Saturday, March 31, 2012

Friday, March 30, 2012

Revised schedule

Emily has a new, more detailed daily schedule:
1  Go to sleep
6  End
7  Wake Up
8  Get Dressed
9  Eat Breakfast
10 Play
11 Rest
12 Eat Lunch
Noon end Morning
1  Watch Videos
2  Play
3  Eat Snack
4  Make Projects
5  Set Table
6  Have Dessert
7  Bathtime
8  Bedtime/Read books
9  Look at books
10 Play with Stuffed Animals
11 Clean up Room
12 Go to Sleep
New Day

5 years + 5 months

Emily has had big dreams this month.  At the beginning of the month she was trying to decide if she wanted to be a scientist or a detective.  She settled on detective and started taking notes on the members of our family like Jack from The Magic Treehouse books.  She keeps them on slips of paper in containers on her art desk.  Her notes on me say "Hard work" "Pays bills" "Favorite state is Iowa" and "Does not like rice spilled" (referring to the rice box).  Lincoln's notes say "Spills rice" "Mess of rice makes a disaster" "Never picks up rice" "Likes rice and diggers" "Loves bagels" "Doesn't obey anybody".  The last one makes me laugh.

Lately, Emily has been playing Rock Star Emily.  Although I'm pretty sure she has no idea what the real lifestyle of a rock star looks like, she thinks it means she is the best.  She has been making posters advertising for Rock Star Emily.  She has her own web site (, her own TV channel (712) and some kind of singing contest with 60 episodes and the finale on May 1 (although we've never watched any of the reality singing shows).  She also made her own pennant flags.  EEK stands for Emma, Emily & Karen (two imaginary friends).  I know this is all coming from a Fetch! episode where they learned about playing/writing rock songs.

I have mentioned many times the Child Craft books from my childhood that reside in Emily's room.  She loves looking through them.  This month she has really studied the "Guide for Parents," which is basically a how-to guide circa 1986.  At various times she has informed me that you really only need to bathe babies 3-4 times/week unless they get really dirty, we need to let the babysitter know what TV shows or commercials she is allowed to watch and suggested we create a "safe" place for Lincoln (a "toodler") where he is allowed to make messes and we can say "yes" instead of always saying "no".  How would we live without her?!? ;o)  The other night she told Austin she was reading it so she would know what to do when she had kids.

Geography is still a major interest.  Emily is doing better at pronouncing the states after learning the song Fifty Nifty United States.  After conquering "Stack the States," Emily has moved on to "Stack the Countries."  That's another pronunciation challenge!

Emily has been very proud to start making her own lunch, which is usually a ham & cheese sandwich.  She still enjoys her beloved Chocolate Frosted Mini-Wheats for breakfast (dry) with an occasional addition of Quaker Oatmeal Squares or Life.  She usually requests it for snack, too.  However, she has an annoying habit of always leaving 4-5 pieces in the bowl no matter how full I fill it.  :op Sometimes when I ask her what she wants to eat she replies, "Whatever you give me is fine."  She is doing better about trying things that I make with less drama, although she still prefers things plain and bland.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

House color? Vote now!

While still finishing up the new home office, we're already getting started on the next big project--painting the exterior of our house.  Austin was going to wait until May, but we found someone to spray the siding who might be ready as early as next week, so we have to pick a color!  We have already decided that all the trim is going to be white, including the porches and all the brick molding around the windows.  We will also have white gutters and downspouts.  The house color needs to look okay with the existing brick facade.  Here are the two colors in the running.  I won't tell you who picked out which color.  I realize that it's hard to tell from pictures since the coloring can be so different.  None of the pictures have been doctored using Picasa.  Please let me know ASAP your vote!
For reference, here are some pictures of the outside of our house taken when we first bought it.

More Spring

Spring flowers

I have been eagerly anticipating spring after spending a lot of time and effort planting all sorts of new bulb plants last fall.  I have not been disappointed!  And I didn't even have to wait until April or May!


Right after Christmas, Emily started asking about an art easel like the one they had at preschool.  About a month ago I finally got around to using the kids' Christmas money to order an easel and supplies from Amazon.  Then the weather turned nice and we've spent almost every day outside.  The kids have used the chalkboard side a bit, and Lincoln might have already ruined the whiteboard side by scribbling all over it with regular markers.  The painting aspect is also a bit limiting, because although the paints are washable, at this point I am not willing to get them out while Lincoln is awake.  But today Emily decided to give it a try.  Here are her creations...

