Thursday, September 30, 2010

September 2010 Videos

47 months old

Only one more month to go until Emily's birthday (thank goodness!).  Her birthday fever is getting worse by the day.  I have already been informed that she is going to have a pink and purple princess cake and wants to wear the birthday crown while everyone else wears party hats.  I can do the hats.  We'll have to see about the cake.

Anyway, Emily continues to absolutely love preschool.  Sometimes she is dressed and ready to go by 8:00am and spends the morning "packing" her backpack, which means I have to unpack most of it before she actually goes at noon.  I'm very glad she's in the afternoon class, though.  Not only do I get a big break while Lincoln is napping, but it would be a challenge to get out the door on time in the morning.  Sometimes it takes 20-30 minutes to convince Emily to get dressed or change her clothes (when she dresses herself it's not always appropriate attire or remotely matching).  One day this month I sent Emily upstairs to get dressed at 9:00am.  When I went to check on her progress 20 minutes later I discovered that she had pulled every single article of clothing she owned off the hangers and out of the drawers and it was all in one giant pile in the middle of her closet.  She told me she was looking for something to wear.  Apparently she hadn't found it.  So we spent the next 20 minutes hanging up and putting everything back.  It was a good opportunity to sort out some of the clothes she had outgrown, but not exactly on my to-do list that day.  Oh well.

I have also learned that preschool means a lot of work for parents.  Emily comes home with lots of activities to do together at home.  Unfortunately, I have a feeling that doing "homework" together is going to be a challenge for years to come.  Emily is very headstrong and opinionated about how she wants to do things.  I have to control the incredibly strong firstborn urge to make sure she does things "the right way".  It will be a learning experience for both of us.

As noted above, Emily can make an incredible mess.  However, sometimes she gets the intense urge to "clean up".  This mostly happens in her room.  She'll spend a good chunk of time picking up everything off the floor and meticulously making her bed with a collection of stuffed animals neatly lined up on the pillow.  There are a fair number of items that just get stuffed in a bin or swept under the bed, but I'm just glad to have the floor picked up.  Here is a picture of a princess birthday party in her dollhouse after one of her cleaning sessions. (She took the picture herself.)

Speaking of princesses, Emily recognizes most of the Disney "princesses" but really has no idea about their actual name or story.  Utilizing the large video collection at the library, we have made attempts to watch several Disney movies this month but haven't made it all the way through a single one of them--Little Mermaid (which Emily calls "Wormy"), Aladdin (my favorite Disney movie), 101 Dalmatians, Toy Story, Toy Story 2.  At some point Emily decides they are too scary and either asks to turn it off or turns it off herself.  If you think about it, there really are scary parts of all those movies.  I guess I don't blame her.  So for now we'll stick with 12 minute episodes of PBS Kids shows. :o)  BTW, Emily loves the new Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That show that was added to the line-up after Labor Day.  One day I caught her getting a little crazy with "Thing One and Thing Two" in the house.  Hmmm...

I'll end this month with a few funny sayings from Emily.  We're working really hard to correct "bres-theck" to "breakfast".  It also took awhile to convince Emily of the correct pronunciation of "zero", which she learned about in preschool this month.  She kept insisting it was pronounced "zee-ree-oh".  Emily says things are "grumbled up" when she means "crumpled up" or "crumbled up"--usually in reference to napkins or cookies/crackers.  Now that the weather has turned cooler, Emily refers to shirts as having "up or down sleeves" instead of "short or long sleeves".  :o)

Wall of Art

This blog post is dedicated to all of my much more craftier blog friends and family (and by "craftier" I mean those who actually have things like collections of paints and fabric and who visit places like Hobby Lobby and read Family Fun on a regular basis).  I am not much of a "crafty" person.  My "craft box" gets opened once every few months and then usually only to retrieve the bottle of Elmer's glue to try and fix something that broke.  I once subscribed to Family Fun magazine, but I'm pretty sure I only ever opened one issue on one occasion and decided I was never going to do that stuff anyway, so why was I paying the $5 subscription fee and taking up space on a book shelf?!? (To redeem myself, I have loaned out my collection of issues to a friend who happily used them.)

