Monday, April 30, 2012

April 2012 videos

5 years + 6 months

Emily is now officially 5 1/2 years old.  According to the growth chart hanging in her room, she has grown 2 inches since her birthday!  She is now 45.5" tall and weighs 48 lbs.

Emily continues to explore and soak up knowledge.  She is now becoming more interested in other countries.  She often shares facts she has learned in the "About Us" Child Craft book (such as in Yemen boys & girls become men & women at age 13).  She also loves to be quizzed about what continent a country is on (you name the country, she names the continent).  Lately, she wants to know what language is spoken in different countries.

Speaking of quizzing, oftentimes when Emily asks a question I find myself having to first clarify whether or not she's telling a joke, she's quizzing my knowledge (i.e. she already knows or thinks she knows the answer) or she genuinely doesn't know the answer but wants to.  So many times I have tried to come up with a good explanation only to be matter-of-factually told, "No, Mom.  It's..."

Learning about other places has sparked an interest in visiting them.  Her travel wish list currently includes Montana to see the battlefield of Little Bighorn, Missouri to see the St. Louis arch and Washington, D.C.

Emily has been working on two big skills this month.  The first is learning how to jump rope.  The second is tying laced shoes.  Up until this point I have very deliberately never purchased laced shoes for my children because I didn't want to have to be constantly tying them.  However, tying shoes is a skill they are supposed to learn for Kindergarten, so we picked out a new pair of shoes and had a few lessons.  This is a proud Emily after she went up to her room and emerged with both shoes tied all by herself!

She has some more practicing to do.  If she has enough time and patience she can get it, but it's usually not very tight, so her shoes feel loose.  I bought shorter laces for her shoes, so we haven't had to do double knots yet.  Sometimes when untying the laces get tied in knots.  She's still very proud when she gets it, though!

Emily continues to have a vivid imagination the includes a variety of imaginary friends.  The most popular this month have been Karen & Kaithlyn (she pronounces it like Kaitlyn only with a /th/).  They may or may not be twin sisters.  Both of them, but especially Karen, tend to take on characteristics and personalities based on whatever is on Emily's mind.  It can be a fascinating window into what she is thinking about.

T-ball practice

Emily is participating in the Shell Rock Youth T-ball program this year.  They had their first (and only) practice tonight.  It was amusing to watch four coaches direct 10 kids ages 3-5 in the basics of which direction to run around the bases, hitting off a tee, fielding the ball and throwing to first base.  I was actually pretty impressed with the kids, other than the fact 5 out of the 10 had to take a potty break at some point during the 45 min. practice and the one 3-year-old who kept running off to pet the stray cat that was wandering around.  I was pretty impressed by Emily, too, as this was the first time she had ever been on a real diamond, run real bases and hit with a real bat.  It will be really interesting to see how the "games" go!

Emily (pink glove) down and ready to field the ball.  She did a great job of actually stopping a couple.  We just have to work on the throwing to a base part.

Taking her first real batting practice.  She can hit it pretty well!

After the team practice we went home and had family practice in the front yard.  I got a real T-ball bat and a couple balls to hit off the plastic Fisher-Price tee we already had.  Emily also tried hitting soft-pitched balls with some success.  We also worked on stepping and throwing overhand.

There are 12 teams of 10 kids each in the T-ball league.  Emily's team is the Rockies (all MLB team names).  She was so excited she made a sign for her room and a flag for me to wave at the games.  (Are you surprised?!?) 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Welcome sleep

I guess I spoke too soon in Lincoln's monthly post.  Apparently he is in nap transition.  This picture was taken after two days of skipping his afternoon nap.  However, by 4:00pm he was so tired he curled up on the welcome mat by the front door.  I had to wake him up at 5:30pm for supper.  You can imagine how bedtime went! :op

