Friday, December 31, 2010

December 2010 videos

Wedding week

This week I had the privilege of being a part of the wedding celebration of my dear friend and college roommate, Sarah.  On Wednesday night my other friend &  college roommate, Angie, and I hosted a bachelorette party in Ames for Sarah and some of her closest friends.  We reserved a suite at a hotel and had a great time together.  Sarah stayed with us overnight, so it was almost like being back in college again!

The wedding took place on New Year's Eve and was absolutely beautiful.  Angie & I were both bridesmaids for Sarah, and we had so much fun together. 

Austin was a real trooper and spent most of the day hanging out at the church after driving me there after some significant ice accumulation in the Des Moines area.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

4 years + 2 months

As the year comes to a close we celebrate 4 years + 2 months of Emily!  One of the things she continues to practice is writing.  We are forever spelling things as she tries to write things down.  She loves to "write directions" which usually just amounts to lines of mostly random letters.

Emily also really likes to play games even if she doesn't fully understand them.  One example is tic-tac-toe.  She can draw the board and understands taking turns drawing X's and O's but doesn't really have any strategies or understand how you win.  

An exciting thing Emily got to start doing this month is taking a "shower".  We put a hand-held shower head in the upstairs bathroom to use to wash the kids' hair.  It works much better than the scoop-and-pour method with a little cup.  On the nights Emily gets her hair washed she likes to stand up while I hold the shower head.  However, she still likes to sit and play in the bathtub afterward.

I have two funny quotes from this month.  When I told Emily we were going to meet Daddy at his office for lunch on his last day at Short's she informed me, "Mom, I don't eat at offices.  I only eat at home and Old McDonald's."  Another time when we were driving and discussing street signs she asked about the divided highway sign where the arrow jogs around the divider.  She said, "Why is that arrow pointing up, Mommy?  There's no driveway in the sky."

Fantasy Football Champion

One of the fun things I have been able to do since becoming a SAHM is participate in my former office's fantasy football league each year.  Two years ago I dominated the league on the tails of Kurt Warner and the Arizona Cardinals but lost in the playoffs when they decided to take a snow day vs. the New York Giants.  This year I started off in the 14-team league only recognizing four names on my roster.  However, they did well for me.  I stayed near the top of the standings the entire season and cruised through the playoffs to my first ever fantasy championship.  It's a bragging-rights only league, so this picture is my prize.  :o)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Pillow pet

My Pillow Pets Lavender Unicorn 18"Emily has been really enjoying her box set of The Magic School Bus books.  She was more than thrilled when I found The Magic School Bus on TV and started recording some episodes.  The downside, however, is that the show is not on PBS, which means there are target market commercials.  It was bound to happen sooner or later.  Today Emily absolutely insisted that she needed a Pillow Pet--specifically the unicorn.  She gave me the whole spiel on how it was so soft and cuddly and she could take it to grandma's house.  So we decided to have an object lesson.

The first part of the deal was that after picking up her room, Emily had to choose some stuffed animals to give away.  Emily came up with the number nine herself, so she picked out nine things.  I may or may have not snuck a few extra small ones in the bag. ;o)  Then we counted out the dollars in her piggy bank and put them in a purse.  After Lincoln went down for a nap Emily & I took a little "field trip" (not quite as exciting as on The Magic School Bus, but close).  Our first stop was Goodwill to drop off the stuffed animals for other kids to enjoy.  Our next stop was the bank where Emily had to make a withdrawal from her savings account (which we had set up with her piggy bank money last summer) to cover the remaining cost.  Then we headed to Wal-mart.  I have never seen her so excited to purchase something before.  Wal-mart only had three choices available, but luckily one of them was the unicorn.  Personally, I think the unicorn is one of the ugliest ones, but it wasn't my decision.  Emily proudly carried it around the store and handed her carefully counted out wad of bills to the checkout clerk.  The clerk played along beautifully.

We made it home successfully without dropping it on the slushy ground.  Emily promptly changed out of her fancy dress into her new monkey pajamas and curled up on the couch with her new friend, which she hasn't let it out of her sight yet. 

