Sunday, July 31, 2011

July 2011 videos

YouTube finally completely eliminated the custom video players. Now I can just embed a playlist of videos from the month.  It's a little different layout, but essentially the same thing.  I will continue to post the playlist for each month at the end of the month with the current month's playlist at the bottom of the blog.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

4 years + 9 months

Emily has become a full-fledged reader this month.  On the 4th of July she declared that she was "a grown-up reader" and from then on has been able to read pretty much anything she picks up.  When her new Highlights High Five magazine came in the mail this month, she read the whole thing to my mom with the exception of the Spanish words in one of the stories.  (She has since attempted to pronounce them whenever we come across them.)  Her reading is fluent and with expression.  I'm am continually amazed and thankful that God has blessed her with this ability. 

While amazing, Emily's reading is definitely not perfect, which leads to some funny things.  The most recent that makes me laugh every time is a story with a character called Aunt Cecilia.  Emily can't quite seem get it right and usually ends up saying "Aunt Ce-celery."

Along with reading, Emily continues to be fascinated with writing.  I bought some cheap notebooks and she has been filling them with all kinds of words and lists and stories.  She was very proud of herself last week when she finally figured out how to correctly write a lower-case "a".  Up until this point she had mainly avoided it and used exclusively an upper-case "A".  She still usually misses the first "n" in Lorenzen, and writes her "z's" backwards, but we're working on that. 

Emily has also started to become interested in geography.  She likes drawing maps and labeling places.  Minnesota usually ends up generally north of Iowa.  The rest is kind of a mish-mash.  To help this along, I recently purchased a large U.S. map poster.  We hung it up downstairs and put star stickers on all the cities Austin has been to with his new job.  It's quite amazing considering it has only been 8 months (click to zoom in)!  A world map was also included.  Emily thought it was pretty funny that there was a place called Turkey!

The "Why?" question has come out more this month than ever before.  Emily was late in starting it and must be making up for lost time.  Your gut instinct is to start answering it right away.  However, when I start to get frustrated I have to remind myself that sometimes she doesn't necessarily want/need to know the answer.  It's just a reaction on her part, too.  It's funny when she tries to explain the meaning of words or answer the "why" questions herself, which she often does.

At the beginning of the month Emily would spend most of suppertime conducting quiz shows.  Austin was usually the blue team and I was the red team.  She'd ask questions and give multiple choice answers, but the "correct" answer was usually not one of the choices.  So it was pretty much rigged and she did whatever she wanted.  Austin & I would usually play along for awhile, but eventually start making rules about how many bites of supper or sips of milk she had to take before she could ask the next question.  Understandably, she was always the last one done.  Thankfully, that little phase has passed.

Emily continues to make baby steps in the swimming department as we have made a conscious effort to get to a pool more often.  We'll probably try lessons again in the fall.  She also continues to have a variety of imaginary friends.  Lily was still probably the favorite this month, but there have been some newer ones lately.  Emily is able to acknowledge that they are imaginary, though. 

We look forward to one more month of summer fun before starting preschool again in September!  Note: In her picture, Emily is wearing the new dress Grandma Lorenzen got her for preschool. :o)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Hosting friends

We had the joy of hosting some good friends the last couple days.  The Hueninks recently moved to Wisconsin and were back in town this week.  Austin was out of town, so it was fun to have someone to talk to and for the kids to play with.  You know it's a good friend when you can visit for two days and never run out of things to talk about!

Here are the munchkins with Emily not wanting to take a picture.  They had a lot of "jump parties" on the blow-up mattress.

It rained a good part of the time they were here, so we mostly played inside.  This is what the living room looked like within an hour of them getting up each day.  We didn't even crack open the toy closet upstairs!

The one request was to take a trip to the Duos ice cream shop.  How cute are the kids holding hands on the walk there?!?