While it would be nice not to have to be tied down to nap time, I'm going to miss my afternoon break (or have to work hard to create one).  When Lincoln moved from two-a-day to one-a-day it was a long, drawn-out process that took four months.  The volatile, unpredictability of napping needs is sometimes tough to manage.  Here's to an interesting summer!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Bible scenery

We have acquired a lot of large cardboard boxes lately.  Today Emily decided to paint some scenery on one of them.   She first spent a long time carefully drawing four different scenes from the Bible.  She also wrote out "Rules" which mostly came from the pages covering the Sermon on the Mount in one of her Children's Bibles.  Some of them are direct copies, but some are her own paraphrasing.  Here is a video explanation of her drawings since it was impossible to take good pictures:

When Lincoln finally fell asleep for a nap, we got out all her paint cups and she set everything up on a rolling cart.  Then she got to work painting her scenery.  Here is Emily hard at work and her final result:

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A cardboard house

Today Emily decided she wanted to build a cardboard house.  She spent the morning drawing up elaborate plans.  I didn't quite understand what she was wanting, and she wasn't very receptive to my ideas, but we managed to come up with a pretty fun result, complete with a roof, window and swinging door.  She spent a long time writing all over the inside.  When Lincoln woke up he thought it was pretty fun, too. :o)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Kindergarten Round-Up

Emily had two afternoons of Kindergarten round-up this week, and she was super excited.  I had what felt like a major parental failure last week when I totally missed the parent meeting because I had the wrong date down on the calendar.  Luckily, I have a lot of MOPS friends who were there and filled me in.  Emily & I also stopped by the school last Friday to ask a couple questions at the office and peek in the classrooms.  We even got to meet and visit with one of the teachers.

But back to the big day.  I had to practically hold her back from running into the classroom, and she never looked back.  When I went to pick her up she was the first one who bounded out of the classroom and she declared, "I had a wonderful time!  Can I go back tomorrow?" and later, "Today was the best day ever!"  She talked a mile a minute and was very proud of her star crown with all her letters and numbers.

The second day was just as good.  At lunch Emily had said, "Mom, since I know where my locker is and where the classroom is and what to do, can I just go by myself?"  She wanted me to just drop her off at the curb!  Lincoln & I did walk her in all the way.  This time she was really excited that they learned how to play freeze-tag and she was one of first two kids who were "it".

Emily really liked both teachers (there are two sections in her building) and was disappointed she only got to go two days.  She said she gave both of them a hug because it would be a while before she would be able to come back.  It's great to see Emily so excited for school.  Surprisingly, it wasn't at all emotional for me.  I'm sure that will change in the fall. :o)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Field Day

Today was the field clean-up day for the Shell Rock T-ball program that Emily will be participating in this year.  The kids spent most of the time on the playground, but Lincoln was super excited to help shovel dirt for the dads building the sponsor billboard!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

2 years + 11 months

Only one more month left of the two's!  Lincoln continues to grow up before our eyes.  He has more opinions on clothes these days and can sort of dress and undress himself if he wants to.  He is very particular about "stickers" (i.e. tags)--especially in his pajamas (he's pictured in one of his favorite pairs).  He complains, "I don't want stickers!" almost every time you put on his shirt whether or not a tag even exists, but once you tuck it in (or pretend to) he's usually fine.  Lincoln is also in the "No, Lincoln do it!" and five seconds later, "Help me!" stage.

I thought Lincoln was entering the transition stage to no naps.  He could skip here and there and not be much worse for the wear.  Lately, he'd be up late at night if he did nap but was prone to major meltdowns at night if he didn't.  I tried experimenting with purposefully skipping naps with disastrous results.  So we're back to a regular 2 hour nap right after lunch again and just plan on going upstairs to put him back to bed (and probably change his diaper) at least once.

