Friday, April 30, 2010

April 2010 video player

42 months old

We made it to 3 1/2!  Emily is sporting her current favorite outfit in this picture.  It never stays on the hanger for more than 12 hours (not that much does these days) and gets washed every laundry day.  It started out as a really cute Wal-mart clearance item.  Between the twice/week washings, constant hand-wiping at meals/snacks and going through the wash once with a name tag sticker still on the back, it has seen better days.  This one probably won't be worth passing on.

In other Emily news, I think we have pretty much mastered potty training. (Hooray!)  After her success at Fazoli's a month ago she pretty much ditched the potty ring and insists on doing everything herself.  We still have incidents here and there, but it's not really anything to get uptight about.  The main thing is supervising to make sure she actually flushes and washes afterwards.  Also, we still have some issues with over-using toilet paper.  For some reason she thinks she needs to roll it up into a tight "cinnamon roll" and therefore, uses way too much compressed into tight little wads.

Emily has had some interesting changes verbally in the last month.  She now adds "tags" to the end of most of her sentences (e.g. "He threw the ball, didn't he?"  "I ate a cookie, didn't I?")  The one that drives me nuts is "I'm being nice, isn't I?"  No matter how many times she has been corrected she hasn't switched to "aren't I".  You become painfully aware of all the difficulties and inconsistencies of the English language.  She also says, "I and Daddy".  On a positive note, Emily is making progress on her beginning /th/ sound (vs. using /f/) thanks to a jump start from Grandma Boote. :o)  We practice a lot with "three," "think" and "throw."

One of the slightly odd changes is that Emily started calling me "Mama".  I'm sure it's due to an over-saturation of the Berenstain Bears. (Just a guess since she sometimes pretends to call Lizzy Bruin on the phone and tells me she's going to Lizzy's house to play.)  Once in a while she will refer to Austin as "Papa", but she usually still addresses him as "Daddy".  I can't decide if it annoys me or not.  For some reason it makes me feel like some old, southern lady with a twenty- or thirty-something-year-old son who still lives with his "momma".

An exciting development is Emily's completely unprompted attempts to write her name.  One day she told me she wrote her name and I thought, "Sure you did."  At first glance it just looked like a bunch of lines and squiggles, but if you look closer and turn it around a few times, you can definitely distinguish E-m-i-l-y.  Under it is a picture of balloons she drew for Lincoln's birthday. :o)

Some other great skills Emily has mastered this month are how to button buttons and buckle her own seat belt.  It still sometimes takes quite a bit of verbal prompting, but technically she is able to completely get in and out of the van on her own thanks to push-button power doors.

The Winkflash pictures for April are uploaded.  Beginning this month I'm going to put the monthly video player in a separate post.

Cupboard explorer

Lincoln's new favorite hobby is exploring/emptying kitchen cupboards.  Unfortunately, he only has three to choose from since there is an over-abundance of drawers (most of which are too heavy or hard for him to open) and the under-sink cupboard has a baby lock on it.  That leaves him the baking sheets, pots & pans and the only place the large plastic popcorn bowls and mixer fit.  The kitchen floor is usually a bit hazardous by the time supper is ready.

Watching & Waiting

I remember pulling up a chair/stool and anxiously watching cookies bake in the oven when I was a kid.  This was Emily today with fresh rhubarb muffins and "watching them grow".  I usually made it through at least half of the cookie baking time.  Emily made it about 30 seconds.  Then she got distracted with poking holes in her piece of bread and eventually abandoned the kitchen...until I pulled the muffins out of the oven.  I think I heard her say, "Mama, I want a muffin!" at least a hundred times.  After 10 minutes I finally gave in.  Then she screeched when she "burned" herself on the "hot" foil muffin cup after I told her she should wait for it to cool some more.  Then she squawked when the muffin ever so slightly cracked on one side because it was still warm when she tried to unwrap it.  She ended up smashing it in anger and refused to eat it period.  It's still sitting in the fridge on the same plate along with the one bite of pork chop she was supposed to try at supper.  It might be an interesting breakfast in the morning... ;o)


Every kid needs a picture like this, right?!?

