Saturday, December 31, 2011

**Lots of new posts**

There have been a lot of new posts with the flurry of activities over the holiday season.  If you're reading on the actual blog page, be sure to click "Older Posts" at the bottom to check for any you may have missed. :o)

December 2011 videos

New Year's Eve

We attended the annual "It's Midnight Somewhere" family New Year's Eve party hosted by our friends, the Ulven's.  It was a smaller group this year, but so nice because we're to the point where the kids could sit at the kitchen table and the adults could sit at the dining room table for a real meal and conversation!  It was good food and good fun.  "Midnight" took place at approximately 8:00pm.  (This is also getting later from the 6:00pm it originally started out at!)  The kids were thrilled with the noisemakers, party hats and confetti falling off the ceiling fan blades.

Cookie balls

Because I'm a glutton for punishment, and we didn't already have enough sugar-laden items gracing the counter and stuffed in the freezer, I decided to make cookie ball pops for our New Year's Eve party.  I tried chocolate peanut butter and mint Oreo.  It wasn't nearly as neat and easy as they made it look in the magazine or the YouTube video.  However, Emily had a lot of fun decorating with some fun items I picked up from the cake decorating section at Wal-Mart.  We did stick lollipop sticks in after they had hardened (because they kept falling out while trying to dip), but I didn't take any pictures. 

The hilarious thing is that when we arrived at the potluck party, I discovered that my dear friend, Kathryn, had also agreed to make a dessert and decided to bring...cake ball pops!  Hers looked WAAAY better than ours, and I found out a lot of tricks and tips from her.  I obviously watched the wrong YouTube video!   Here's her final product:

The good thing is that they all tasted good. :o)

Friday, December 30, 2011

5 years + 2 months

Emily had her sparkle on for New Year's Eve!  This is probably her current favorite outfit.  She is either wearing it, it's in the laundry basket or it's air-drying.  She usually does have matching socks.  I guess she just felt like being extra bright today!

Emily's big accomplishment this month was learning the basics of telling time.  I used The Clock Struck One: A Time-telling Tale by Trudy Harris and this manipulative clock from Emily's Scholastic bookorder.  She can definitely do 30-minute increments, is getting better at 15-minute increments and can usually figure out 1-minute increments if she thinks about it long enough or uses the manipulative clock for reference since the minute numbers are written in 5-minute increments around the outside.  She definitely has digital figured out!  I think she's starting to grasp the concept of the passage of time and what happens at different hours.  It has been helpful when she asks for a snack at 1:00pm or wonders why we have to stop reading books at 8:30pm.

Emily's downfall this month has been picking at and ripping her fingernails until they hurt and sometimes even bleed.  It is a bad habit that really needs to be broken.  She even tried putting socks over her hands while we read books together at night, but she unconsciously starts doing it one-handed.

Reading books before bed has become even more fun with Emily.  Her big gift from us was a nearly complete set of Magic Tree House books by Mary Pope Osborne (again from the school bookorder).  We started after returning home from Christmas travels and have finished the first three books already.  Both Emily & I look forward to finding out what will happen next!

It's a good thing we can have these nice bonding moments, because things can sometimes get a little dramatic around our house.  On more then one occasion after Emily got upset about something she declared, "You're not the best mom!"  It's a good thing I don't take this personally, because this same child would say something like, "You're the best mom because you have the best plan/idea" only hours later.

Austin gets in on the action, too.  He has been brain-washing teaching Emily about football.  Most importantly: who to cheer for.  It all started with the Steelers/Ravens Sunday Night Game.  When asked who we wanted to win, she was taught to reply, "The Ravens."  When probed why, she would reply, "Because the Steelers play dirty."  Now whenever a game is on, she asks which team we want to win and whether or not the other team plays dirty.  She does know that we always cheer for the Panthers (UNI, that is)!