I figure it was a pretty decent trade-off to get rid of 9+ objects in exchange for one, especially when it didn't actually cost me anything.  It's a good thing, too, because I later discovered it would have been almost $6 cheaper to order it from  However, it was a good lesson/experience for Emily.  Although, the real lesson will probably be learned when she comes up with the next thing she thinks she has to have and doesn't have enough money to pay for it.  But that is for another day.  Here's to a happy little sleeper! :o)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas in NW Iowa

We made a last minute decision to leave Thursday afternoon for NW Iowa to try and beat the snowstorm.  It turned out to be a good decision because we had smooth sailing most of the way there and 10.5 inches of snow waiting for us when we returned. :op

We had a full weekend spent visiting (and eating) with every side of every family.  Here are some picture highlights:

Emily's new heart slippers that she knew she was getting and has been talking about non-stop for weeks
Silly ribbons with Grandpa Lorenzen & Cousin Asher
A sweet pose with Great Grandma Freking
Slap Happy in slippers
Three little boys on the Boote side who would rather be playing with (or eating) wheels than sitting still for a picture
The Boote cousins with Grandpa & Grandma
Wrapped up with Uncle Wade
Eating an entire Rip Roll from Aunt Courtney at 9:00pm
Tonka trucks--watch out Milo!  Lincoln was extremely possessive of his new wheels.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Snow blower Take 2

After our snow blower died last weekend it snowed another 6 inches on Wednesday night while Austin was out of town for work.  I had to bundle up the kids Thursday morning and shovel off the driveway just enough in order to get the van out to get Emily to preschool.  Thankfully, it was light, fluffy stuff and not too bad outside, so the kids did okay.  Still, it wasn't ideal.  So with a little encouragement, Austin got another snow blower this weekend.  He got a good deal on a John Deere model that someone was getting ready to trade in at the dealership in town.  This one has electric start and even comes with a hood!  In addition, Austin bought a pair of coveralls and a real pair of snow boots.  Now he's ready to take on winter!  Fortunately or unfortunately, Austin got a chance to try everything out since it snowed another 4" today.  We were kind of hoping that getting not one, but two snow blowers would be a sure bet that it wouldn't snow the rest of the winter.  :op

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas at home

We decided to do our family Christmas today after lunch, so Austin & I spent last night in the basement assembling and wrapping presents.  The unwrapping of gifts took exactly three minutes, but it was a fun three minutes.  Each kid got a couple small things and a joint gift of a new train table & set in the basement.  We were lucky to have Austin's brother, Tyler, and his girlfriend, Chelsea, over for lunch.  They obliged Emily with a tea party, several Magic School Bus books and one round of her new Super Why ABC game.  We'll probably be spending a lot of time with the train table in the basement while it snows all day tomorrow. :o)

19 months old

Lincoln is now 19 months old and is as goofy as ever.  He loves going "beep, beep" on his belly button during "The Wheels on the Bus" or anytime you say it.  He also adamantly shakes his head yes or no to let you know exactly what he thinks.  The only "words" we've really added this month have been for "thank you".

Lincoln has really made up for lost time in the teeth department.  He popped four of them through this month, including two molars.  This made for some long and cranky days & nights.  It also really messed with his eating patterns.  I'm pretty sure he ate his weight in grapes this month.  Grapes, cheese and milk were his diet staples and sometimes the only thing he'd eat in a day.  Thankfully, we're beginning to pick up steam again. 

However, Lincoln has totally rejected his booster seat at the table.  We fought him about it for almost two weeks with several meals being consumed while sitting on my lap because that's the only way he'd eat.  Now he's happy sitting or standing on a big chair.  Whatever works.  I distinctly remember Emily doing the same thing and eventually going back to the booster seat until she really didn't need it anymore.  I guess it will make packing for the holidays easier!

Lincoln is in what I like to call "search and destroy" mode a good deal of the time.  This consists of seeking out whatever Emily or I might be working on and either destroying or severely disrupting it.  He is also addicted to water.  Specifically, putzing in water.  We have to try to remember to close the bathroom doors so he doesn't climb up on the toilet and play in the bathroom sink.  Just this week he started hauling in play dishes to fill and empty and he also figured out how to turn on the hot water, which is just plain unsafe.  You can't water plants with him around because all he wants to do is stick his hand in the stream of water.  Although he can still occasionally be caught with his hand in the fish tank (see below), his new favorite hangout is standing on a chair by the kitchen sink and playing with whatever is in it.  You could actually entertain him for a solid 20 minutes just by putting a few items and a small bowl of water in the sink.  Luckily, he hasn't figured out how to turn on the kitchen faucet--yet.