All that aside, I channeled all of my inner-craftiness into a wild, hare-brained project this week.  I think it all began when Emily apparently had a really good time at the Art Center at preschool on Tuesday and came home with a whole stack of pictures.  The fridge was already covered with marker drawings and watercolor paintings (her newfound love).  We were playing in the basement and it occurred to me that maybe we could use her artwork to decorate the long, drab walls.  However, since almost all of her artwork is on white paper and the cement basement walls were already painted an off-white color it would be pretty boring.  So I packed up the kids for our second trip to Wal-mart of the day and let Emily pick out some pink paint.  Then we actually went to the craft section.  There's some pretty cool stuff there!

Anyway, I opened up the pink paint on Wednesday during Lincoln's naptime.  Emily took pictures and offered commentary while I haphazardly rolled paint on the wall.

After the pink paint was gone Emily helped paint the clothespins green using leftover paint from her room.  I'm proud to say that for the most part I resisted the maximizer/firstborn urge to "fix" her paint job.  Of course they would have looked nicer with two coats of smooth paint on all sides, but from a distance the uneven, sometimes gloppy fronts and backs look just fine. ;o)  BTW--Emily was totally digging the Rainbow Brite sheets I was using as a dropcloth.  My sister & I had matching ones when we shared a room growing up.

The next morning Emily decorated the clothespins with sparkly foam flower stickers.

While Lincoln was napping and Emily was at preschool on Thursday I used the green again to paint a border around the pink.  Then I put three rows of removable Command micro hooks on the wall and strung nylon rope across them.  When Emily came home she said, "Mom, I LOVE it!"  Then she proudly hung up all her artwork and even drew a couple more.

Here's a close-up of one of my favorite watercolor paintings by Emily.  It's a picture of her holding an ice cream cone.  If anyone would like to fund her college education by purchasing this or any future paintings, please let me know!  ;o)

I also have purple paint left from Emily's room.  When my much more artistic sister comes to visit in November I may have to have her embellish the wall some more (see this post from her this week).  In the meantime, there is plenty of space left on the 12' x 6' "Wall of Art" and another 25 clothespins if needed.  I'm sure it won't take long to fill it. :o)

First field trip

Emily went on her first field trip at preschool today.  There is a business in Waverly called Go-Hawk Graphics that invites the preschool every year to come make t-shirts for wearing on future field trips.  The t-shirts are free and the kids actually get to screen-print them themselves.  Emily put up a fuss about it leading up to today whenever I mentioned anything about it.  When I picked her up she showed me the shirt and said there were tears on it.  After probing a bit more I'm gathering she might have refused to actually print her own shirt and may have even cried about it.  I had warned the teacher ahead of time that that might happen.  However, she was pretty proud to show it off for the camera at home.  It may need a few trips through the dryer, though. ;o) 

Smiles on the stairs

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Best Dam Run

Austin has been running for exercise, so he decided to run the 8K race of the Best Dam Run sponsored by the Waverly Exchange Club this morning.  It was a chilly 55 degrees and started drizzling as soon as we dropped him off.  The kids & I walked to the bakery to turn in Emily's picture for the scarecrow coloring contest and get her free cookie.  While we were there the rain picked up.  On the way back to the starting line Emily slipped on the wet cement and scraped up her hand.  Everything pretty much went downhill from there.  I had hoped to play at the park and cheer for Austin when he ran by.  Instead, we parked the van by the finish line and the kids played in the back and watched a video.  Austin finished in 37:18 and got 3rd in his age division.  It was raining the whole time and he was soaked.  There was no way Emily was going to run in the Kids Fun Run, which was only 1 1/2 blocks for her age group, so we just went home.  Even though it was rotten weather and the kids weren't exactly thrilled to be there, I was proud to watch Austin run and look forward to doing it again in the future!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Grandma week

My mom rearranged her schedule and blessed us by coming to visit for the week.  Ironically enough, I was feeling the best I've felt in a long time due to a new pain medication that is really helping with my foot pain and allowing me to sleep at night.  However, Austin was gone for several days, so I greatly enjoyed the companionship as well as the help with the kids. 

