Wednesday, November 30, 2011

November 2011 videos

I guess I didn't take very many videos this month.  That will probably change next month. :o)

5 years + 1 month

Another month has come and gone for Emily, and she has sure been busy!  You could probably tell that based on the number of "craft" posts lately.  She especially loves the "Make and Do" Child Craft book.  I tried hiding it once, but she's too smart for that.  The books are numbered, and it didn't take long for this firstborn child to realize #11 was missing!  Pictured here are the cartoon faces she drew using the instructions in the book.  She has also drawn some pretty good "Larry the Cucumber" likenesses after watching the bonus features on some VeggieTales DVDs.

Another thing Emily got into this month was doing experiments with water.  I would find random containers of water on the counter or in the fridge or freezer.  I showed her how to use the digital thermometer from the kitchen drawer to occasionally check the temperature of the water.  I'm not sure where she got the idea, and I don't think she understood much besides that it gets colder, but it was fun to see her all excited about science!

Emily often proves that you can never underestimate kids when it comes to electronics.  She is a whiz on the iPad2.  This month she also mastered the DVR.  Without my knowing, she figured out how to run the Smart Search function to find a show and then record the episodes she hadn't seen yet in addition to being able to find, play and skip through recorded programs.  Luckily, the show she was after was "Blue's Clues" after getting a couple of videos from the library.  Parental controls here we come!

Emily continues to have lots of "friends".  For most of the month her imaginary friend was named Addy, which was really confusing since she has both an Addie and an Addison in her preschool class and another friend named Addy from church.  Sometimes it was hard to tell if she was talking about a real person or an imaginary one.  Emily also continues to "imagine" with other objects.  Her bracelet named "Lasic" (I was corrected on this) has a bed in a shoebox but also has a decorated "sleeping shoe" that she takes naps in.  Ladybug Beetle is also a constant friend.  It looks like she's ready to go on vacation in this picture (with Sunglassa and Teddy Beara)!

Another thing Emily invented this month is "siwish" (pronounced swish),  According to her list (see picture), she has a teeth siwish, eat siwish, drink siwish, reading siwish and snowblower siwish.  I'm still unclear on the exact definition of "siwish", but her snowblower siwish is when she blows really, really hard on her food to cool it off when she thinks it's too hot.  She uses it a lot.

Emily is also quite the chatterbox.  Sometimes my head literally hurts from listening to her talk.  We also often have to make deals at the dinner table about taking a bite or two before she can say something again.  Otherwise, we would be cleaning up and she would still be talking with her full plate in front of her! 

This month Emily was really into corny jokes.  Austin downloaded an app for her, and she also remembers them from TV shows and books.  At the beginning of the month Emily all of the sudden figured out how to say a proper "S" sound without a frontal lisp.  We started practicing at night while reading books.  Then she started doing it during the day, albeit with a very concentrated effort and lots of hissing.  Toward the end of the month she slipped back into a lisp during everyday speech, but can do it the right way if reminded or prompted.  Hopefully, it won't be long before she won't have to think about it at all.

Final note: Emily is somewhat in denial that it is winter.  She also loves wearing skirts & shorts.  If we're not leaving the house, she often wears the outfit in her monthly picture or something else from her summer collection that she hasn't quite outgrown.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Friends on the stairs

Emily was an eager little elf when Lincoln went down for his nap and I started hauling out some Christmas decorations.  She practically disappeared, though, when it came time to hang wreaths outside in the cold.  It turns out she was so fascinated by the lighted greenery around the staircase banister she wanted to share it with all her friends.  As in every single stuffed animal, doll, Little People figurine and Happy Meal toy in her room.  She lined them all up on the stairs so they could look at the lights and watch the Christmas show she was going to put on using the Little People nativity set.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Vending machine

Today Emily watched the episode of Curious George where he makes a homemade vending machine to serve blueberry dessert.  So naturally, she wanted to make a vending machine, too.  She decided to serve popcorn and lemonade.  She decorated a large box and directed me where to cut the holes.  There were two circles for coins and slots for the food.  Popcorn was $1 and lemonade was $2.  Lincoln had to "pay" for his afternoon snack.  Then they spent the rest of the afternoon squabbling over who got to sit inside the vending machine. :op

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thankful for family

We had a long, relaxing Thanksgiving weekend visiting family from both sides in NW Iowa.  I didn't take my camera out very much (which actually might have made it more relaxing!), but we did take a few family pictures.

On Friday night we ate at the Pizza Ranch with my 91-year-old Grandpa Vander Kooi and other members of the Vander Kooi family.

On Saturday we visited Austin's Grandpa & Grandma Lorenzen and his sister & family in LeMars.  The cousins had lots of fun playing together.  We all enjoyed lunch from Bob's Drive-In.

