Wednesday, June 30, 2010

June 2010 video player

44 months old

Emily is now 44 months old and developing faster than ever.  She has now officially entered the 20 1,000 questions stage.  They aren't all "why?" but they may as well be.  Sometimes they are funny.  Sometimes they are interesting.  Sometimes I don't quite know how to answer them.  And sometimes I just want to pull my hair out.  Here is a sample conversation from snack time today involving crackers:
"Mommy, what shape are the crackers?"
"It's called a hexagon."
"What shape are they?"
"A hexagon."
"What shape are they, Mommy?"
"What do they look like?"
"A stop sign."
"It's kind of like a stop sign." (Yes, I know a stop sign is actually an octagon, but we weren't going to even go there.)
"What shape are they?"
"I already answered that question."
"What shape are they?"
"What shape are they?"
More silence
"What shape are they, Mommy?"
"I'm going to answer one more time.  It's called a hexagon.  Now you may not ask me again today."
"Okay. I won't, I won't.  I'll ask you tomorrow."
Some other funny Emily-isms: bresbeck = breakfast, beh-zert = dessert.  When buzzing Lincoln's hair with the clippers over the weekend she asked why we were sawing Lincoln's hair off.  On a couple of occasions I have called Lincoln, "honey".  Emily immediately corrected me by saying, "No, Lincoln is 'buddy', I'm 'honey.'"  We're trying to figure out hot & cold.  I'm not sure if Emily has them straight yet.  She talks about being "brr," but not always in the right context.

We solved a big mystery this month.  All during the school year Emily has talked about "Camry" from Sunday School.  She always had to show things to Camry and thought that Camry would like her dress, etc.  We just always assumed there was a little girl in her class by that name and they were friends.  However, while paging through the new church directory last week Emily stopped and pointed to "Camry".  It turns out that she had been referring to her favorite teacher who had kind of taken Emily under her wing.  Her real name is Deb.  She laughed when I told her about it last Sunday.  She had never heard Emily call her "Camry".

The Berenstain Bears and the Bad Dream (First Time Books(R))Emily is big into dreams lately, probably because of The Berenstain Bears and the Bad Dream. We're not really sure if she actually dreams or not, but when asked in the morning if she dreamed the night before she usually has an answer.  It's usually about foxes and/or birthdays.

Thomas & Friends: 10 Years of Thomas & Friends - Best Friends
Emily is also suddenly really into Thomas & Friends.  I'm sure this is in large part due to spending a lot of time lately with her cousins, Asher & Seth.  Of course, it doesn't hurt that one of the engines is named Emily. ;o)  It's what she requests to watch while I'm showering in the mornings (PTL for DVR).  She randomly bursts out singing the theme song.  And she likes to draw lots of little dots and connect them to make a picture.  It took me a while to "connect the dots" and figure out what she was doing.  Sometime I need to actually sit down and watch a few episodes with her so I know what she's talking about!

One skill Emily has practiced a lot this month is holding her pencil/pen/crayon/marker correctly.  She's doing really well.  She has also switched from single-color solid-coloring to multiple color selection for different objects more-or-less in the lines (see examples).  The whole drawing/coloring development pattern fascinates me, so that's why I'm recording it here. 

Visit from a dear friend

Angie was my best friend from 7th grade all the way through college and the maid of honor in our wedding.  In the years since we have remained close even when we were miles apart.  Phone calls are nice, but getting together in person is always a special treat.  Since Austin was out of town, Angie came to visit for two days.  It was fun to talk literally non-stop for hours (which we never have a problem doing no matter how long it has been), watch her dote on the kids (books, puzzles, walks, etc.), indulge in some special treats (DQ & chocolate chip oatmeal birthday cake) and stay up too late watching a movie (which turned out to be slightly maddening when we discovered that the last 10 minutes were missing because an NBA game had delayed the start time and the DVR quit recording at the designated stop time--good thing I found it playing on another obscure channel next week so I can record it again!).

Angie is moving to Washington, D.C. in a month and beginning another new chapter in her life, which I am so excited and happy for her.  We will certainly see each other in the future, but it will probably never be quite the same, so it was a very bittersweet good-bye.  I love you, girl!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

New look

I am experimenting with a new look for the blog.  I have been wanting to do this for months.  It is a work in progress.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

First words and more steps

I'm ready to officially declare Lincoln's first words as "Da-da" and "Mum-mum".  Every time he saw Austin today he pointed and said "da-da" and he says "mum-mum" often when I'm around.  In addition to words and a new haircut, Lincoln has also turned a corner and now attempts to walk more than crawl.  He can stand up in the middle of a room without using anything to pull himself up and take off from there.  He's still pretty wobbly and often does a hard sit-down or face-plant before reaching his intended destination, but it's improving by the day.  He can almost make it all the way across a room.  Look out world!