The weather hasn't been as perfect this month, but Lincoln finally figured out the pedaling motion needed to power a tricycle and is off to the races.  He has pedalled all the way to the castle park and back on three separate occasions.  It's a full 5 blocks away.  That's a lot of revolutions for those little legs!  As you can see below, even the rough terrain of some of the neighborhood sidewalks doesn't slow him down.  It's also a good thing he doesn't mind pink & purple. ;o)

Another thing I'm excited about is Lincoln's renewed passion for slides.  For some reason at the beginning of last summer he decided he could no longer go down slides unless someone was standing on the side holding his hand or holding him in their lap going down with him.  With his new independent streak, he has decided that going down by himself is fun, which has opened a whole new world of tunnel and twisty slides.  I am very happy to just be standing at the bottom if he needs me to catch him. :o)

Something we're working on right now is turning whiny demands into polite requests.  With a little reminder that I don't listen to that kind of voice, Lincoln usually makes the instant switch.  Please and thank-you are also becoming regulars in his vocabulary.

Some funny Lincoln-isms right now are him calling all clocks/watches "tick-tocks".  One of his favorite foods is "fancy wolls" (i.e. Tootsie Rolls).  His eyes light up every time we go through a bank drive-thru, although the Waverly Veridian is the only one that usually pulls through.

Note: For those unfamiliar and for future reference, the answer to the TV show post is "Blue's Clues".  Personally, I find the show a bit annoying, but both kids are enjoying the novelty of it for now.  It's funny watching them play Blue's Clues using the Panther paw from a UNI basketball game and carrying around their pencils and handy-dandy notebooks.

Laundry turtles

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A "ca-woo"!

Can you guess one of Lincoln's current favorite TV shows?  I'll give you a "ca-woo".  He loves to sit in his thinking chair studying the pictures in his handy-dandy notebook.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Shade garden

There is a little nook by our front porch that is mostly hidden from view and almost completely shaded that has been needing some dire attention ever since we moved in.  Last fall we moved the scraggly rhododendron bush (which I'm not sure survived the winter, but not too sad about it).  I received a bird bath/solar light/flower stand for Christmas and had acquired some different hostas and coral bells via a friend, roadside stand and other parts of the yard.  Today the kids & I tackled the corner together.  First we got compost from the yard waste site.  Then we dug up all the weeds.  Next we set the bird bath and dug holes for the plants. 

As expected, the kids fought over the watering cans as soon as I got them out.  Lincoln ended up stepping right into a muddy water hole, which required a change of clothing.  The plants ended up too close together, and it still needs mulch and impatiens in the flower pot.  Plus the existing hostas along the walkway need to be thinned out.  But overall, I'm happy to have something done,  and the kids had a lot of fun helping me do it.  :o)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Visiting Emily's class

Last Friday I had the opportunity to sit in and observe Emily's preschool class for the morning while a friend watched Lincoln.  It was "Wiggly Worms" day, and that pretty much sums up preschoolers!  I have always loved Emily's teachers, but now I have even more respect for them and the immense amount of patience required to teach that age group day after day.  And Emily has a pretty "good" class.  I'm so thankful for the wonderful experience she has had at Little Lambs!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Family Fun Fair

There is an annual Family Fun Fair that takes place at the high school every spring in Waverly.  This is the first year we have attended.  I worked the MOPS table the first half.  Then we enjoyed the fun activities.  Emily patiently waited for a flower balloon hat and made a bead bracelet.  Lincoln's highlights were the dart game at the MOPS table, brushing teeth and giving "knuckles" to the big dinosaur in costume at one of the bank booths.  We also got the kids' bike helmets properly fitted and enjoyed free hotdogs for lunch.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Jesus' story

Easter has had a real impact on Emily this year.  While in NW Iowa, we attended the Maundy Thursday service at my parents' church.  Following a potluck supper, there was a simple service consisting of a message, communion and a beautiful song sung by the choir (including my dad).  Emily has not had an opportunity to witness communion very often because she is usually in Sunday School while Austin & I attend a church service.  She walked up with me to watch when I received communion, and we talked a little bit about it afterwards.  She took careful notes during the message and commented on the beautiful music.  Here's what she wrote:

Her notes point out that Jesus died when he was age 33 (I think they learned that in her SS class on Palm Sunday) and that he died on Friday.  Then it's her name. She learned about God and Jesus and "proving never dying".  She also observed the passover meal was bread and wine (which was actually grape juice).  This was all completely unprompted.