Emily's picture/stories can be found here and here.  I didn't bother refolding or counting these.  I just kind of gathered them in a pile and shoved them back in. :o)

Monday, April 26, 2010

More messiness

I tried an experiment last week and did not touch a single thing in Emily's room for 4 days.  Here is a video of what happened:

Emily has obviously not inherited the Lorenzen neat freak gene.  There may be hope, though.  I was pretty messy when I was younger, too.  Emily also very willingly helped hang up clothes on hangers and did a great job while I picked up the rest of the floor yesterday.

But then she wasn't sleepy when we put her to bed last night.  We had a babysitter, so she was allowed to entertain herself until she was tired.  That's usually what she does anyway.  The only rule is that she has to stay upstairs and no playing in the bathroom.  The organized toy closet is upstairs, and she helps herself.  By the time she fell asleep all the Cooties were put together and all the Memory cards were lined up on her bedroom floor along with all her stuffed animals.  And every single Berenstain Bear book was in bed with her.  Thankfully, the Barrel of Monkeys and Lite Brite pegs were still in their respective containers.  I used to try to keep her books categorized on the shelves and toys sorted in bins.  Now I'd just be happy being able to walk across the floor barefoot without fear of injury!

It's not that Emily doesn't like/want to clean.  We usually fight over the Swiffer duster when I actually do get around to dusting.  She hauls it out on her own more often than I do.  She also hauls the broom out of the closet and tries to sweep the kitchen floor like Daddy.  Just now I went upstairs to investigate the eerie silence (always a red flag for me).  Behind a closed bathroom door Emily was "cleaning the potty".  She had made a little mess, and after watching me clean the bathroom last night during bath time with sanitary wipes, she decided to do the same.  The bathroom had an overpowering lemon scent and half the container of wipes was strung out across the floor.  Sigh. (I seem to *sigh* a lot in my blog posts lately.)  Some day I'm going to try to figure out how to harness that energy and enthusiasm.  For now, I could really use a nap. ;o)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Washington Irving playground - Waverly, IA

Today's featured park is the playground by the former Washington Irving Elementary School in Waverly.  This is the school that is being torn down because of flood damage.  It has become a favorite because it is located only 2 blocks from our house, we are the only ones ever there and it is interesting to watch the heavy equipment working on the demolition.  I don't know how much longer the play equipment will be there.  It has not been maintained in the two years following the flood.  It is still up in the air what the space will be used for in the future.  The school district currently owns it and is exploring the possibility of turning it over to the city.  In the meantime, we will probably make many more trips there this summer!

Lincoln likes peeking through the bars and looking out the "window".

He's quite the daredevil climbing up the steps and loves going down the slide.  I usually humor him once or twice by going down together.  After pretty much avoiding them all last summer, slides are Emily's favorite things this summer.  This past weekend she set a new record by going down this twisty slide 25 times in the span of 30 minutes.  Of course, when I had the camera today she refused.  I think it had a lot to do with her apparel.  She figured out pretty quickly after one trip down the slide that a skort and slippery flip-flops are not the best attire for playing at the park.  ;o)

Emily did agree to pose on the bridge.  This is something else that she refused to go on last summer.

There is also some obstacle course equipment.  Emily loves swinging on all the bars.