On Sunday, our niece/cousin, Saylor Grace, was baptized in my home church.  This is the first full family picture we've taken in four years (also includes my Grandma Boote).

The kids even cooperated for a decent family picture of just us.

My sisters and I

Emily and Saylor

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful tree

I got this idea from a good friend.  We collected leaves from the burning bush by our house and pressed them in the phone book.  Then each night at supper we wrote down things we are thankful for on the leaves and glued them to the tree.  Emily also made gingerbread people to represent each member of our family.  We are thankful for so many things!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

2 years + 6 months

Lincoln is now officially 2 1/2 years old.  He has a personality all his own, but he loves copying people and trying to keep up with his big sister.

Lincoln can pretty accurately count from 1-10, but I'm pretty sure it's just memorized and has little meaning to him.  When he sings the "ABC's" he sometimes just repeats, "Q, R, S...Y and Z." over and over.  He is about 75% accurate when naming basic shapes.  All colors are either green or purple.

Speaking of colors, Lincoln LOVES coloring with markers--especially black and blue.  If you leave him unattended for any amount of time downstairs you will most likely need to scrub his face and hands.  That's why we only have washable markers in our house. ;o)

Lincoln loves playing some of the games Emily got for her birthday.  His favorites are Head to Toe and Steady Freddy.  It's funny listening to him ask for them and carefully enunciating every syllable.  He may not follow the game rules (or Emily's rules), but he is learning how to take turns.

Something Lincoln does NOT love is wearing a coat.  I haven't been able to get his winter coat on him at all.  As a compromise, I have been using a lined hooded sweatshirt and the inside part of another coat as a double layer.  The problem is that as soon as he sets foot inside any building, he immediately strips and drops both layers.  This can get very annoying on errands day when we make 4+ stops plus preschool drop-off and pick-up.  That's a lot of zipper zipping!  Once in awhile he'll let me put the hoods up if it's windy.  We haven't even fought the real battle of hats and mittens yet. :op

The other thing Lincoln does not love wearing is pajamas while sleeping.  He will excitedly put on pajamas after bathtime and wear them just fine while reading books.  However, as soon as you turn off the light and walk out the door he strips them off and drops them on the floor next to his crib.  If you go in to check his diaper and redress him you have a 50/50 chance he'll strip them off again.  So, about 90% of the time he sleeps in only a diaper, often wrapped up like a hotdog in his little fleece blanket.  Then when you come into his room in the morning, the little stinker wants his pajamas back on again and will play in them happily until you get him dressed for the day.  He has even requested to change into pajamas for nap time.

At first I thought it was an aversion towards footed sleepers, so I bought three new two-piece pajama sets in three different types of fabric.  It doesn't seem to make a difference.  Your best shot is with the light-weight lion pajamas, but I think that's more because of the lion and less because of the material/style.  I know this is probably just a phase, so I've learned to look on the bright side--less laundry and wear-and-tear on jammies!

On a somewhat related note, Lincoln has a huge issue with bedhead.  I thought maybe if I gave him a shorter haircut it wouldn't be so bad, but at 7/8 in. it's still all swirly and unruly in the morning.  I guess the only real solution is a total buzz job.  Sigh...

Occupy Living Room

Emily had been asking for several days if she could build a tent in the living room with the intention of sleeping there overnight.  I helped her get the basic tent made on Friday afternoon.  Then she literally moved half of her room down to the living room.  Even ladybug beetle had her own tent (pink blanket).  After "tucking her in" around 8:30pm, Emily quietly looked at books until 9:45pm.  She then announced that her tent was too small, and she wanted to sleep in her own bed.  I don't think she'd last too long as a protester. ;o)

Emily had more fun playing in her tent on Saturday before willingly helping to dismantle it and hauling everything back upstairs to her room, much to her daddy's relief. ;o)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Sock puppets

Sometimes Emily gets quite creative entertaining herself after being put to bed.  This particular night she took all the socks & tights out of her drawer and made "sock puppets."  Notice the socks on the feet of each pair of tights. 

The next day we picked out a few pairs of socks she had outgrown and she made real sock puppets.  This is Henry (boy) & Mudge (dog).

