Thursday, March 31, 2011

March 2011 videos

Goodwill Week

I declared this week to be "Goodwill Week."  I have an entire closet/room in the basement dedicated to "Garage Sale" items.  However, considering the fact I have participated in exactly two garage sales my entire adult life (both were hosted by friends and I just brought stuff), the chances of me actually having a sale and getting rid of the stuff in the near future were pretty slim.  Every time I go to a garage sale (which isn't that often), I think it would be fun to have one, but I never have.  Maybe it's just my crazy business mind.  Anyway, besides the pile-up in the basement, I have been needing to go through and purge my wardrobe for awhile.  So I spent a couple days going through stuff and meticulously documenting and pricing things for the all-important tax-deductible donation receipt (the only consolation for not actually receiving cash for the items).  Today was the big drop-off day.  The back of the van was full and the basement room is empty.  I sometimes have a hard time letting go of things, but it felt good.  The only downside was that I discovered that Goodwill can't accept TV's or grills.  So if you know anyone who would be interested in a 19" box TV (with original remote and instruction manual!), a rarely used Smokey Joe Weber grill or a small table-top gas grill let me know!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

4 years + 5 months

Another month has passed and Emily continues to grow up.  (Funny how that happens!)  After literally years of mispronouncing "breakfast" in a number of different ways (it has been "bres-theck" for a long time now), Emily all the sudden started saying it correctly at the beginning of the month.  She still has a few speech corrections that need to be made, but she's figuring some of them out on her own.

One thing Emily has a reputation for with my side of the family is making up new words and explaining the definition of them with a completely straight and quite serious face.  While visiting last week she explained that a "treelay" was a rainbow with an extra color--like the one in her Bible that has pink.  She also tried to convince me to play a card game called "Warsh" with her.  It is surprisingly played almost exactly like "War" except the lowest card wins.  For some reason I strongly dislike "War" and have flat out refused to play it with her.  She's a tricky one! ;o)  She is darn good at Crazy Eights and Go Fish, though.  She may not be all that strategic, but she can still beat you!

Emily has adopted a few annoying practices this month.  One of them is big, dramatic, very fake yawns with declarations of "I'm so tired!"  This happens often.  I always make the same offer: Go lay down in your bed then.  However, she has yet to take me up on it. 

Another practice is "fishing" for numbers at meal time.  Oftentimes before she has even taken a single bite, she has already started negotiating and asking how many bites of what she has to take before she can have dessert.  If you say, "All of it," she'll respond with, "No, I need a number," or "That's too high--try again."  She sometimes spends more time negotiating than actually eating.  We have rules about the minimum she needs to eat/drink before she can leave the table and the amount she has to eat before getting dessert is always more.  Thankfully, she usually succumbs to our demands without too much of a fuss, but this is only because we have had more than a few long sits/bawling sessions at the table in the past that have established the standards and expectations.

The last one is the most troubling.  Emily has developed a sassy attitude that emerges as soon as she doesn't get her way about something.  She quickly declares something like, "Well I just won't do anything then," to which I usually reply, "Fine with me!"  However, it is almost always accompanied by a high-pitched, very impertinent "humph."  This quickly becomes grating on my nerves.  I haven't entirely decided how to handle it, so if anyone has any suggestions, they would be much appreciated!

Side note: The reason Emily is wearing bright blue socks in her picture is because I recently bought a new package of brightly colored socks for her with one for each day of the week, which is printed boldly on the bottom.  The blue socks are the Wednesday socks. :o)

Fun with a friend


We had Addy at our house to play for the day.  She's the same age and a great playmate for Emily.


Both kids got badly needed haircuts last night.  One of these days I'll stop taking pictures like it's a major life event every time they do get it cut. ;o)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Monday, March 28, 2011

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Indoor waterpark

While Lincoln & I enjoyed some (quiet!) time with my parents, Emily had the opportunity to go overnight to King's Pointe with Auntie Abbie & Uncle Wade.  King's Pointe is a waterpark resort in Storm Lake, Iowa.  Abbie won a free hotel stay and four passes to the indoor waterpark in a Valentine's drawing.  They left Friday after Abbie & Wade were done teaching school.  Then Lincoln & I picked Emily up on our way back to Waverly Saturday morning while Abbie & Wade watched Wade's sister play in an AAU volleyball tournament.  Emily had a great time.  They called us after 9:00pm to announce that they were swimmed out and Emily had gone down the big slide.  Emily slept in until after 9:00am.  Thanks Abbie & Wade for a fun outing!

Trip to Hull

While Austin was gone this week, the kids & I headed to my parents' house.  We haven't seen them since Christmas and it was my dad's birthday.  Here are some picture highlights:

Lincoln thought it was great fun to try and jump off this booster seat.  He had mixed results.

Emily got her nails painted and thought she was pretty cool.

Aunt Courtney brought a present from work--the world's largest lollipop.  Emily decided it would make a "good breakfast dessert."  After a little coaxing Emily agreed to share with Lincoln and Great Grandpa Vander Kooi.