Before we went to the park today I thought we'd enjoy a special treat since the Dairy Queen just happens to be another 2 blocks past the park and they just happen to be running a Buy One Get the Second for $.25 special in honor of the 25th anniversary of the Blizzard this week.  I haven't had a Blizzard in months and really wanted to try the new Ooey, Gooey Caramel Brownie (so-so).  It's a good thing that second one was so cheap because Emily took all of two bites of her M&M Blizzard (which resulted in at least 5 drips of chocolate ice cream on her brand new shirt) before she declared that she was done and wanted to go look at the school falling down.  I, however, managed to down my Blizzard and half of Emily's before Emily ran out of patience and Lincoln ran out of raisins.  And I had the ice cream headache to prove it. Sigh.  With a husband who doesn't eat sweets period and a finicky daughter who is completely unpredictable, Lincoln may be my only hope for an ice cream buddy.  Maybe that's a good thing.  Living within walking distance of a DQ is a bit dangerous! ;o)

Monday, April 19, 2010

11 months old

We're almost to a year already!  Although Lincoln hasn't been officially weighed, I think he finally broke 19 lbs. on our bathroom scale at home.  He continues to crawl and cruise with ease and will balance for a few seconds on his feet until he realizes what he's doing or gets distracted.

The two big "tricks" Lincoln learned this month are shaking his head "No" (even though it doesn't necessarily mean "no") and clapping his hands.  It took a lot of snapshots to try to get a picture of him without his hands clapping in front of his face.  I liked this one best anyway. :o)

Another thing Lincoln has discovered is wheels.  He is fascinated by anything with wheels.  He likes to push a car/truck/train back and forth.  He likes tipping over Emily's baby doll stroller and spinning the double wheels.  He also loves the Cozy Coupe and can now just barely reach the ground enough to be able to push himself backwards.

In the eating department Lincoln loves any kind of fruit.  He also seems to recognize if you have something that he doesn't and lets you know if he wants it!  This is especially true with strawberries.  I confess to going against all medical advice and feeding my less-than-one-year-old strawberries.  Not only that, but Lincoln is drinking whole milk at both lunch & dinner.  I quickly cut back to only a morning nursing at the beginning of the month after a couple biting incidents.  Lincoln never blinked about drinking milk from a sippy cup or about dropping those feedings.  I don't think it will be much problem at all weaning him completely sometime in the next few weeks.

One thing I have really enjoyed and cherished with Lincoln over the past month is cuddling before putting him down to sleep.  Emily never sat still or close for more than 2 seconds, so I never knew what "cuddling" was until Lincoln came along.  While Emily preferred 2-3 books, Lincoln often prefers just a cuddle and a song as part of the bedtime routine.  And that's just fine with me. :o)

And just for fun, here are the 11-month-old pictures from Emily & Lincoln.  Lincoln needs a little sun. ;o)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Shinkle Park - Hartley, IA

One of our stops on the drive to Hull was at Shinkle Park in Hartley, IA.  I give it two thumbs up for nice, new equipment, brand new baby swings, a nostalgic domed jungle gym, a fun swing bench, a beautiful wooden gazebo (not pictured), and especially for having decent, unlocked restrooms when we really needed it!

Trip to Hull

The kids & I spent a few days in Hull with my family this past week.  It was the first trip back by myself since Lincoln was a little baby and would sleep the whole way.  The 4+ hour drive went smoothly both directions, so I'm not as nervous about doing it more often this summer.  Here are some highlights:

Emily got to ride in the big tractor with Grandpa Boote while feeding the cows.  She thought it was pretty bumpy!

The three cousins together.  Poor Ryan was having a bit of a grumpy day.  The pictures with Grandpa & Grandma didn't go so well.  Not that my kids cooperated much better.  Ahem.
Lincoln with Cousin Ryan who is 4 1/2 months younger.  Ryan has now passed Lincoln up in the weight category.  Like my sister said, it takes talent to have a roll in the middle of your forearm. ;o)  For more cute pictures of the two little boys together click here and here.

Auntie Abbie tried to get Emily to touch her nose with her tongue. :op
I also got to go to some of the city-wide garage sales with my sister, Courtney, (who scouted out the best ones before I arrived) and celebrate her birthday with the whole family.  Along with a trip to the consignment shops in Rock Valley, naps and a healthy dose of Twins baseball it was a great time! 