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ladybug costume

Emily has become very interested in crafts lately (and I am NOT a very "crafty" person).  This has been partially spurred on by the "Make and Do" Child Craft book from my childhood (circa 1986).  Today she came across the costume pages.  I vividly remember this section because we made the butterfly costumes out of poster board one year for Halloween.  She was intent on making the ladybug costume to be like her Happy Napper "ladybug beetle".  Unfortunately, the directions called for large pieces of felt, elastic straps and lots of sewing.  Not gonna happen with this momma.  I encouraged her to try and think of something else she could use.  She found a perfect-sized cardboard box, but broke down in tears when I explained that it couldn't be cut into a round shape.  After a teary-eyed discussion about round vs. square shells, she finally acquiesced and the project continued.  She did a great job decorating the box, and we found some shiny silver curling ribbon to use as straps.  In the end she was very happy to wear it and okay with the fact that it didn't look exactly like the picture.  She is just like her first-born momma and wants to follow all the directions to make it look exactly like the picture.  I'm proud of her for having such a good attitude about it after realizing it wasn't going to happen that way.  It took me a LOT longer to reach that point growing up!  She is our cute little ladybug no matter what!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Meeting Cousin Saylor

The kids & I were finally to meet our niece/cousin Saylor at the state volleyball tournament in Cedar Rapids.  Saylor's Aunt Whitney was playing for my hometown team.  It was fun to watch them play and win their first round match.  They are WAAAAY better than we ever were in high school!

Lincoln thought it was great and loved clapping and cheering and screaming regardless of what was going on.  However, he didn't have a long attention span and spent most of the time crawling over chairs and people.  I kind of forgot that Emily doesn't like loud noises and chaos.  She spent most of the time cowering in her seat and telling people, "Shhh!"  We are obviously not a sports spectator family!

We were cheering really hard for the Comets, because if they won we got to go back to Abbie & Wade's hotel and go swimming!  The kids had a great time with Uncle Wade in the water while I hung out with Abbie & Saylor.

The kids liked meeting Saylor, too.  Lincoln was VERY intrigued by Saylor's bottle and pacifier.  Emily thought it was fun holding Saylor, but spent more time writing notes to Abbie & Wade on the hotel note pad.

I'm so glad it worked out to finally see Saylor after we missed her Labor Day weekend when she took her sweet time arriving into this world!  We can't wait to see her again at Thanksgiving! (Oh, and Abbie & Wade, too.)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A blast from the past...

I recently found my old 35mm film camera in the basement that I used from high school right up until Emily was born and we got a digital camera.  It still had a roll of film in it, and I knew of at least two pictures on that roll that I wanted to have.  I was curious what else might be there from 5 years ago!  I ended up having to buy a new battery just to get it turned on.  Then I had to waste half the roll on random pictures to use it up.  Developing it cost almost twice as much as what it did when I used it regularly.  But it was worth it.  There were some fun pictures of friends and a VERY pregnant me (I'll spare you the worst ones).  Here is a sampling...
Baby shower when pregnant with Emily
BFF's from college
Austin building the front deck at our Denver house
Working in my office at FRA (My feet were so swollen that I wore flip flops and this pair of sandals all the way through October because they were the only shoes that fit.)
The PL gang from college (minus two)

First snowfall

The first snowfall of the season is always exciting, even if it doesn't last very long.  We got 2" of wet, sloppy muck overnight that mostly melted by the end of the day.  However, it was enough to cause a late start and some inconvenience.  Emily still had preschool, but we had a very modified version of MOPS.  Emily was excited to wear her new snow boots.  Lincoln's first reaction when he woke up was, "Snowman!!" :o)

We're still here!

I'm not sure I've ever been so far behind on blogging.  I've had lots of things going on the last two weeks, and time has become very precious.  I have been taking the advice I've heard over and over again and made some conscious decisions to put my family and personal needs ahead of blogging.  I am hoping to start catching up again soon.  So bear with me and keep checking back!  Note: My personality dictates that things be kept in chronological order, so if you're reading this on the actual blog page scroll past it for new posts.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Emily spends a lot of time down at her "art desk" writing and drawing all kinds of things.  I found this hanging up on her art wall after farm week at preschool...
I personally love the goldfish tank complete with the rainbow castle. :o)

Puzzling mystery solved

After a perfect day yesterday, it was a cold, rainy day today.  While Emily was at preschool, Lincoln hauled out all of the wooden board puzzles.  Sometime last spring I noticed that all the animals (except the elephant) had mysteriously disappeared from the nice Melissa & Doug zoo animal puzzle.  Since then, many other wooden puzzle pieces have gone missing.  I was pretty sure I knew where they went because one day I caught Lincoln trying to stuff the elephant in the slot of the radiator cover (it didn't fit).  The covers are a huge pain to remove, so I've left them alone.  However, after painfully digging out six pieces a couple weeks ago at the same time as the pacifier incident, I decided to see exactly how many were in there.  After struggling to remove painted-on screws, I discovered an additional 21 puzzle pieces.  We now have all the pieces back for all the puzzles.  At least for now...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Captain Bathtub

Hanging at the park

Today we enjoyed "hanging out" at the castle park on the last gorgeous, no-coats-needed day of fall. :o)