Friday, March 23, 2012

Spring break visit

Grandma Lorenzen was on spring break this week, so she came to visit this afternoon.  It was another beautiful day, and we enjoyed playing outside.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Emily's schedule

The book What Time Is It, Mr. Crocodile? by Judy Sierra has been very popular in our house lately.  Lincoln loves pointing out the clock on each page and lets you know if you skip it.  Emily recently made a list of her schedule for the day...

1.  Meet friend  7:00
2.  Explore the world  7:20
3.  Read Bible  7:30
4.  Do something fun  7:35
5.  Snack  7:40
6.  Mail time  7:50
7.  Play in the gym 7:55
8.  Clean up  8:00
9.  Play  8:20
10. Look  8:30
11. Go home  12:00

That's quite a lot to fit into one morning! :o)

Refinished floors

We are almost done with our next remodeling project.  One of the big components of this one was refinishing the original hardwood floors in our house, which cover four bedrooms, two hallways, the treads on the stairs and various closets.  If you're going to do them, you might as well do them all at once, so it was a daunting task.  However, Austin found an amazing company online that does a mess-free, nearly fume-free, sand-less refinishing method in one day.  Our Mr. Sandless crew was out of Urbandale.

I think it took longer than they expected because of some detail work they had to do, especially on the stairs, and me requesting that they also do the raised closet floor in the master bedroom.  The kids & I stayed away from the house most of the day, and Austin worked out of the basement.  The crew ended up staying until 9:30pm to finish up, and we weren't able to move furniture back onto the floors for another 5 hours, so we had a family camp-out in the middle of the living room.  This is probably the closest we'll ever get to real camping.  We even turned on the fireplace for effect. ;o)  The kids thought it was fun.  I wouldn't want to do it every night.

Here is a picture video I made showing the final results.  We are very pleased and highly recommend them!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Catch me!

We got Emily signed up for T-ball this summer, so we took a trip to Wal-mart for a new glove.  Lincoln also got a little one along with a bike helmet.  Emily was super excited, so all four of us went outside after supper to play catch for the first time ever.  Emily did well, but it's going to take a lot of practice and a lot of hours.  There is a short video in the March play list of Austin & Emily together.  There is also a long montage of our trip to the hospital parking lot with the plasma cars a few nights ago.  It's going to be a fun summer!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Chasing ducks and climbing stumps

There is an odd group of Mallard ducks that shows up and roams our neighborhood for a couple weeks each spring.  It's only ever one female and this year is up to four males.  Together, they slowly waddle around across lawns, alleys and streets.  I've seen them hold up traffic on the street in front of the hospital for a few minutes.  Lincoln is fascinated by them and one night he tried to catch them.  He didn't get very close, though, because I wouldn't let him run over other people's lawns.  So now we have to "look for the ducks" when we go outside.

The other thing Lincoln loves to do is walk around the block.  What he really just wants to do is climb all over the stump of a huge tree that was cut down last fall.  Here are the King & Queen of the Stump!

2 years + 10 months

We have had a busy and fun month OUTSIDE!  The weather has been nothing short of amazing, and Lincoln's knees prove it.  He has worn shorts and a t-shirt for five consecutive days and has scraped his knees to the point of bleeding at least once each of those days.  He also has bruises on his shins and blisters on his ankles from running around in Crocs with no socks.  The poor kid is not going to have any skin left by the end of the summer!

He loves the "digger stickers" (i.e. Bob the Builder Band-Aids).  They really became stickers, too, because we received them as part of a picture hanging kit for a wedding shower gift 9 years ago, so there wasn't a whole lot of "stick" left to them.  Plus, whenever I gave one to Lincoln, he'd tear off the small gauze pad in the middle and just put on the sticker.  I started giving him as many as he wanted and let him stick them wherever he wanted (see picture on left).  However, after three more scrapes in one evening that resulted in some pretty bloody and raw holes, I finally got out some large square patches and made him wear them to give his knees a chance to start healing and to just plain protect them (see chair picture)!  Fortunately, Lincoln is really tough and barely even cries.  As soon as I pick him up he's fine.  It obviously doesn't slow him down much (see picture on right).