Then on Easter Sunday afternoon she spent a long time at her art desk in the basement.  She was busy drawing a series of pictures depicting Jesus' life.   She must have really been paying attention to the Thursday night message, because the title of it was "The Seventh Word: It is Finished".  Below is a narrated video of the full series of pictures.  This was also all unprompted.

What a joy it is as a parent when you realize things are starting to click with your child and their faith is beginning to bud!

Easter morning

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Birthday Bash at Bridges Bay

My dad turned 60 last week, so to celebrate my family rented a 12-person condo unit at an indoor water park at Lake Okoboji for one night.  The kids had fun with the favorite activity being floating in the lazy river.  I managed to be the only injury less than 5 minutes after we got in the pool by going down a little kid slide with Lincoln and scraping up my knee, elbow and hand on the bottom.  I guess I just wanted to be like Lincoln. ;o)

After supper Grandpa took the grandkids down to the rocks on the shore (because the dock wasn't in yet) for a little fishing.  Cousin Ryan actually caught a pretty good sized crappie with a little help from my BIL.  Although a bit nippy, it was a beautiful sunset over West Lake Okoboji.

Then we had cake and ice cream with the obligatory attempt at a grandkid photo.

The kids had an egg hunt in the morning, we went swimming some more and then ate lunch at Perkins before all heading back to our own homes.  Happy Birthday Dad/Grandpa!  Thanks for a fun time!

Friday, April 6, 2012

A slice of heaven

Both Emily & Lincoln found a special activity that put them in heaven while visiting Grandpa & Grandma Boote.  For Emily, it was putting together the Dream Builders sets from my childhood (i.e. "Girl Legos").  I helped her some and it brought back a lot of memories.

For Lincoln it was riding on the Kubota and tractor with Grandpa Boote.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Austin was in Chicago this week on business (which happened to include attending the opening day game at Wrigley Field), so the kids & I headed to NW Iowa to visit family.  Emily & Lincoln had a lot of fun playing with cousins.  We visited Ryan at his house where they put on plays, pounded the tackling dummy (see video), cruised in plasma cars and "fixed" tractors.

Then we went to visit Asher, Seth and Macy.  We got to see their new house, eat at McDonald's, play outside and enjoy their huge basement play area, including a large Lego collection.

Back at my parents' farm, Lincoln & Ryan spent a lot of time and energy "feeding the cows snacks" from the large cornstalk pile.

What caption would you write for this picture?

Monday, April 2, 2012

Emily's signs

Emily is really into making signs for everything.  It's a way she often expresses herself--especially frustrations.  For one of the first times, I was the main target.  Last night we had some issues with her not being a good listener while reading books before bed.  I told her we were going to have to make some rules about at least staying on the bed while I was reading.  This is what was hanging on her door in the morning:
Translation: I have an announcement that I am sick of Megan because I think she has boring rules because I want to be the boss of my room so I wonder why Mom just ends up being the boss so I would like all moms out of my room for awhile when a sign hangs on my door.  Obey my rules. Thanks everybody--Your friend Emily Lorenzen Claire

Then she made a sign with prices for entering her room. 
  • Removing/returning laundry = $100 (I had asked about this after being banned from the room)
  • If you're there to read books = $17
  • If you're not there to read books = $30
  • Dad reading books = $.01 (a penny)
Apparently it's really expensive to crash her meetings, too! ;o)

Note: She had removed the first three signs by this afternoon.  She forgave me and let me read books for free at bed time.  And she was a pretty good listener. :o)