it out and usually only under close supervision with limited color choices at one time.  However, today I chose to let go.  I opened five different containers for Emily and let her do whatever she wanted.  This was the inevitable result...

She proudly carried her "tree with a bird in it" around the whole house--which of course meant picking up little bits that fell off all over the house.  I picked apart and separated as much as I could when it was time to clean up, but we have a new color container now.  It was worth it, though, because Emily entertained herself for over an hour while Lincoln napped and I got a lot of food prep done in the kitchen.  Can't beat that!

Freezer board

One of the projects I've been wanting/needing to do is cleaning out and taking inventory of my chest freezer.  Things always tend to get lost in the bottom and eventually you can't find anything.  Today I emptied it and made a list of everything inside.  Some of the more interesting finds were 8 large and 4 small loaves of various quick breads (don't need to bake that for awhile!), 11 lbs. of ground beef in various states (raw, cooked, prepped for a particular meal, etc.), 4 tubs of Cool Whip including a chocolate one that expired 2 years ago that I never did find a use for, and my small pumped breast milk supply from last summer that is now expired and will never be used.  I then reorganized things to fit better and supposedly, to find easier.  I used the new Command Velcro-like picture hanger strips to hang up a large white board on the cement wall listing all the contents of the freezer by category.  Theoretically, I should add/subtract things off the lists as the contents of the freezer change.  I already know that's not entirely going to happen.  But at least I might not forget about some of the things in the very bottom!  Now if only the same thing could be said of the upstairs freezer...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


For those of you who care or are keeping track, Lincoln had his 9-month check-up on Monday.  I accidentally showed up 30 minutes early because I forgot to double-check the time on my calendar.  Thankfully, both kids were well-behaved and they were running on time.  I think Emily was actually disappointed the Lincoln didn't have to have any shots. 

Lincoln measured 28" inches long (32nd percentile).  I thought the scale at the doctor's office was way off, so I stopped by the hospital this afternoon to have him reweighed.  He's now at 18 lbs. 3 oz.  That's only 10th percentile.  He has pretty consistently been 2 lbs. lighter than Emily at the same age for several months now, although he's the same length.  Here's a quick side-by-side picture comparison.

It's pretty obvious where Emily was carrying the extra weight. I had forgotten about all the rolls in her arms and legs right down to her wrists and ankles! :o)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Valentine beans

Emily & Lincoln got Valentine beans from Grandpa & Grandma Lorenzen.  
Emily is pretty excited about her growing plant!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Wal-mart stickers

Emily was quite chummy with the grandfatherly Wal-mart greeter this afternoon. And yes, by 2:00pm she had discovered her new sparkly pink dress on the drying rack downstairs and determined it was dry enough to put back on.

9 months old

Lincoln is 9 months old today!  He has had a lot of "growing up" events in the last month from switching car seats to lowering the crib to moving to the big bathtub to officially crawling.  He's getting faster by the day.  Now he's also starting to pull up on things.  First it was to his knees, but in the last couple days it has been all the way to standing.  His favorite spots are the edge of the bathtub, his Fisher Price Incrediblock (see picture) and mommy.  I'm almost hoping this leads to walking sooner rather than later because the time period between crawling and walking is when you are most painfully aware of the condition of your floors.  After kids start walking you start caring a lot less again. ;o)

Of course, all this new found mobility leads to increased opportunities for falls, tumbles, bumps & bruises.  I have to keep a much closer eye on him, and he still usually ends up with at least one red spot on his face by bedtime. :o(

He still loves bath time--both his and Emily's.  When Emily is in the tub he loves to stand on the outside and take the toys she gives him and plop them back in the water.  Then they both giggle like crazy. :o)  Lincoln loves watching and reacting to everything Emily does.  They have another game where Emily comes to "check on" Lincoln when he has woken up.  Then she runs in and out of the room making him giggle in anticipation of her return.  Lincoln also "sings" along whenever Emily plays her recorder.  It reminds me of the Pied Piper.

Diaper changes and dressing have become even more of a challenge.  It definitely takes two hands and a forearm to hold him down, and I still usually have to flip him back over 3-4 times just to get the diaper on.  I even had to move the changing table to a different wall in his room because he kept pulling up on the window sill and tugging on the mini blinds.  I'm pretty sure the crib is eventually going to end up in the middle of the room since there are windows on three sides and not enough wall space where mini blinds aren't within easy reach.