Hack job

I gave in.  We cut Lincoln's hair today.  Short.  Because as cute as it may be, this obviously wasn't working:

Lincoln has been using his food as hair gel for the last couple weeks.  He HATES having his hair washed, so it ended up just being crusty and sticky-outy (professional salon term) most of the time.  I really didn't want to totally buzz his head.  And I'm really not a fan of the whole let-it-go/long-shaggy-hair look on boys.  But in between seems to take a lot of maintenance.  Since I have no hair skills whatsoever, and my hairdresser friend who has trimmed Lincoln's hair a few times is moving away next week, we had had to go for something somewhat easy.  So out came the clippers I used to use on Austin's hair.  I strapped Lincoln in the booster seat on the deck, put on the 1/2" guard and took a deep breath.  This is kind of how I felt about it, too:

It took two rounds, but we got most of it done.  There is still some trimming fixes that need to be done.  And I really need more practice with a scissors.  I personally think saving baby hair is a little bit grotesque, so here's a picture for Lincoln's baby book:

Now it's really short, and it's going to take a little getting used to.  But for summer and the whole food-in-the-hair stage I think it's going to work much better for everyone involved.  We can always grow it back out again in the fall.  Maybe I'll have to take some night classes at beauty school. ;o)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Reflections on being 30

It was my 30th birthday yesterday.  I have honestly been dreading the day for over a year.  Thirty just sounded so old.  Was I really that grown up already?  You'd think that a college degree, almost seven years of marriage, two children and three houses later I would feel like an adult.  Not really.  I was stuck on 18 all through college.  Then I got married and was stuck on 23 until I had a baby.  I've been stuck on 27 ever since. 

But I think I've turned a corner.  I felt oddly at peace yesterday with this calming sense of maturity about me.  I don't say that to sound arrogant, but only to try and describe what I was feeling.  So rather than feeling "old" I simply feel more "mature".  It's a good feeling.  Like I've finally arrived (although I'm not sure exactly where!). 

I'm coming to grips with what bodily aging means.  I discovered and admitted a few weeks ago that I do indeed have some silver hairs (silver sounds so much more elegant than gray).  I realize that the combination of middle age and having two babies means my body will never look exactly like it did on my wedding day.  I know that when I feel all achy from sitting in the same spot too long it's only going to get worse. ;o)

But aging has its perks, too.  I am much more self-aware and understand how God has uniquely wired me.  I can see that in other people, too.  I feel like I can handle more than I thought I could before.  I finally feel old enough to be a mom.

Anyway, enough of the introspective ramblings.  I had a good day, although it began at 4:00am when Austin's alarm went off because I had forgotten to double-check that it was turned off the night before (he had to catch an early flight out of Cedar Rapids the day before).  Emily helped make a birthday cake--oatmeal chocolate chip. favorite.  It isn't meant to have frosting, but Emily insisted that it have sprinkles anyway.  So it ended up with melty yellow moons and blue stars.  Then Emily worked hard on making me some Happy Birthday faces--how sweet.  I was pretty impressed with her cutting and gluing skills! 

We had play group in Denver in the morning, and I picked up some Pizza Ranch pizza for lunch.  I got to take a bit of a nap in the afternoon before relaxing in a deck chair with my feet in the pool while Emily splashed around.

Bless his heart, Austin had made secret plans for a babysitter to show up so he could take me out for a surprise birthday dinner.  However, the plans fell through at the last minute.  But that's okay.  It's the thought that counts!  We still enjoyed my favorite meal of ham balls, cheesy potatoes and fresh steamed broccoli.  I even wore our new birthday crown. :o)  Since both kids took late naps we attempted to take a family walk after dinner with the intention of going to DQ for ice cream, but that didn't work out so well either.  We made it a couple blocks, went home to put the kids to bed and then enjoyed some quiet time just relaxing on the front porch watching the fireflies dancing across the lawn while the stars came out.  Not a bad way to usher in a new decade of adventures!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The ants go marching...