On Monday night Austin & I enjoyed a date night that included dinner at the new Sakura Japanese Steakhouse in Cedar Falls, clothes shopping at Kohl's (Austin's favorite part! ;o)) and ice cream by the river in downtown Cedar Falls.  On Wednesday I went to a MOPS meeting in Waverly without the kids.  It was very good, and I met some other moms from Waverly--including two who have kids in Emily's preschool class.  In another strange twist of irony, I won a prize for getting the most sleep the night before (8.5 hours).  I gave a disclaimer that I was drugged up (experimenting with pain med dosages), but they still gave me the fun stamp markers. :o)  I ate lunch at home and then went to Waterloo for the whole afternoon to visit people, shop and run errands.  On Friday I went to the first meeting of the year of Mom's Morning Out at our church and did some more shopping.  My mom left after lunch on Friday.

I didn't take a lot of pictures since I wasn't even home half the time, but here's one of Emily getting her hair dried after a bath.  She has never let me use a hair dryer on her before.  Grandma is special. ;o)

The next picture sums up Lincoln's favorite part of the week.  He & Grandma put a LOT of miles on the stroller.  They went out multiple times a day, often in between the rain showers and sometimes with Emily tagging along on her bike.  It's something I know Lincoln enjoys but I just have not been able to do for the last two months because of my foot problems.  I won't be able to match Grandma Boote, but I'm feeling good enough now that we'll probably be able to do more than just hobble around the block once in a while.

Thanks again to my mom for blessing us this week.  We love you!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

16 months old

This is Lincoln's cheese picture for the month.  I couldn't get him to sit and not squint.  You can't see it in the picture, but tooth #5 is halfway through on the bottom. 

Lincoln is currently fascinated by light switches.  He knows where all of them are and reaches for them whenever you walk by while holding him.  It takes a little time and effort because most of them push pretty hard, and he's not always strong/coordinated enough.  He's also not big enough to reach them on his own.  However, he did figure out this month that he could move small chairs and the bathroom step-stool around in order to reach various things rather than just be satisfied with wherever it happened to be.  It won't be long until he'll be able to reach everything!

Lincoln also loves to pretend to talk on the phone.  Almost anything works as a phone.  He prefers the real thing or the play phone from the kitchen set, but he has also used remote controls, silverware and even a long piece of sidewalk chalk. :o)  He continues to babble with great expression but still hasn't started using real words.

We're also still in the nap transition stage, and I'm growing weary of never knowing what to expect.  I know I can hold him off all morning if I have to, but then I never know if he'll take one big long one and be done or take a short nap and require another late afternoon nap when he becomes unbearably cranky, which often requires a wake-up for supper and then takes a long time to fall asleep at night.  Thankfully, he has usually cooperated on preschool days and slept the whole time while Emily was gone, although I hate having to wake him up to go get her.  This too shall pass...

And speaking of passing stages, Lincoln has also decided the last 2 weeks that he doesn't like getting his diaper changed.  Like kicking and shrieking not liking.  I'm ready for that to pass, too!

Despite the whining and drooling and erratic napping patterns we still love our little guy (aka "Big Man")! :o)

P.S.  Five minutes after publishing this post I heard a loud crash, followed by a wail and found Lincoln sitting on the floor outside his crib.  Heaven help us if this wasn't a one-time fluke!  Several stepping stones crib toys have now been removed.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Peer pressure