One thing I have really cherished this month is singing Christmas carols while rocking Lincoln before bed.  He loves listening to people sing to him.  I love singing Christmas carols.  This will most likely be the last year he will sit and cuddle like this with me, so I'm trying to enjoy every moment. :o)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Snow buddies

Emily is definitely a snow bunny.  I think it's just part of being that age.  Her friend, Addy, was at our house today, so they got to play out in the snow together while Lincoln was napping.  They dug with shovels, climbed hills, made snow angels and we even found a great sledding spot across the street down into the hospital's water retention basin.  It's kind of nice to enjoy the fun side of winter through the eyes of a child.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Playing Mary

I absolutely love the preschool Emily is attending, and I love hearing/experiencing what she's learning about.  Today they talked about and acted out the Christmas story.  From what I gathered she was a shepard today, but really wanted to be Mary.  So as soon as she got home she put together this "Mary" costume and found a "Baby Jesus".  Keep in mind this is the "little girl" version and pink is the color of choice. ;o)

Emily decided she needed a stable because they had a cardboard one at preschool, so I dug up a piece of cardboard I had been saving for just such an occasion and we had ourselves a stable.

Lincoln was less than thrilled with his assigned role as Joseph, but that's okay, because Emily more or less told him he couldn't play any more after he kept running off with Baby Jesus.

Next Emily decided that she needed presents for the kings to give Baby Jesus for his birthday.  So I helped her wrap some stuff up in construction paper using a glue stick and stapler.  I'm not sure what Jesus is going to do with a blue plastic fork, a box of picture sequence cards and a copy of Leap's New Potty book, but hey, it's the thought that counts!
After supper Emily tried to recruit me as the angel, but we both decided her butterfly wings were a little too small for me, so she gave Lincoln a second chance.  He just ran around in circles trying to get at the wings.  Maybe next year... ;o)

Christmas cookies

Today was Christmas cookie day.  Emily had been asking about it every day since she found the cookie cutters downstairs last week.  Here is the process in pictures...

Emily was very excited to roll out the dough and pick out the shapes.  

Lincoln just enjoyed playing with the flour (and making a mess).

Lincoln took bites out of three different cookies while Emily & I were mixing up the frosting.  
He's probably contemplating his next move.

Emily's favorite part is the sprinkles.  Unfortunately, they came out a little faster than she expected.  We had tiny green/red/white nonpareils bouncing and rolling all over the counter and floor.  Lincoln discovered they were great fun to swish around and swipe off the counter.  I discovered that the slightest bit of moisture causes them to melt and smear color.  Lincoln's drool + nonpareils = mess.

After more major spillage of the Hollyberry sugar sprinkles, Emily switched to making stripes with the squeeze bottle.

Our finished products with Lincoln doing what he does best--putzing around in the sink.

The Christmas tree also got a makeover today.  We have the set of 101 plastic cookie cutters from Wilton.  It's a great investment even if you don't make cut-out cookies, and it's available at Wal-mart.  I tied red yarn loops to about half of them and Emily redecorated the tree.  :o)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Austin's new job

As many of you already know, Austin recently accepted a new position with Concur Technologies as a Senior Channel Sales Manager.  Concur is a software company based out of Redmond, Washington.  Austin will be working with travel management companies in the Midwest to sell Concur's corporate travel self-booking and expense management software.  He will still be traveling quite a bit, but when he's not traveling he will be working from a home office.  He has spent the last two weeks setting up a workspace in the guest room upstairs.  This included running 100 feet of cable through the attic and basement for a direct line Ethernet connection.  The kids enjoyed "helping" Daddy.  They especially loved the giant stuffed gorilla and Staples "Easy Button" he brought home.

Here is Austin at "work" on his first day today.  Pretty sweet set-up if you ask me.  There are still some pictures and marker/bulletin boards to hang on the walls, but he's up and running electronically.

Having him at home during the day has numerous potential benefits, but it is still going to be a bit of an adjustment for everyone in the household.  There is also going to be a learning curve as he figures out what a typical work day looks like and how much traveling he will actually be doing.  In the meantime, we're all just really flexible and not planning on anything.