Here's a handy hint: When your daughter makes the comment from the other room, "Mommy, I'm watching the ants," you should maybe quick check it out instead of nodding with a "mm-hmm" and continuing to try and catch up on blogging.  After hearing this twice in 20 minutes I finally got up and discovered an entire ant colony that had hatched and was invading our living room through the cracks surrounding the wall air-conditioner unit.  There were some worker ants, a few larger winged queens, and hundreds of winged males. (Who says you can't learn anything in elementary science class?!? ;o)  I immediately grabbed the vacuum and starting sucking them up with the attachment hose.  However, within 30 seconds there were more ants swarming out.  This process repeated itself numerous times over the next hour until Lincoln woke up from his nap and we wanted to go to the pool.  Then it dawned me to get out some painter's tape and seal the openings.  It's a very temporary fix, but it did the job.  I haven't seen a live ant in the house since, although our vacuum canister is full of dead ones!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

13 months old

Lincoln is now 13 months old and getting steadier on his feet every day.  He usually tries to take a couple steps between toys/furniture/people now instead of automatically dropping to his hands and knees.  He loves pushing wheeled things around--especially Emily's pink baby doll stroller.  While it's not very masculine-looking, it is helping him improve his balance and control.  He must be observing Emily, too, because one day I found him pushing it around with his bib as the passenger. :o)

With more time spent outdoors these days, Lincoln has decided he really doesn't like the feel of grass, cement, rocks or the wet, slippery deck on his knees.  At times he resorts to a funny bear crawl (see video).  I'm hoping that encourages and speeds up the walking progress.  We also got out the bubble-blowing mower he got for his birthday from Grandpa & Grandma Lorenzen.  Both Lincoln & Emily love it, although Lincoln can't quite push it fast enough to make the bubbles blow out.

Lincoln's top two teeth are FINALLY, FINALLY starting to poke through.  It has seriously been three months of false alarms, drool and Tylenol waiting for those suckers to make an appearance.  They still have a ways to go before they become useful yet.  After the first one broke through the gums Lincoln's appetite soared.  This was encouraging since I still don't think he has broken 20 lbs.  After his 1-year check-up and finger prick his hemoglobin levels came back low.  I'm sure this is because of an iron deficiency in his diet since I stopped spoon-feeding him iron-fortified baby cereal at 9 months and he has never really cared that much for Cheerios or other iron-fortified dry cereals.  Since I really want to avoid resorting to iron supplement drops if I can at all help it, I'm trying to increase the iron in his diet.  I bought another box of baby cereal and have been adding it to yogurt.  Lincoln is still against being spoon-fed, so now he is practicing feeding himself with a spoon!  I have been pretty impressed by how well he has done.  Some days are better than others.  It also brings mealtimes to a whole new level of messy.  That baby cereal is nasty, sticky, grimy stuff that sticks like glue when it dries.  Whether by handfuls or spoonfuls, Lincoln still seems to be quite ambidextrous when it comes to eating.

I'm not sure if it's related to teething, night after night of thunderstorms, a topsy-turvy schedule from traveling or a combination of all of the above, but Lincoln's sleeping habits have been all over the place lately.  I'm wondering if he's starting to transition from two naps to one nap a day.  Emily did at this age.  I'm having mixed feelings about it, so I'm not sure whether to experiment or push it.

Lincoln has also become a lot chattier and more vocal the last few days.  There is still not enough meaning assigned to his babbling to declare a first word, but it's getting close!

Photo trip

As mentioned in the last post, Austin was out of town most of the week on business.  He was scheduled to fly into Des Moines on Friday night where his parents would pick him up.  We were then going to join him on Saturday morning.  However, the kids and I went down to Des Moines on Friday morning to spend some extra time with Grandpa & Grandma Lorenzen and I surprised Austin at the airport.  The rest of Austin's siblings & families also came to take family pictures on Saturday afternoon (I will post the photos later.)  The cousins had a grand time playing together.  Since I feel like I have endless packing space in our van I brought along our water table, which was a hit (see video).  Emily also tried her hand at beanbags, which she called "jeanbags." 
It was a full house of overnight guests. Emily and her cousin Asher slept in the same room. They thought it was pretty fun! It took at least four trips to the bathroom between the two of them and entailed lots of giggling and whispering, but they eventually fell asleep.  Lincoln loved walking around with the walker toy.  When his cousin James, who is 3 months younger and also just took his first steps, came we had some sharing issues. :o)  All in all it was a fun trip!