Cousin Ryan was around for two days, so Emily & Lincoln got a lot of cousin time.  Ryan & Lincoln are 4.5 months apart and quite the pair.  Emily fondly referred to them as "the little guys."  Ryan is talking a lot more than Lincoln and calls them "Em-knee" and "Linky."  Ryan & Lincoln are almost the same height (Lincoln is on his toes in the picture below), but Ryan has 5 lbs. on Lincoln.
Can't you just hear their conversation?

"Where do you think corn futures are headed?"
"Depends how wet the spring is..." 

Grandma Boote and her boys...

Grandpa Boote and the two little monkeys...

Emily got to play a lot of games this week, too.  They included Chutes & Ladders, Rings on Your Fingers, and Hungry Hungry Hippos.


For more fun pictures check out my sister's blog post here.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

New cousin/niece

We are excited to welcome a new cousin and our first niece!  
Macy Jean Moss was born on 3/23/11 and was 7 lbs. 14 oz.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

DIRECTV commercial

So there's a new commercial out for DIRECTV featuring a rich Russian dude and his entourage--including a miniature giraffe.  It's a sequel to one they had last year.  For some reason Austin thinks this is the funniest commercial ever made (see it below).  It's the only one I know of that he not only stops to watch, but has actually rewound to watch again (and again).  He laughs out loud every time.  It's the giraffe that gets him.  Did you notice his gold-plated treadmill and that the giraffe starts running when the giraffes on TV start running (which he is watching for motivation)? 

Ready for rain

Emily is definitely dressed for the weather with her rain coat, rain boots and umbrella.  They even talked about "U for Umbrella" at preschool today. :o)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

22 months old

Lincoln is 22 months old today.  Quite a few things about him were mentioned in the Stinker-pot post earlier this month.  Lincoln has added some new words lately.  He distinctly says bird, more and down.  He can also repeat some words after you say them, but only if he's in the mood.

Lincoln still pretty much has two food groups: fruit & dairy.  Once in awhile he'll eat some noodles or even some diced ham, but only if he's in the mood.  He hardly eats any kind of cereal but will sometimes eat some crackers.  He does seem to like the Nacho Cheese Doritos, though. :op  He likes cinnamon rolls, but he only eats the bottom half of muffins.  I don't quite understand that one.  He could work at Panera Bread and help them make their "muffies." ;o)  Lincoln's favorite thing about eating is holding hands during the prayer.  He holds his hands out expectantly as soon as he sits down.

Lincoln hasn't completely stopped drooling, but I've pretty much given up on drool bibs.  I haven't checked his mouth lately, but I think he has poked through almost all of his baby teeth.  Maybe we can celebrate his second birthday without any drool at all!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Spring break

Waverly does not have a week-long spring break, but Austin's mom does, so I packed up the kids and we headed to Grandpa & Grandma Lorenzen's house for a couple days.  We had a great time!  Emily enjoyed learning several new games, including Checkers and Yahtzee.

Lincoln loved playing trucks.

We all enjoyed some time outside with the beautiful weather.  We went to three different playgrounds and played bean bags.

I had one near-adventure while we were there.  The dash lights have been flickering and the gauges jumping in the van every once in awhile for the last couple weeks.  They really started doing it while I was coming back from a shopping trip.  Then the van died while I was sitting at a stoplight by the Jordan Creek Mall.  I was able to start it again right away, but it almost died again on University Avenue.  After a couple phone calls I was able to find a repair place nearby and have the worn-out battery replaced along with an oil change the van needed anyway.  Thank goodness it didn't happen somewhere on the interstate on the way home!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tree trimmers

We had some fun entertainment during breakfast this morning.  A city crew came by with a bucket truck to trim the trees on the south side of the house.  There is no sidewalk on that side, and the trees are technically the city's responsibility because they are in the city easement.  I found out that also means that when it's time to take them down, the city will pay for it.  Yay!  Unfortunately, that might come sooner than we want.  Two of the trees are 60-year-old Ash trees that have seen better days.  Between that and the Emerald Ash Borer that just entered the most northeastern county in Iowa, it might only be another couple years.  In the meantime, it was nice to get some of the droopy branches cut off and a large one that was touching the house.  The crew also trimmed off an annoying low branch from the locust tree while they were at it. (The only downside is now we have a full view of the redneck neighbors' house across the street :op)  They put all the branches through a wood chipper and even raked the yard afterwards.  Plus they took away the pile of branches that had collected over the winter.  All for free!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Stuck in a stroller

Okay, so Lincoln isn't exactly stuck.  His skinny little butt easily slips in and out of the little doll stroller.  It's funny watching him try to get in and out sometimes.  It's one of his favorite toys. :o)


It was the beginning of real spring weather today, and we took full advantage of it by playing outside for over two hours.  In addition to going to the castle park, it was a good day to get out the T-ball set Lincoln got for Christmas.  I was sure glad we had an extra bat and ball from last summer.  It is a very good idea to have at least one per kid! ;o)  It's going to take a little more practice, but they're getting the hang of it.