Emily continues to be the craft queen.  This month seems to have involved a lot of cardboard and boxes.  Many of these boxes have collected in her room because she wants to still "use" them.  Unfortunately, they are usually rather large boxes.  Just yesterday she took a large diaper box and poked a hole in it just big enough to fit a jack for an old pair of headphones and dubbed it her "listening box".  Then she had to save the whole thing.  I finally told her she needed to figure out a way to store/organize her boxes because it was creating a bit of a hazard on her bedroom floor.  I told her if there was an emergency at night that we had to run upstairs it would be dangerous.  She took that very seriously and has them all stacked up now.  Now to find a way to permanently "let go" and eliminate them...


The W also has a really nice indoor swimming pool.  It's ridiculously expensive if you're not a member, but the kids each had free day passes from running in the Kids Fun Run in Waverly this summer that expired at the end of the year, so we decided to go swimming today!  Both kids had lots of fun--especially in the vortex pool.  It was quite a workout for me, too!  Emily was excited to try out her new swimming suit.  Who knew you could get a decent one at Target in December?!?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Future IRS agent?

This is what Emily had set up in her bedroom doorway this afternoon.  Really not sure where it came from.  Too many political ads?!?  At least she says please!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Fun Zone

The W in Waverly hosts a "Kids' Fun Zone" every Monday/Wednesday/Friday morning from 9:00-11:00am during the winter.  They open up two courts in the fieldhouse and supply all sorts of fun play equipment.  It only costs $.50/kid (no charge for parents).  Lincoln & I have enjoyed it several times while Emily was in preschool.  Since Emily was on vacation this week, they both got to burn off some energy today.  Emily worked on her soccer skills and ran lots of races.  Lincoln loves crawling in the pop-up tents and chasing after the hula-hoops.  There are also trikes, scooters, a bowling set, ring toss and a Cozy Coupe.

Monday, December 26, 2011


We also took the time to visit with great-grandparents before heading home.

Great-Grandma Boote

 Great-Grandma Freking

Great-Grandpa & Great-Grandma Lorenzen

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Day

After breakfast on Christmas morning we headed to NW Iowa.  The Vander Kooi side of the family was at my parents'.  It was fun to visit with people I hadn't seen in a long time.  Somehow I forgot to take pictures.  At night we celebrated Christmas with my parents and siblings.  We attempted yet another grandkid photo with the standard results:

Then it was time for presents.  We all got lots of nice stuff.  Lincoln & Ryan got matching Battat Take Apart Cranes and PlaSmart PlasmaCars .  They also enjoyed Lincoln's new Pop Goes Froggio game.

And who can resist a Where's Waldo? search with Uncle Wade?

Lincoln got his Christmas wish because it was warm enough for a ride in the Kubota with Grandpa Boote.  Emily was really excited about her Where's Waldo? The Complete Collection, Qwirkle Board Game and some new puzzles.  She was probably most excited about throwing around all the wrapping paper (see video in December player).  Of course, there was also lots of good food and fun with family.  We are so blessed!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve missed

On of the downsides of Christmas is having to choose between family celebrations.  It was the year for us to be in Waukee for Christmas Eve, so we missed my extended Boote family Christmas.  It turns out we were the only ones unable to attend that evening.  So courtesy of my Aunt Nikki, I wanted to post the amazing family pictures they took that evening.  We must be the ones that destroy every family photo attempt!

The whole Boote clan (6 children + spouses, 16 grandchildren + 6 spouses, 8 great-grandchildren counting us)

Christmas Eve

On Friday afternoon we headed to Waukee to Austin's parents'.  We enjoyed a fun evening of pizza and playing with cousins.  Christmas Eve was another day of fun (and food!) with everyone.  The kids decorated Christmas cookies (mostly so they could lick all the sprinkles off their plate afterward).

 We all went to the 4:00pm Christmas Eve service.  Afterward, we attempted some family pictures.

Then it was time for presents!  

Lincoln was most excited about his Imaginext Helicopter Rescue Set.  Emily loved her new jewelry box with a wind-up ballerina and giant activity sticker book.  Austin & I both got new work-out DVD's (P90X2 for Austin and 10-Minute Trainer for me).

Of course, everyone needed a bedtime story! :o)

Then the adults enjoyed a traditional viewing of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.