Thursday, June 17, 2010


While glancing through the Waverly newspapers during storytime at the library this morning I learned that there is a free summer concert series on Thursday nights at Kohlmann Park here in Waverly.  Tonight was kids' night.  Since Austin was out of town, I decided we'd eat an early supper and give it a shot.  We got to the park in plenty of time only to find out that because of the strong wind and an approaching storm system the whole thing had been moved to the high school.  So we packed up and went there.  I'm so glad we did!  Along with free popcorn and lemonade there was a magic act by Eric the Extraordinaire.  It was perfect because Emily & I had just read a book the night before that mentioned a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat.  The last trick Eric did was turn a live dove into a live rabbit.  Emily was impressed!  Emily also enjoyed her balloon hat. :o)  The Greater Waverly Municipal Band performed afterwards in the school auditorium, but it was time to go home and take baths.  It will be fun to listen to the band sometime when they're at the park.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I'm still here!

I'm so far behind on blogging.  I just posted something from 1 1/2 weeks ago.  Many more posts to come.  They will be back-dated, so you may need to scroll down below this post to catch everything.  Bear with me.  Exhausted = must go to bed.

Waverly pool

The next step up from a purple pool at home is the Waverly city pool.  It is located between the "castle park" and the fairgrounds only 5 blocks from our house.  Along with two slides and a diving board in the big pool, Waverly has an awesome baby pool with zero-entry and a cool alligator tethered to the bottom for climbing on.  We made our first of many trips there today.  Our Denver playgroup met us there, too.  It was the perfect pool day, therefore it was PACKED!  I was really curious how Emily would react since this would be her first time in any kind of public pool.  I was slightly surprised and incredibly relieved to discover that she LOVED it!  I didn't even have our stuff set down and sandels off before she was in the middle of all the kids jumping around and making new friends.  She even tried sticking her face in the water a couple times.  She has to work on keeping her mouth closed. ;o) 

We did take one quick trip to the big pool while the other moms watched Lincoln.  Emily had on her fancy pink arm floties.  However, as soon as she figured out she wouldn't be able to touch the bottom with her feet she wanted to go back to the baby pool.  I'm just fine with that for now.  It's better than her always begging to go in the big pool and trying to manage two of them by myself.  I was also extremely relieved that we didn't have any accidents in the pool.  Emily had three productive trips to the bathroom during the 1.5 hours we were there, so we spent some quality time in the bath house trying to hike up a wet swimming suit (I'm now totally okay with it being a little big for her), but it was way better than the alternative!!

Lincoln did great, too, especially since his nap schedule was totally off for the day and he should have been very tired.  Of course, he was mostly interested in climbing in and out and standing along the chain-link fence watching all the kids in the big pool. :o)

Not a fan...

A swim hat? Really, Ma?!?

Purple pool

Since Emily has definitely outgrown the little blow-up pool, we "invested" in a cheap 60" round plastic pool this week.  Emily has literally spent hours in it already.  Throw in a new turtle blow-up ring and she's in heaven!

Lincoln has enjoyed the pool, too.  However, he seems to be more interested in climbing in and climbing out.  You have to be right behind him whenever he's remotely close to the pool.  He has already done a head-first dive into it twice.  Thankfully, he got over the shock of it within 30 seconds and was fine each time.

What Lincoln really loves to do is climb up on chairs.  After awhile I just have to put them away in the garage.  That's where the little picnic table lives most of the time, too.  This was right after he fell in the pool the second time.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Today Is MondayWhat do you do when you return home from a week where the kids were spoiled with fun activities and people ready to play at every turn?  You haul out a new "toy"!  Three years ago a very good friend loaned me her nice keyboard when she got a real piano (still holding out for that someday).  Although I have hardly ever played it, Emily dabbled with it a few times and remembers "sitting high on a stool at my old house."  It was still packed in the box in the basement from our move, so I decided to haul it out after reading/singing the book Today is Monday illustrated by Eric Carle with Emily.  The simple melody is printed in the back and Emily was intrigued.  She was even more intrigued by the extensive song list of pre-programmed tunes on the keyboard.  I'm starting to grow weary of hearing "My Heart Will Go On" which is the first song when you push the "Demo" button. :op  The "Star Wars" theme song is second.  I can handle that one. ;o)

Of course, Lincoln is fascinated, too.  Setting the keyboard on top of the dress-up box makes it the perfect height for both of them.  There have been a few tiffs over pressing buttons, but the two of them have done surprisingly well together.  Here's to at least piquing their interest in music! (How's that for a $.50 vocabulary word?!?)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Vacation at Grandma & Grandpa's

The kids & I spent last week in NW Iowa visiting family and "vacationing" at my parents' house.  It was an eventful week.  Here's the rundown...  (Note: My sister has an awesome blog and did a great job documenting much of the week with humor.  Links to her posts and others are included within this post with the tan-colored words.)

