Saturday, July 31, 2010

Friday, July 30, 2010

45 months old

Emily is now three and three quarters years old.  Her favorite activity in the last month has been coloring.  Markers are her medium of choice.  She spends hours meticulously coloring every square inch of white space on pictures.  Luckily, markers are cheap for back-to-school, so we have several boxes on top of the fridge available for replacements when necessary. :o)

Thomas & Friends is a thing of the past and Emily's new favorite show is Super Why! on PBS Kids.  She especially loves Princess Presto.  Watching the show and playing the computer games on PBS KIDS Island has really sparked an interest in letters, phonics and reading.  Emily is continually trying to figure out what letter different words start with based on the beginning sound.  /C/ and /K/ and /S/ are always tricky.  We've had a few arguments over some of the non-conforming ones.  The funniest one is that Emily insists that "truck" starts with /j/.  I see her point.

Emily has also become extremely interested in the days of the week.  She always asks what day it is tomorrow (along with "Where are we going?" and "What are we going to do?").  I don't think she has a firm grasp on judging the passage of actual time, but it's a step.

Another concept Emily has been wrestling with this month is last names and the fact that Lincoln, Austin & I all have Lorenzen as our last name, too.  She sometimes insists that we can't be "renzens" because she's "Emily 'renzen".

Something we (okay, I) have been wrestling with is getting Emily to eat a balanced diet.  She's in a phase where the only thing she really wants is chicken nuggets & french fries (she insists she doesn't like any other form of chicken), frozen burritos or bagels with cream cheese at meal times.  We have a rule where she always has to take at least one bite of the meat/main dish.  She does pretty well with some fruits and most vegetables and will always eat bread.  It's that protein that's a little elusive.  We laughed the other night because we've learned that sometimes it's just a matter of labeling.  We were having a chicken & rice casserole with pimentos.  Emily thought it was eggs and strawberries.  She actually ate 3-4 bites.  Whatever works!

Beautiful bathtubs

We are super excited to have two gleaming WHITE bathtubs in our house!  The tubs are original 1948 cast-iron deep soaker models with an imprint of "Standard~AR".  They were still in pristine condition (virtually no scratches or chips).  They just happened to be peach and pink.  We had the great people from Miracle Method come and refinish both tubs.  They were friendly, courteous and very neat with their work.  Here are the amazing before, during and after shots:

The next step is redoing the impressive but hideous wall and floor tile. :o)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Oreo face

There's nothing like a good Oreo face...

Too bad taking a bath was not an option tonight (see tomorrow's post)!

New backpack

One of the exciting things about starting preschool in the fall is picking out a new backpack.  I was surprised to find out you can still purchase one for $5 at Wal-mart (that was the budgeted allowance for one when I was growing up).  With a little guidance (i.e. vetoing the Barbie and Toy Story backpacks) Emily chose a purple one.  Because a $5 Wal-mart backpack is only as reliable as a $5 Wal-mart backpack, I also grabbed another slightly bigger one for her to use when the first one inevitably breaks by Christmas.  Plus it will double nicely as a "going to Grandma & Grandpa's house" bag.  Although she wore her new backpack proudly around the store and all the way home, I had to corner her to try and get a picture.  Little stinker!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Memorial Park - Waverly, IA

I was going to save it for last, but it was such a perfect park day, and I actually remembered to take the camera.  Memorial Park (aka "The Castle Park") is the granddaddy of the Waverly Parks.  It actually includes the Kids' Kingdom wooden playground, the Skate Park, the Municipal Pool, the Lions' ball fields and the fairgrounds.  There are also two large shelter houses and restroom facilities.  We have been to this park more often than any other because of the playground and because it's the closest to us--only 3-5 blocks away.  This was a big draw when making the decision to purchase our house.  Emily can easily ride her bike while I walk with the stroller or wagon.  Here are some highlights from our visit today...

The huge wooden playground is called Kids' Kingdom.  I find this a little ironic since the same type of wooden playground was built in my hometown around the same time and it, too, is called Kids' Kingdom.  You can easily see why Emily nicknamed it "The Castle Park."

There are lots of places to explore, and it's very easy to lose track of where everyone is.  However, there are usually other friendly parents there who kind of keep an eye out for each other.  It has become more fun, but more of a workout for me since Lincoln learned how to walk.  Emily can almost always find a "friend" or two to play with. :o)

One of the favorite spots in the park is the giant sandbox area. We've learned it's a good idea to bring a couple shovels and various containers from home. You can definitely make friends that way!

Lincoln really likes the bouncy things.  

I think this is a good place for Lincoln to play. ;o)

They both like the tire swing.

Emily hanging out.

I thought it would be an extra special treat to get a Tropical Sno from the Waverly Pool on the way home.  After all, I had BOGO coupons that expired at the end of the week.  Emily took one bite and declared it "blechy" and didn't want anymore.  Lincoln refuses to be spoon-fed anything.  Therefore, I enjoyed two small cups all by myself. :o)


I know we will literally make hundreds of trips to Memorial Park in the years to come.  I'm thankful for such beautiful facilities so close to our house!