Lincoln has made the transition to his big bed better than I expected.  I spent the first few days/nights laying down with him for naps and sitting in a recliner chair in his room at bedtime until he fell asleep.  I didn't get much done (other than playing lots of Words With Friends and reading a short novel on my iPhone in the dark), but it was kind of nice to be forced to sit and rest.  But I can't do that every night, so I had to slowly wean Lincoln of my presence.  I spent some quality time sitting in the hallway for a while, but he quickly adapted.

We have developed a pretty good bedtime routine that includes Emily, too.  Sadly, it doesn't include snuggling in the chair together while reading books anymore, but it's working.  I'm still not sure how Lincoln would do having someone other than me put him to bed, but we'll cross that bridge when we get there.  We have the video monitor set up and have kind of gone the same route as we did with Emily.  After being put to bed, the kids can do whatever they want quietly as long as they stay in their rooms.  It's kind of amusing watching Lincoln's antics.  For some reason, he also tends to occasionally enjoy sleeping on the floor.  I would say about 25% of the time he ends up on the rug with his Thomas pillow, blanket and pacifier.  This often happens after he has stripped his bed as shown in the picture.  I'm sure it's just a phase, so we just smile and shake our heads.

I also want to note that one of my biggest fears about moving him to a big bed was that he would drop his nap completely like Emily did.  While he might occasionally skip it or we have something that prevents it, he still needs it.  When he's really tired, he actually goes upstairs and puts himself down for a 3 hour nap while Emily & I finish eating lunch.

Lincoln continues to try hard to keep up with his big sister.  There are a few easy iPhone apps that he enjoys playing (a little too much perhaps).  However, I've noticed that he has begun to recognize individual letters such as A, T, O, W, X, etc.  He also does a pretty good job counting out a small number of objects (six or less).  He mostly has the basic shapes down, but we're still working on colors.

One cute thing Lincoln has really gotten into lately is praying before meals.  His prayers are becoming more intelligible, but are still a lot of mumble-jumble.  He starts off by saying, "Deah God, tank you for da beau-ful nice day" and then proceeds to list some things we have done or are planning to do that day.  He ends with a big "Amen!"  I think it's funny that he also calls pears, "pway-ehs". 

Another sort of cute thing is Lincoln's frequent request to "Hold me!"  This is directed only to me and is used when he's hurt, tired or just wants a little love.  It's nice to have a snuggler, but it kind of gets in the way when there are things that have to be done, like cooking supper and doing laundry.  It's a lucky thing that Lincoln is still lightweight for his age, so it's still a possibility to pick him up and hold him when he needs it.  I love my little cuddle-bug!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Princess Party

The kids were invited to a princess birthday party today.  Emily was very excited and wore a dress for the the first time since last summer (along with some stunning rainbow-striped tights and sparkly Hello Kitty shoes).  There were lots of other pretty dresses to try on, balloons to dance with and a yummy lunch with fun party favors.  Lincoln got a few pirate accessories and had fun dressing up as a dragon.  (But he's a pretty friendly one.)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Picnic supper

With the fabulous weather this week it was time to scrub down and fire up the grill.  We enjoyed a beautiful picnic supper on the deck.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Emily finally got a long overdue haircut.  Neither of us will miss the tangles of longer hair.

Lincoln managed to get his first skinned knees of the season on the first day wearing shorts (not that we're complaining about wearing shorts on March 14).  He was very excited about getting "digger stickers" (i.e. Bob the Builder Band-Aids), although one knee required a large patch at first. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Kites **Updated**

We had a play date today and the kids made a fun homemade kite craft.  The wind was a little unpredictable, but the kites worked amazingly well.  I didn't get great pictures on my phone, but here are a few.

Here are a few more pictures from the hostess who has a better camera and more photographic knowledge and skill.  Also, the link to the kite project can be found here.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Rice mess

The rice box, and thus the rice mess, has returned.  It happened after Lincoln decided to play digger man in the potted plant in the living room.  I figured rice on the basement floor was better than dirt on the brand new carpet, so I dug out the original container and emptied a new bag of rice I still had in the closet.  Lincoln was in heaven.  He has literally spent hours sitting in the box with his various vehicles and has had to be hauled kicking and screaming upstairs on more than one occasion.  His clothes get covered in rice dust and rice comes out of every nook and cranny and ends up all over the house.  Plus, the basement has proceeded from this...

To this...

To this...

It is currently a serious safety hazard on the slick tile, but I haven't had the mental or emotional energy to deal with it yet.  I'm working on a plan for some kind of containment solution.  Any ideas?!?