Lincoln still does not have much time or patience for any spoon-fed baby food.  He pretty much just eats whatever we eat and gulps down whatever gets put on his highchair tray.  Some of his favorites are rotini noodles (love the new 3-minute "Quick Cook" version), french cut beans, steamed broccoli, any form of potato, chicken, hamburger, diced whole prunes, Kix, bananas and large curd cottage cheese.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Pretty in pink

This is Emily's latest favorite get-up.  She helped pick out the dress at Target earlier this week.  I was thinking that maybe it was time to take her along when doing clothes shopping so she could pick stuff out and then maybe actually want to wear it.  Not so much.  After the circus/intense negotiations involved in picking out one dress and trying on two pairs of shoes I would rather bring bags of stuff home and return bags of clothes later than take her with me to the store.

Anyway, today she was sporting pink leggings and pink socks with the requisite pink headband.  She has also paired the dress with black leggings and her new brown dress shoes (with pink bejeweled ladybugs), white tights with black polka dots and black leggings with multi-colored polka dots.  The dress is currently in the washer following a fun afternoon session with Crayola Washable (thankfully) markers.  We'll see how it comes out.  I'm thinking of instituting a new rule where you can't wear the same outfit (i.e. dress) two days in a row.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Tupperware, etc.

I love Tupperware products.  I also think the invention of the semi-disposable food container was one of the best in the last decade.  Thus, I have a lot of different food containers.  The age-old problem is how to organize them all.  In our Denver house I had two large shelves in a cupboard with everything at eye-level.  When we moved to Waverly I kind of just shoved everything into a couple larger drawers.  I didn't take the time to sort through them and match lids & containers.  They really needed to be stacked just so in order to get the drawers closed.  After awhile there was not much rhyme or reason to anything.  As you can probably guess, this has been driving me nuts since the day we moved in, but it hadn't quite made it to the top of the priority list.  Until today.  I didn't take a "before" picture, but it was a mess. 

I began by taking every plastic storage container out and matching the appropriate lid.  This is what was left without a partner.  I don't know how in the world that many containers disappeared without the lids.  I'm sure a few of them are currently being used as organizers elsewhere in the house or garage.

After culling the mismatches, this was my collection with quite a few other containers still in rotation (i.e. in the fridge/freezer/cupboards/dishwasher).

I then cleaned out out three drawers in the island and moved my baking dishes, bowls & measuring cups to the drawers the containers came from.  I'm going to experiment with this and see how I like the set up.  It's definitely going to take awhile to get used to it.  I don't normally move things around once I set up a kitchen.  Below are pictures of the newly organized drawers with similar shaped/sized containers nested inside each other and a "filing" system for the lids in a shoe box.  We'll see how long it lasts!

Happy Birthday Grandma Lorenzen!

This Saturday all the kids/grandkids surprised Austin's mom by coming to celebrate her 50th birthday.  It was a fun-filled day!  Here are some of the highlights:

Fun in the snow

Lincoln thought Grandma's balloon was the best

Helping Grandma blow out her candles

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Boogity, boogity, boogity

Let's go racing boys!

Thank goodness for the beginning of NASCAR season to tide us over until football season starts again!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Valentine cookies

It wouldn't be a holiday without Emily & I making frosted cut-out cookies!  This time I tried a chocolate recipe a friend suggested along with my regular one.  I frosted and Emily was in charge of the sprinkles and M&M's.  We had to do quite a bit of negotiating on how many M&M's had to be "tried" during the decorating process.  Emily made her own "special" cookie to eat.  She was even dressed for the occasion.  :o)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Big crib

Lincoln reached yet another milestone when I had to lower his crib mattress.  He had managed to stretch and reach up high enough to catch the bears on his mobile and pull it down on top of himself a couple times already.  Then I walked into his room in the morning to find him sitting up in bed looking over the railing.  So down it went.  Although not terribly complicated, it's annoying enough to change the mattress level that I went ahead and put it all the way to the bottom.  Now Lincoln looks much smaller in his new "big" crib!

I also had to put away the hearth decorations, remove the knobs, pull in the cord and tape the fireplace doors shut this afternoon.  Good thing it actually doesn't even work.  Between that and the computer tower Lincoln has heard, "No, no, no!" a lot lately!

Pretty walls

Yesterday afternoon Austin & I were both getting some computer work done while Lincoln was napping and Emily was playing quietly in her room.  After a while Emily came down the stairs and declared, "My walls are pretty!"  Given her recent interest in all things drawing, I thought I better go investigate.  Thankfully, I did not find marker, crayon, paint or any other disasterous mediums.  Instead, Emily had discovered the hidden stash of wall decals that match her bedding set in the top drawer in her closet.  She had taken it upon herself to add a personal touch to her wall decor.  These stickers peel off easily and don't leave too much paint damage, so it's perfectly okay if she decides to rearrange them once in awhile.  Phew!