Note: The Waverly Parks web site has recently been updated and now includes a very nice map with the parks marked out.  Therefore, I may not continue my own Google map of the park system.  We'll see.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Another fun visit

I had the pleasure of having another BFF and college roommate come to visit for a couple days.  Angie & I met Sarah our first week on campus at UNI.  We all lived together our last two years of college.  Sarah & I were the night owls and stayed up until midnight almost every night doing homework and hanging out.  Sarah is currently on staff with the Navigators at Iowa State University.  We had a great time catching up, relaxing on the deck and playing with the kids--especially at the park.  I am so blessed to have a life-long friend like Sarah!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Trash patrol

Our household is now on high alert trash patrol.  Although he has kind of tinkered with it in the past, today was the first time I caught Lincoln deliberately lifting the lid and throwing something away in the tall kitchen wastebasket.  It was two foam letters designed to stick to the bathtub/tile.  A short while later Emily yelled at him about something, so he proceeded to grab one of her coloring pages off the fridge along with the LeapFrog letter magnet holding it up and dumped them in the trash, too.  Luckily, Emily didn't notice.  I had to dig them all out.  This was made worse by the fact that an hour earlier I had emptied the full vacuum canister in the same wastebasket. :op  I would have considered just leaving the items in the trash, but since they were part of an alphabet set they definitely would have been missed in the future.  Sigh.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Emily's weekend adventure

My sister and BIL were going to be in Ames this weekend for the annual Shrine Bowl where my BIL's brother was going to play quarterback.  They graciously offered to meet us halfway on Friday to pick up Emily and give her her first experience staying at a hotel and swimming at an indoor pool.  We met again on Saturday afternoon to take her home.  By the sound of things she had a great time.  I sent along the camera, so we got to see her adventure in pictures...

Emily was fascinated by the elevators and the ice machine.

Emily & "Ellen" (aka The Cat in the Hat) got a big bed to themselves.

Who doesn't love a Happy Meal with chicken nuggets & french fries?!?

They made a trip to Wal-mart to get a noodle.

They went swimming on three separate occasions.

On Saturday morning they watched the Shriners parade.  Emily apparently did not like the clowns or the truck squirting water at the crowd.

It was a pretty quiet 24 hours without Emily at home, and it felt really strange.  I think Lincoln enjoyed some one-on-one time and not having someone steal toys or yell at him about touching things.  Emily already asked about staying at a hotel again.  Someday.  Neither Austin nor I have any desire to take both kids to a hotel until they are a little older.  A big thanks to Auntie Abbie and Uncle Wade for giving Emily a great experience!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Kohlmann Park - Waverly, IA

Since I was set on playing at a park, and it was still a long time until supper, we got Emily's shorts changed and headed to Kohlmann Park (aka "The Music Park").  Kohlmann Park is located on the west bank of the Cedar River and spans 4 blocks starting at Bremer Avenue.  It is considered the "town square" of Waverly and holds many city events and festivals including the Summer Concert Series featuring the Greater Waverly Municipal Band.  They apparently create an ice rink in the winter there, too.

We've been to Kohlmann Park several times, but I haven't documented it before.  There are a couple reasons why Emily refers to it as "The Music Park."  One is because of the painted grand piano underneath one of the shelters.  Although it is missing some black keys, the foot pedals don't move and the extreme ranges are quite out of tune, it still plays pretty well.  I can even bang out recognizable versions of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star (Var. D), Honeybee and Go Tell Aunt Rhody from way back in my Suzuki piano days. :o)

The original reason Emily dubbed it "The Music Park" was because of the bells on the play equipment. Those suckers are loud! There is a video in the video player.

Emily also likes playing "store" at the counter below the bells and using the rocks as money.

Kohlmann Park has nice, brand new play equipment, shelters, benches and winding walking paths along the river because everything was flooded in 2008.

This is Lincoln ready to dig a hole to China!

The views along the river are spectacular.  The water was pretty high today.  The old railroad bridge going across the river has been incorporated into the Waverly Rail Trail, which is a paved walk/bike path that runs all the way to Denver.  I hope to bike it someday when the kids are a little older and I actually own a bike!
I tried to get a cute picture of the kids sitting on a bench by the river, but Emily refused to look at the camera and Lincoln wouldn't sit still.  Surprise, surprise!
Check out Emily's park prowess climbing the rock wall in flower flip-flops and a khaki skirt!

And her stunning hair-do courtesy of many trips down the slide (the bottoms were all dry, but we took an old towel along just in case).

Emily also made two new friends, twin girls named Gabby & Gracie.  They live just down the street, so if we go back to Kohlmann Park often enough we'll probably meet them again. :o)

View Waverly Parks in a larger map

Willow Lawn Park - Waverly, IA

There was a light rain after lunch today, but then the sun came out and I thought it would be a great chance to check out another park in Waverly. We headed to the very western edge of town to Willow Lawn Park. It's a small neighborhood park with slightly older equipment than some of the others we've visited.


Lincoln really enjoyed playing with the pea gravel.

He also liked the tic-tac-toe board and rather rigid "bouncy" bridge.

I did not get any pictures of Emily because after a quick trip down two different slides that still had puddles at the bottom, she was all upset about her shorts being wet.  She pouted in the van for awhile and then emerged sans shorts.  Just her shirt, panty and sandals.  The other lady at the park just laughed.  So after only 10 minutes we packed up and headed back home for a change of clothes.  Maybe another time!