I knew it would happen sooner or later.  After picking up Emily from preschool yesterday we went to Wal-mart to get a few things.  The first thing Emily noticed when we walked in the store was the huge display of backpacks.  She then spent the next 10 minutes asserting that she needed a new backpack because the other kids at preschool had wheels on their backpacks and she wanted a backpack with wheels.  First of all, I'm pretty sure most of the kids don't have wheels on their backpacks.  Secondly, I don't think you really need wheels when pretty much the only thing you carry back and forth is a single red folder with papers and correspondence from the teacher.  Thankfully, I think it was just a fleeting thought prompted by a visual reminder because she hasn't said anything about it since.  However, Emily adamantly insists that it is her birthday on Saturday. ("Just wait until Friday is over, Mom, and then it will be my birthday.")  She has informed me that all her friends are coming over for a party.  I'm afraid she is going to be sorely disappointed.  Daddy will be home for the first time all week, but that might not be enough to satisfy her.  I have a feeling we might go through this same thing for the next six Saturdays until it really is her birthday.  Sigh...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Camping out

Emily made a tent in the living room yesterday and asked if she could sleep in it last night.  Since Austin was gone, and we didn't have much going on I agreed.  She entertained herself by looking at books and drawing some pictures to hang up and "decorate" her tent while I did bookwork on the computer.  A little before 10:00pm she said, "Mommy, I think it's time to go to bed."  I definitely agreed with that one!  I think she was asleep before I even turned off the lights, and she slept soundly until 7:30am.  She has already asked if she can sleep there again tonight.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Fall decor

I decided to get out some of my fall decorations today even though we don't have any pumpkins or gourds yet.  Emily was fascinated and started asking a lot of questions.  Then she decided she needed to decorate, too.  This was her contribution.  Of course, she got upset when Lincoln wanted to actually play with the toys that were part of her display.  If you click on the picture to zoom in you can see the name tag she made for the scarecrow a la Thomas and Friends.  She just asked me what it was (scarecrow) and came up with "scrr" as the name.  Not bad for beginning phonic recognition!  The downside of decorating was that all of the sudden Emily decided it must be her birthday if it's fall.  She got me pinned down to the fact that her birthday is on a Saturday, but hasn't quite grasped the concept that it's in seven Saturdays and not this Saturday.  We may have to make another paper chain...

Football fans

Lincoln wouldn't really cooperate for a picture, but our house* is ready for football season!
Go Panthers and Vikings!

*Okay, so really just Austin & I are ready for football season.  Lincoln isn't old enough to care yet, and Emily is distraught because it supersedes watching Berenstain Bears while eating popcorn.  She most adamantly does NOT want to watch football players and has stomped off to her room to pout about it on multiple occasions.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Me update

Just a quick update on me again.  The PT & I have decided to stop doing scheduled PT for now, although I can still continue my home exercises.  After reviewing the MRI report again, it is inconclusive about what is causing the pain/discomfort in my foot.  Therefore, the next step is seeing a neurologist.  Unfortunately, the soonest I could get an appointment is October 11.  I am on the cancellation list to try to get in sooner.  In the meantime, I am experimenting a bit with pain management strategies.  Please continue to pray for patience as I/we wait out the next month and for answers when I do get in.  Thanks!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Butterfly garden

It is monarch migration season, so we decided to take a little trip to the butterfly garden next to the Waverly Public Library to see if we could find any.  Emily was even dressed for the occasion!  Most of the flowers are done and it was a bit windy, so we only saw a few butterflies, but both kids loved running around the paths.  We visited the butterfly garden at almost the exact time a year ago (see here).

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Since the weather has turned sharply cooler I dug out a cute long-sleeve outfit Lincoln received as a baby gift and is finally close to fitting.  I think it makes him look like a little jailbird. :o)

He didn't appreciate the long sleeves and tried to pull them off on several occasions. 

Then I put socks and shoes on him for the first time in over three months.  He wasn't quite sure what to think about that, either. 

But after a few careful steps he was off and running again. 

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

1st day of preschool

It finally arrived--Emily's first day of preschool!  She/we couldn't have been more excited.  She wore her backpack around half the morning asking if it was time to go yet.  Since Emily had packed and unpacked it several times in the last couple weeks I had to do a final check.  I decided to confiscate the bottle of bubbles from the birthday party last week and the pop-up Frisbee from the summer reading program.  I'm sure the teachers appreciated that. ;o)  I let her wear the dress-up bead necklace but convinced her to save the fuzzy leopard-print slap bracelet (again from the birthday party) for another day.  She was very excited about wearing her new tennis shoes, which thrilled me since I bought two pairs of tennis shoes last winter and neither one ever made it on her feet.