Fashion note:  With her two favorite dresses in the wash, Emily also discovered the cute collection of corduroy jumper dresses we inherited from a friend.  I'm having a hard time convincing her that you're supposed to wear a shirt under the dress, though.  She was wearing one when we went to church under a pink flower jumper.  And yes, she was also wearing the polka-dot tights that are really one size too big and sag around her ankles.  In fact, she wore them again today along with at least 4 different dresses from her closet.  She ditched them this afternoon, though, and exchanged them for jeans.  I had to do a double-take.  I don't know the last time she wore jeans.  Then I remembered one of the reasons why when she had an accident. :op

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Bathtub babies

One of my all-time favorite pictures of Emily is her standing by the bathtub watching the water run when she was 8 months old.  I took a similar one of Lincoln today.  When we remodel the bathroom upstairs I'm planning to blow them up to 8x10 black & whites to hang in frames on the wall (thanks for the idea, Brandi!).  Aren't they precious?!? :o)

Big bathtub

Lincoln took his first bath in the big bathtub this afternoon.  He had started trying to crawl out of the little blue plastic one, so it was time.  He loved it--especially being able to swim like a frog on his belly.  I'm not ready to stick him in the tub with Emily yet, but we may get there...some day.

In another big step forward, Lincoln finally figured out how to coordinate his hands & knees to crawl this afternoon.  It's still not very consistent or graceful, but watch out world!

Friday, February 5, 2010

More art

Emily caught on to "mommy thinks my drawings are neat" pretty quickly because she spent a large chunk of yesterday afternoon drawing on the Magna-doodle and after every scratching saying, "Mommy, Mommy, look what I did!" and then insisting that I take her picture.  Below is a picture of her first self-portrait.  Then she got into suns.  Lots of suns.  Especially with smiley faces.  One of her best ones is below.  Today she has changed mediums.  The desk is now covered with pages of computer paper filled with circles and smiley-faced suns drawn with an ink pen.  Let's hope she just sticks to paper and doesn't start experimenting on the walls! ;o)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Art by Emily

Emily surprised me with some advanced drawing skills this afternoon.  Before this I had really only observed scribbles, solid coloring, or the occasional wobbly circle.  She has spent a lot of time lately playing with her coloring box and the Magna-doodle, as well as listening to stories from a new children's Bible on CD.  This was the result!  You can watch the video for the explanation of her drawings.

Garden [of Eden] with a snake

"Tippy boat" (i.e. Jesus calms the storm)

P.S.  Yes, she was back in the Christmas dress by this point in the day.  And what's going on with her funky bang hair-do?  I attempted to cut her bangs dry a couple weeks ago by bribing her with a video or something.  They need more help than I can give them.  It doesn't help that Emily insists on just sticking her headbands on top of her head resulting in a hippy-like hair-do.  If I try to place it correctly with her hair tucked behind her ears she just rips it out and slams it back on her way.  Double sigh.

Fashion follow-up

I know everyone has been on the edge of their seats wondering about the fate of the Christmas dresses!  After Emily spilled on the butterfly dress on Saturday (30th) I washed all the dresses as soon as she went to bed and set up the ultimate test before she woke up in the morning.

This is what Emily looked like coming down the stairs on Sunday morning.

Emily ended up wearing the Christmas dress most of the day on Sunday (31st) even though we didn't make it to church on account of her green, runny nose and general family fatigue.

However, this was the get-up on Monday morning.  Poor George!

She was wearing the same thing on Tuesday morning, but I told her she couldn't wear the butterfly dress to the grocery store because it was too cold.  So this is what she came up with. (Notice she also always changes headbands to match--the girl's got some fashion sense.)

Watch out, Hy-Vee!  Maybe I should have stuck with the Christmas dresses. :op  At least she did it willingly.  However, the minute we stepped in the door back at home she put the butterfly dress on again.  We made a trip to Waterloo later in the afternoon.  Again, she willingly changed into a shirt (a different purple/brown one), but immediately put the dress back on as soon as we got home.

This morning she came down the stairs in the butterfly dress again, but I actually convinced her to wear a truly matching outfit (I picked the shirt that went with the purple leggings she already had on) with satisfactory socks/shoes to the library for story time.  There is hope!  I didn't get a picture before the butterfly dress was back on again, though.  Sigh.