Friday was Austin's last day at Short's Travel Management where he has been for the past 11 years.  He started at Short's while he was still in college doing tech support.  From there he moved to programming, then account management and then into sales and implementation of new accounts.  It has been fascinating to watch Austin develop and mature professionally over the years as his role at Short's was constantly changing.  They will greatly miss him.  Short's held a farewell luncheon catered by the Olive Garden on Friday at noon.  The kids & I joined Austin as his co-workers thanked him and said goodbye.  It was kind of bittersweet, but the future is so exciting.  We look forward to seeing where this new ride will take us!

New Fareway

I was beyond excited to check out the brand new Fareway in Waverly.  The kids & I bundled up and headed there this morning.  It was way above my expectations.  From the extra-wide aisles to the super clean floors.  From the beautiful displays to the brand new car carts.  The biggest surprise/bonus was discovering that they now have an in-store bakery with all kinds of breads and baked goods.  The kids & I shared a couple of sprinkle doughnuts and they were excellent!  It's going to take a little while to figure out what aisles things are in now, but I'm thrilled with having twice the selection as before.  Now they just need to get the old store torn down to fix the parking nightmare and everything will be perfect!

Sunday, December 12, 2010


This weekend was the first real blizzard of the season.  It was snowing heavily, but it was still warm and a bit slushy when I came home from the Christmas Store our church put on Saturday morning.  Emily was desparate to build a snowman, so after lunch I bundled up the kids and we made our first snowman of the year.  The temperatures must have started to drop because the snow didn't stick together as well as I would have expected.  Our snowman ended up only being 18" tall, but Emily couldn't have been prouder.  She was especially excited about the "feathers" on his head.  I thought for sure once the wind picked up he would have been a goner.  However, after it was all said and done he is still standing proudly and smiling, feathers and all.  He may have lost one stone eye, but that's it.

Emily could have stayed out in the snow for another hour or two.  Lincoln just wasn't digging it.  After 20 minutes we were both covered in snow and ready to go inside.

We stayed warm inside the house and didn't even plan on trying to go to church on Sunday.  Most area services were canceled.  I think we ended up with about 4"-5" of snow total.  It was bitterly cold and windy, but Austin was determined to get the snow cleared from the driveways and sidewalks.  It was his first chance to use the snow blower.  Yes--we now own a snow blower.  After several years of me nagging about getting one, my dad acquired one last winter and tinkered around with it enough to get it working again.  He then delivered it to our house when they came for Emily's birthday in October.  It's kind of hard to say no when your father-in-law drives the farm pick-up four hours and unloads a free one in your driveway! ;o)  Anyway, Austin got the back driveway and front sidewalk done.  Before starting the main driveway he thought he'd be nice and blow out the end of the driveway of our single neighbor lady after the snowplow went by.  Unfortunately, there was a large branch hidden in the snow that Austin hit.  The blades stopped, and upon further inspection, the whole front of the gear box cracked off.  This was pretty much a death sentence for the snow blower since it's probably not even worth it to attempt to fix it. :o(  So Austin spent the rest of the morning shoveling the 2'-3' snowdrift off the driveway by hand.

I'm definitely NOT excited about the icy steps and walkways or the snow-packed streets or the biting cold, but at least it looks more like Christmas!

On a learning curve...

I have been absent from the blog for a while because we were going through the process of changing computers.  Our desktop PC was older than our marriage, and despite quite a bit of tinkering over the years, it was on its last leg.  The final straw was when the sound card went out two weeks ago.  Poor Emily found out that playing computer games wasn't quite the same. :o( 

I have been dreaming of a MacBook Pro ever since Austin took me to an Apple Store in July, and now we have one!  The process of reinstalling programs and transferring data from one computer to another is always a bit tedious.  Thankfully, I have a wonderful husband who is extremely knowledgeable in that area and also has a lot of experience with Macs.  I have been on a bit of a learning curve for operating a Mac.  I haven't really used one since I was in high school.  The more I'm using it the more I'm loving it, but it will take some time to master it.  I'm starting to get a feel for iCal and iMail after heavily relying on Outlook for my business email and personal calendar.  I'm just now figuring out how to transfer pictures from our camera and then working with them.  So bear with me.  Everything takes a bit longer these days, but we'll be up to date again soon!