Emily got excited about sidewalk chalk and Lincoln enjoyed another one of his Christmas presents brought up out of the basement.  Yay for spring!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Toothbrushes for Haiti

Emily's Sunday school class is collecting toothbrushes to send on a mission trip to Haiti next month.  Our church has been going to Haiti for several years and has some strong relationships and partnerships built there.  Emily was all excited after they made a presentation last week.  So when we went to Wal-mart this week, she cleaned out the money from her savings jar and took it along.  She was very proud to be able to pick out a total of 10 toothbrushes and pay for it herself with $5.  She was even more excited to bring them to Sunday school today.  I'm excited because this is the first time Emily has really made a connection about helping someone else out and giving something away.

Side note: As expected, Emily insisted on wearing her new "Easter dress" with the little white sweater to church.  Therefore, I have decided to call it a "Lenten dress" because she'll probably wear it every week.  One of the reasons I didn't dare get any new clothes before this weekend is that I knew once she got them she wouldn't want to wear anything else.  So I had to wait until the weather got warm enough that I wouldn't have to fight her.  After the picture yesterday she immediately put on one of the outfits (see previous post).  As I type this she has changed out of her dress into the rainbow sundress with the white sweater and rainbow leggings.  It's a little much. ;o)

Also, on a completely unrelated note, Austin recently downloaded the "Angry Birds" app onto his iPhone and showed Emily how to play it yesterday.  She is never going to leave him alone now!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

New clothes

On Saturday morning Emily & I went on a girls' shopping trip to Kohl's, one of my favorite stores.  They were having some great sales on some stuff I was looking for.  Plus, with spring just around the corner it was time to start looking for some new clothes for Emily.  We went there with the intent to buy new spring pajamas and ended up coming home with pretty much her entire spring/summer wardrobe.  As you can tell by the picture, it's pretty monochromatic.  For the record, she did try on some non-pink clothes, but those happened to be the ones that didn't fit.  Emily was a real trooper and happily tried on everything.  I just hope that by having her pick out everything that she'll wear everything!

We also made a quick stop at UniversiTEES in the mall.  My sisters from the other side of the state have raved about this store that I have never even visited.  They were right.  It is heaven for any college sports-wearing fan.  Half the store is nothing but UNI gear.  If I had my way, I'd wear UNI t-shirts & hooded sweatshirts almost every day.  I already have a pretty vast collection, but I couldn't resist outfitting the entire family in Panther Pride!  The first question Austin had is if I was plotting a family picture.  The thought had crossed my mind.  We'll have to see. ;o)

We got a few other fun things at Kohl's.  Emily was especially excited about her new pink princess kickball and a fun birthday countdown mat.   It was in the section with the placemats, but I'd probably hang it up somewhere.  It counts down for 31 days until your birthday.  She is also modeling one of her new outfits.

Friday, March 11, 2011


Lincoln has been a bit of a stinker-pot lately.  He has entered the undressing phase.  I don't know how he does it, but for the last few nights he has managed to get one or even two arms out of his zipped-up, snapped-up, footed sleeper.

He has also been on a bib strike.  He hasn't left a bib on all week.  Thankfully, his drooling has decreased enough lately that it hasn't been a huge problem.  I'm not quite ready to throw all the bibs out yet, but I'm getting really close!!

In addition to taking off his clothes, he is also obsessed with putting on footwear.  Mostly anything other than his own.  He is constantly digging in the back coat closet and hauling out various combinations of boots.  I also find my shoes scattered around our bedroom and down the hall after Lincoln gets into our closet.  If Emily leaves any shoes laying around there's a pretty good chance they'll make it on his feet.  Here he is modeling Emily's new tennis shoes.


He is also still way too interested in outlets.  While I was making supper tonight he hauled out the hand mixer.  Before I knew it I heard a whirring and a loud cry coming from the bathroom.  He had snuck in there, pulled out the nightlight and plugged in the mixer with the switch on the highest speed.  Thankfully, the beaters weren't attached.  However, based on the sobbing and whimpering that followed for quite awhile, I'm guessing he might have shocked himself a bit.  Hopefully a lesson was learned.  I know it took me a couple run-ins trying to plug in the Christmas tree lights in the dark when I was growing up. :op

To top things off, while I was pouring drinks for supper Lincoln dug out a large metal spoon and banged a glass of milk setting on the counter so hard it broke.  Luckily, it cracked and fell apart just above the milk line, so I didn't have a huge puddle to clean up. < insert guttural "haaghck" sound my mom is famous for ;o) >

Last snowman standing

Most of the snow is now gone with only a few banks along the driveway and on the north side of the house.  This is the remains of the last snowman we made after the wet snow on Tuesday night.  We can't wait for the spring weather next week!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Fun in the basement

During the long, cold, blah days of winter we have made good use of our basement.  There is enough space and different kinds of things to do that the kids can entertain themselves for quite awhile with minimal supervision/intervention.  Today was one of those days.  Here are some pictures of fun in the basement:

There are also some fun videos in the new March video player at the bottom of the blog!