Here's the ice cream line-up.  All three boys had the "Blue Moon" flavor, which tastes like Froot Loops.  Personally, I think it's disgusting, but they all loved it!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sit box

We've had lots of things delivered in boxes lately.  Emily claimed this one and spent a good chunk of the morning decorating it with her new colored pencils.  She declared it to be her "sit box" and basically used it as a chair in the living room.  It's hard to see, but it says "Welcome to the sit box" above the sign.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Shopping troopers

These poor kids have been hauled to every big box home improvement store in Waterloo every week for three weeks now.  Home improvement shopping is not a kid-friendly activity.  In this picture the kids are only smiling because a) they got to ride on the cart and b) we're finally heading home now that it's past both lunch and nap time.  While the cartons of tile were being loaded Lincoln was sprawled out face down on a stack of door mats because he was so tired.  Thankfully, I think I'm done with my part of the shopping.  Everything has been purchased or is on order.  Stay tuned for our next major home improvement project set for Labor Day weekend!


Lincoln's knees had a rough weekend...

Sunday, July 24, 2011


After a bit of a dry spell, we got a significant amount of rain through several waves of thunderstorms this weekend.  Thankfully, our kids are not at all afraid of thunder and lightning.  In fact, as one storm rolled through just before bedtime on Friday night, Lincoln was cheering it on!  Below are pictures of him waiting anxiously for the next flash lightning and his reaction to the thunder that followed.

I also took some video...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

8 years

Austin & I celebrated our 8th anniversary by going out to see the 8th (and final) Harry Potter movie.  It was really good--especially in 3D (it was my first 3D experience).  Like for many others I've talked to, it was bittersweet to see it all end.

While we were waiting for the babysitter to arrive I got out our wedding photo albums.  It had been a long time since I had looked at them.  Emily had never seen them.  Her commentary was pretty funny.  She kept going on and on about a "beautiful vase."  I finally figured out she was referring to my veil.  She also thought that she was a baby inside my tummy in the pictures.  Umm...not quite yet.

Anyway, it's hard to believe 8 years have gone by already.  It makes me feel old!  However, looking back on everything Austin & I have done and accomplished I guess it really has been that long.  Here's to many more years and accomplishments together!

2 years + 2 months

It has been an active month for Lincoln.  As you can see by his picture, he pretty much has permanently skinned knees.  He usually has at least one stubbed toe, too.  I guess that's pretty normal for a 2-year-old boy in the summer.  Thankfully, he usually doesn't get too shook about it and rarely cries for more than 30 seconds, if at all.  At some point during the last month he must have fallen and chipped a small piece off of a top front tooth.  Not sure when that happened.  It's not bad or noticeable enough to do anything about it.  Now I'm just waiting for him to fall again and bite his lip open.  :op

Most of Lincoln's owies come from all the time spent playing outside.  He enjoys doing anything outdoors.  He especially loves swings, sand and riding around on his trike and Cozy Coupe.  It's a good thing he loves sunscreen!  He usually begs for more when I use the spray can.

Lincoln is also really into jumping.  Sometimes this gets him in trouble when he misjudges the height of something.  He also does this funny thing where he jumps up with both feet and purposely lands hard on his bottom.  He thinks it's really funny.  I'll have to try and catch it on video sometime.

Lincoln's verbal skills took another jump this month.  He has been saying more words unprompted and has started stringing together two and even three word phrases.  One of the funniest things is listening to him pray before, and usually multiple times during, meals.  He holds out his hands and says, "Pay".   Then he begins, "Goh...uh hum...mumble...mumble...mumble with great expression...Ay-Meh!" and throws his hands in the air.  It's often over top of and in direct competition with whatever prayer Emily is saying.  He also has some other very important words in his vocabulary like "pop-i-tal" (popsicle) and "I-keem-cone" (ice cream cone).  :o)

Speaking of eating, Lincoln continues to eat better and more.  While ice cream cones are still messy disasters, he is getting pretty good with the popsicles.  This is good, because he is less and less willing to keep a bib on these days.  He has also almost permanently graduated from using a booster seat.  He either sits or stands on a regular chair 90% of the time.  One milestone Lincoln accomplished just this week is figuring out how to eat corn-on-the-cob.  He's not very efficient, but he gets the job done!

Saturday, July 16, 2011


I love fireworks but haven't been anywhere to see any since we had kids.  Therefore, I was pretty excited for the fireworks display for Heritage Days, which was shot off from the fairgrounds just two blocks from our house.  We let Emily stay up and watch, too.  She was awed by all the "sparklies," but after 5 minutes she decided it was too loud.  It was nice that we were just sitting on the curb by our house so she could run inside and have Austin put her to bed while I watched the rest of the impressive 25 minute display.  Fireworks have sure gotten cooler in the last five years!