We drove to NW Iowa on Monday.  It was fun to have a friend/former Denver neighbor and her two girls ride along with us because the trip was extra long.  We stopped for a picnic lunch at the school playground in Clarion.  Then between road construction detours, flaggers and dropping our friends off in Alton it was almost 1 1/2 hours longer than straight-through.  Once we arrived Emily's treat for the evening was helping Auntie Abbie give Milo a bath.  She screeched when Milo shook and got her all wet (see video).

On Tuesday the kids and I headed to LeMars to visit all of Austin's grandparents and his sister & kids.  We had nice visits with everyone and Emily got to show off her bike-riding skills.  We also got to enjoy lunch from Bob's Drive-In.  In the afternoon/evening both of my sisters and families came over for supper.  I made a deal with Abbie that if she took my kids on a walk I'd mow her lawn.  It was a win-win.  I haven't mowed a lawn since high school and running the big Dixon mower from the farm is just plain fun.  I was a little rusty, but I got the job done.  The kids had fun, too.  Below are some pictures stolen from my sister's blog. 

They went to the City Park.  Emily, Lincoln and Cousin Ryan are quite the combo!  The kids also assisted Auntie Abbie in voting in the primary election. 

Wednesday was a gorgeous day.  Emily & I went swimming in Auntie Abbie's backyard pool.  This was the first time Emily had been in something deeper than bathwater.  The water was still pretty chilly and she was content just to sit on top of the air mattress (see video).  So was I! ;o)

In the evening my parents hosted my Dad's side of the family because my oldest cousin and her family were in town from Michigan.  They have three little boys, and I hadn't seen them since I was 8 months pregnant with Emily!  One of the fun things was taking pictures of the three great-grandsons who are within 5 months of each other.  Hudson was born between Lincoln and my nephew, Ryan.

Everyone also enjoyed my parents' beautiful backyard until the bugs started eating us alive.

One of my cousin's sons, Gramm, was born with spina bifida.  He is now 4 years old and doing amazing after lots of intensive therapy.  Even though he can't feel anything from his knees down, he can walk as fast as anyone using two canes (see video).  Emily was fascinated by them and called them "crunches." 

Thursday held a little adventure in the pouring rain.  Emily had been complaining of classic UTI symptoms for almost two days, so I decided I better try to get her in to see a local doctor.  We made it in and out of the office with the assurance that everything was perfectly healthy and normal.  Terrific.  As promised, we made a stop at the The Foreign Candy Company outlet store across the street from the doctor's office for some of "Aunt Courtney's candy". (My sister is the marketing manager for TFFC and the brand manager for their top-selling product: Rips Licorice--now available at Wal-mart!)  Among our loot was a giant lollipop Emily picked out.

Also on Thursday we attempted the obligatory "cousins" picture.  This is the best of what my sister got. 

I got terribly sick overnight on Thursday into Friday like I haven't been since I got food-poisoning in high school. Thankfully, there were plenty of people willing to take care of the kids while I rested and re-hydrated. It also worked out fine for everyone for us to stay an extra day. I was in no shape to travel home as originally planned! I was feeling a little better in the evening, so we made a quick trip up to Rock Rapids to go fishing in the river. That adventure lasted about 30 minutes. My dad spent more time prepping poles and untangling fishing line than actually fishing. Emily's attention span lasted about 2 minutes with the hook actually staying in the water no longer than 30 seconds. She did manage to catch herself at one point! ;o) She was more interested in holding the worms (eww!--see video) and checking out the playground than sitting still waiting for fish. We didn't catch anything anyway. It had been stormy almost every night and the river was running pretty fast.

Emily also went to the park, swam in Abbie & Wade's pool again and went golfing 10 holes with Abbie & Wade on Friday afternoon.  She had never been golfing before.  She got to set the tees, hold the flags and even help drive the golf cart.  She may have even hacked at a few balls.  What a lucky (and tired) girl!

The other highlights of the week for Emily were playing board games and working on her beginning /th/ sound.  My mom has an endless supply of games used in speech therapy over the years as well as some games from our childhood.  Emily has mastered the basic path game using a spinner or a single die.  She found plenty of people willing to play with her, too!  As part of the deal, my mom worked with Emily on correcting "free" to "three" through counting out each move on the board.  Emily is now working on transferring the correct /th/ sound to other words and doing great!

We finally made it safely home on Saturday evening.  I was again thankful to have a friend along who was willing to drive so I could rest some more.  It was a crazy but fun week.  Now it's going to take me another week to catch up and recover from being gone!