Austin made a special trip home from work just to go along to drop her off after lunch.  When I told Emily that Daddy was coming home to bring her to preschool she said, "No, Mom.  Girls go to school by themselves.  When the school bus comes I'm going to get on all by myself."  Well then.  She might be a little disappointed since she won't be able to actually ride a school bus for at least two more years (per Iowa code requiring restraints for all children under age 6).  She talks about it whenever we see one, though.  She also informed me, "Mom, I'm just growing up!"  LOL.  Yes, you are, honey. 

Apparently the van turned out to be an okay form of transportation.  All four of us went in to hang up her backpack, help her wash her hands and walk her to her classroom per preschool policy.  We made a brief stop to find her name on the Little Lambs bulletin board.  Then she walked right in and didn't even turn around to say good-bye.

Austin went back to work, and I put Lincoln down for a nap after holding him off all morning.  Then I had a glorious 2.5 hours of silent time to myself.  It was everything I had hoped and imagined it would be even though I spent most of it napping. ;o)  Unfortunately, I had to wake Lincoln up to go get Emily.

Emily had a great time at preschool.  I tried holding off on asking too many questions until I could get home and take a video of the post-preschool interview (below).  In the van she talked about how they couldn't go outside for recess because the teachers said the balls would blow on the road and get smashed (it was really windy).  She talked more about the Bible story about the lost little lamb and how they practiced taking turns helping the teacher.  We also had to make several phone calls to report to various people how the day went.  Each one revealed some more details about her day.  She was ready to go back already on Wednesday but will have to wait until Thursday.  It looks like Emily is really going to enjoy preschool--or as she sometimes calls it, "pretty-school." :o)

Labor Day weekend

We made a trip to NW Iowa to visit family over Labor Day weekend.  Although it wasn't the smoothest trip back and forth, it was good to see people again.  Here are some highlights:

Lincoln was excited to check out the farm...

...especially the cows.

Emily enjoyed ribbon dancing,

and she LOVED getting rides on the Mule (I think they almost went through an entire tank of gas).

Austin got to mow the lawn on the big Dixon.

We celebrated my Grandpa Vander Kooi's 90th birthday with cookies & coffee after church. 
My sister posted a great tribute to him here.


Lincoln did not appreciate taking pictures with Cousin Ryan in the lawn chair,

but he sure enjoyed playing with Ryan's Lion rider toy!

My sister also has great posts about Emily's early softball attempts, a sweet picture of Emily reading and a collection of classic Lincoln pictures.  There are (will be) videos in the September video player.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Birthday party

Emily attended her first official friend birthday party today.  I dropped her off at 1:00pm and picked her up at 3:00pm.  She had a fabulous time.  I wish I would have had a recorder for her running commentary in the van on the way home.  Eight little preschoolers made crafts (including a cool foam visor), played games, had a cookie cake and sang "Happy Birthday" to Addy to celebrate 4 years.  I'm pretty sure I'm not ready to take on that kind of a challenge yet, but I know there will be plenty of opportunities in the years to come. :o)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Juhl Park - Waverly, IA

It was a beautiful day today, and we really needed a change of scenery, so we checked off another park on our list this afternoon.  Juhl Park is nestled on a corner of a residential area in NW Waverly.  It has great new play equipment, swings and a basketball slab.  Lincoln the climber absolutely loved it.  I can tell we haven't been to a park for awhile.  This particular play equipment had lots of curvy slides.  Lincoln wanted to go down every one of them.  However, those slides are not really designed for mama hips--especially mamas with a hinky foot and a camera in their pocket. ;o)  I finally started sending him down by himself sort of on his tummy backwards.  Luckily, they were all pretty slow and came to a nice stop at the end before crawling off.  I'm looking forward to next summer when I can be the mama sitting on the bench in the shade instead of the one sweating as I crawl up the ladder for the 12th time. :o)

P.S. For some reason Emily was totally into posing today.  Lincoln not so much.