Side note: On the way home the kids & I stopped at McDonald's for supper and a stretch.  For better or worse, Lincoln got his first taste of a cheeseburger & fries, and he was definitely "lovin' it."  (I know I'm a terrible mom for feeding my not-yet-11-month-old greasy McDonald's, but it worked.)  I'm pretty sure he could have put away half a Happy Meal if we sat there long enough.  Also, the new Mocha Frappe was pretty good. :o)

Tour of Parks

My new goal for the summer is to find/visit all the parks in Waverly.  Or at least the ones with a playground.  Both kids love going to the park, and it's a nice outing during those "special" late afternoon hours. ;o)  The city web site has a great page listing all the parks maintained by the city along with their location, a description of what is there and even some pictures.  At least 10 of the 22 parks listed have some type of play equipment.  With an additional 4 elementary playgrounds in the city, we should have no problem finding a fun and interesting place to play!  We have already visited the four closest to our house.  I will go back and document those along with any new ones we visit this summer.  Now if only Lincoln would be more interested in walking and less interested in eating pea gravel...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A taste of the sandbox

Lincoln got his first taste of the sandbox--literally.  He had a lot of fun feeling it and even sort of scooping it with a shovel (check out that squat form!).  But inevitably his hands went in his mouth.  I think he was more upset by my reaction than the actual taste of sand.  Luckily, he's drooling enough these days that it all kind of comes out on its own without too much effort. :o)


Emily's new passion is picking dandelions.  It's turning into a daily event to search around the whole yard and gather anything yellow.  We don't mind because at least it keeps them from reproducing!  I showed her how to split the stems and watch them curl up in water.  Pretty cool!

Emily is attempting to pick all the violets, too.  They are a bit overwhelming.  This glass of violets has been sitting on the nightstand in her room for two days. :o)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A haircut...FINALLY!

Emily FINALLY got a desperately needed haircut today.  We made an attempt 2 weeks ago, but after taking 10 minutes to make it into the salon, 5 minutes hiding underneath the waiting chairs and another 10 minutes pouting/tantruming in the entryway, I decided to just leave and try again later rather than causing an even bigger fuss in front of six ladies.  Luckily, it's my old neighbor, and she has two little kids of her own, so she totally understood.  There were some con-ta-quences for her behavior that day, but as an added incentive, I have been withholding her new sandbox sand ever since.  It has been sitting in bags in the sandbox waiting for her to get her haircut.  That did the trick (along with an hour nap in the van while running errands in Waterloo and pumping her full of snacks & lemonade).  She sat perfectly still like a little angel the whole time.  She even willingly wore a cape.  Since she was sitting there so nice I had my neighbor whack it off pretty short.  I also decided to go through the painful process of growing her bangs back out, so there will be some more bad hair days in the future. :op  Below are pictures of her finally enjoying her sandbox and a better shot of her new haircut after it was washed.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Violets & Pinecones


Backyard swing

Austin hung up a swing for Lincoln on a tree in the backyard today.  I purchased it from a neighbor's garage sale in Denver two years ago.  It will be great to have a place to contain/entertain Lincoln while Emily runs around the backyard.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Boat baskets

What do you do on a rainy, dreary day?  Pretend to sail down a river (yoga mat) in boats (laundry baskets).

Monday, April 5, 2010

Vacuum love affair

No, the title of this blog post does not refer to me.  And not even so much to Austin.  Neither of us mind vacuuming, and the chore has become easier now that we are dog-less.  The title refers to the kids.  It's hard to vacuum when Lincoln is awake because he is so enthralled with the thing that he chases you around trying to get it.  When the vacuum is stationary he is examining it closely and has pulled it down on top of himself more than once.  The closet where we store the vacuum has a door that doesn't latch tight and Lincoln knows it.  This love affair is not new to us, however.  Emily was much the same way.  Below are some pictures of Lincoln and Emily at approximately the same age with their friend, the vacuum cleaner.  (Too bad it probably won't be the same when they're big enough to actually vacuum!)