Waverly Heritage Days parade

It was on our bucket list to see a parade this summer, but we one-upped it and were in a parade this morning!  Waverly Heritage Days are this weekend with the big parade this morning.  This is the first year we've been around for the celebration.  It was hot, but there was a nice breeze. 

It was a big parade.  The route was 1.5 miles and took about 35 minutes to walk (it was fast moving!).  The parade itself was close to an hour long.  The kids & I walked with our MOPS group near the beginning.  Lincoln rode in the wagon while Emily pedaled her decorated tricycle the entire way.  She never got tired and only had to be guided along when we were falling a bit behind because she was too busy throwing out candy. :o)  It was also nice that we were two entries behind the community band on a flatbed trailer.  Here are some pictures of our morning:
Waiting in the line-up area
We're ready to roll!
Emily's sign (notice the tiny pink disco ball)
Lincoln's sign (also ended up with a disco ball)
Expert candy-thrower and tricycle-peddler
Lincoln sneaking candy during the parade
 Enjoying some candy after the parade

Watching the rest of the parade from the shade.  The favorites were crazy remote-controlled cars and all the fire trucks.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Garden update

I thought it was time to give a little picture update of our garden and flowers.  Here's the current garden:

We've already enjoyed four heads of broccoli and quite a few green beans from the colored pots.  The tomato & pepper plants are full of fruit and the corn is just beginning to tassle.  The marigolds and zinnias are also starting to bloom.  We only had one sunflower survive the rabbits and thunderstorms.  :o(  One of the blueberry bushes (not pictured) has a handful of blueberries growing.  Most of the raspberry plants have dried up and probably died.  This is very sad to me even though I didn't pay for them.  They probably didn't get enough water.  It's also less than ideal soil/growing conditions.  We'll have to see what does or does not come up next spring.

Here are some more pictures of flowers/landscaping from around the house:


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Fireflies II

The kids were up late since Grandma was here and Emily wanted to catch fireflies again.  This time we went out earlier while it was still light enough to see them flying around even when they weren't glowing.  Emily was able to catch lots of them.  Lincoln also joined us this time.  He needs to work on his technique, though.  His main strategy was to hold his net up as high as he could and grunt as loud as he could.  All he really caught was this:

He soon ditched the net in favor of sticks and leaves to play with. :o)

Butterfly garden

My mom came to stay with us for a few days this week while Austin is on a four-city tour of Canada.  One thing we wanted to do was take her to see the butterfly garden by the library.  It is really beautiful right now.  One of Emily's preschool teachers volunteers a lot of hours there in the summer, so it has been fun visiting with her and learning about the garden whenever we run into her there.  Here are some pictures:

View of garden looking north

Lincoln is fascinated by the three streams that flow into a small pond

Lincoln posed this himself

Emily was all about posing for pictures, too

Even together!

Emily liked the soft middle of the cone flowers

There is currently a beautiful display of lilies in every color

We saw lots of monarchs and dragonflies

This last picture is looking over the southwest part of garden.  Lincoln is heading to the water source on the far end.  Minutes after this picture was taken the inevitable happened--Lincoln fell face first into the water.  He was completely drenched from head to toe with algae wrapped around his ears.  He didn't get hurt or even cut or bruised anywhere.  He was just shook up.  We quickly rushed him home for a good scrubbing in the bathtub and all was well again.  Hopefully he learned a little lesson and stays a little further away next time!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

High flying

It was a perfect day to fly a kite--sunny with a stiff south breeze.  The kids & I headed to the high school practice field, which is on top of a hill.  It took a little bit to get it up (mostly because I was more concerned about trying to get pictures), but once we did it stayed up until we reeled it back in 20 minutes later.

We couldn't leave without a jaunt around the track.  Emily declared she was going to do 12 laps.  She actually made it around twice--once going each direction.  She ran most of the first lap and walked most of the second.  Not bad for it being almost 90 degrees and wearing cheap flip-flops from Target!  Lincoln wanted to join in the fun, too.  He made it all the way around once--also wearing flip-flops. :o)