Thursday, May 31, 2012

May 2012 videos

Block towers

I spent most of the afternoon sorting through the toy closet upstairs in preparation for the garage sale I'm having next weekend.  Since it was a chilly, rainy day, this resulted in the re-discovery of several toys that haven't been played with in some time.

Emily had a lot of fun with the foam building blocks.  Her first creation was inspired by the Magic Tree House book we're currently reading, Night of the New Magicians, which takes place during the 1889 Paris World's Fair.  I think it's a pretty good Eiffel Tower!

That was followed by lots of different towers, castles and "people" with accessories, and Lincoln begging Emily to let him knock them all down. ;o)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

2012 Summer Bucket List

I have been meaning to make our summer bucket list ever since Emily finished preschool.  We finally got around to doing it today after taking down some of Lincoln's birthday posters.  Here is what it looked like after my brainstorming session with a little bit of input from Emily...

Here's what it looked like after Emily had her own brainstorming session... 

We better get busy!

5 years + 7 months

Emily's big thing this month (other than everything birthday related), has been Hull-London.  I think it came about when I mentioned that when I studied abroad for a semester in college I went to school in the town of Hull, England and visited London.  Since then, everything has been about what Hull-Londoners do, eat, say, think, etc.  They have their own language, cuisine (a Hull-London taco is a shell with whatever you want in it) and territory.  In fact, she took down the large U.S. map hanging up in the basement and used a purple marker to indicate where Hull-London is located.  Apparently, it covers most of Appalachia, specifically West Virginia.  So she has moved on from specific imaginary friends to entire cultures.

Her imaginary friends are still around, though.  I mentioned in last month's post about her weird pronunciation of "Kaithlyn".  I soon discovered that she had read ahead in the Magic Tree House books where a new character was introduced named Kathleen.  Since Emily had never heard it pronounced out loud, she thought it was "Kaith-lyn".  She hasn't mentioned much about that particular friend since.  It's mostly just her twin sister, Karen.

Emily is pretty proud that she has figured out how to whistle.  It's not very loud, but still better than I've ever been able to do!  She is also trying to be a grown up and sleeping with less lights on.  This may seem trivial since she usually has her closet light, a night light and often also falls asleep with her reading lamp on.  However, it's a big step for her.

Emily has also displayed an intense dislike of bugs in the house.  She yells whenever she discovers a bug in the bathtub, which is quite often.  She freaked out when she spotted a spider on her closet door frame one night.  She also screamed about a grasshopper in the bathroom when it turned out to be a tiny little lacewing on the wall.

She has also declared Wednesday's to be her "running day".  Since school is now out for the summer, she begged to go to the high school track in full running gear.  It was a beautiful day today, and the sprinklers were running, too.  Emily only actually made it around the track twice and only ran about 200m of it.  She & Lincoln spent more time climbing the bleachers. :o)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Rocks, a storm and guardian angels

We spent the rest of Memorial Day Weekend at my parents' house.  One of the fun things the kids & I did was take the Kubota down to the creek to throw rocks.  I can't tell you how many rocks I chucked from the driveway above into this creek during my childhood!  It's still fun as a grown-up. :o)

We heard the rumbling thunder as we emptied our bowls and made it back to the house just as it started pouring.  It turned out to be a stormy night.  After supper a 70 mph gust front with heavy rain and hail blew through.  The sirens went off, so we spent some quality time playing in the basement.

There were a lot of trees down around the farm and in town.  It took 20 min. for my dad to find a way to bring my grandma home, and she only lives six blocks away.  My parents had a piece of fascia ripped off the house and wrapped around a tree.   Everyone chipped in to clean up the next day.  The kids helped load the Kubota with sticks and rode along to haul away larger branches.

Memorial Day turned out to be beautiful.  After the traditional pancake breakfast at my home church, we attended the memorial service at the cemetery.  My Grandpa Vander Kooi, a WWII vet and POW, was able to come on the trolley from the nursing home.  Emily was very interested in reading names on gravestones, so I showed her many family sites. 

After a big lunch, we packed up tired kids and headed home.  About 40 miles from my parents' house the kids & I had dozed off and all of the sudden, Austin did, too.  We ended up crossing the center line, driving half in the ditch/half on the opposite shoulder, hopping a culvert and landing in the parking lot of a vet clinic.  By the grace of God, no one was hurt except for a little mark where Emily had fallen asleep on her seatbelt.  After washing all the mud and grass out of the wheels, the van was running fine except for the A/C not working.  There was some damage to the front bumper and some other nicks and scrapes on the van, but nothing really serious.  We were able to drive the rest of the way home and the kids even slept a good bit during the drive.  There are a thousand worse scenarios that could of happened.  We thank God for the guardian angels watching over us! 

Saturday, May 26, 2012

60th Anniversary

Austin's Grandpa & Grandma Lorenzen marked their 60th wedding anniversary on May 25, so a large chunk of the family spent the day together with them on Saturday.  It was a fun day of food, visiting and lots of cousin time.  It was especially good because Austin's grandpa has Alzheimer's and has been declining rapidly in recent months.

We attempted to take family pictures at the end during the hottest, most humid part of the day, but with the new Hi-speed burst function on my camera and sorting through over 250 snapshots, we got a few good ones.
The Lorenzen family
Austin's parents with all the grandkids (first picture ever no one was crying)
Four generations of Lorenzens.

With Austin's grandparents.  Lincoln was done and Emily was getting silly.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Climbing bushes

One of the kids' favorite activities in the back yard is climbing bushes (or "trees" as they sometimes refer to them).  There is line of large Amur Maple bushes that are probably 65 years old.  After cutting out a lot of dead stuff, there are a few nice branches for stepping on.  There is one in particular that is perfect for climbing.  The kids often fight over it and Lincoln sometimes has to be rescued from it.  Today Emily "moved in" with a variety of items from the tub of water toys.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Lincoln's party

We had the grandparents over for Lincoln's birthday on Sunday.  He got a big tractor and wagon from Grandpa & Grandma Boote.  It killed Grandpa that the tractor was green, but it was the most kid-friendly one they found.  Lincoln loved it regardless of the color.

Grandpa & Grandma Lorenzen brought some new trucks and the Elefun game.  Both kids loved it!

 He also got a big new ball and a beautiful kite book from cousins.

I did myself a favor and ordered a cake from the Fareway bakery.  It had two nice plastic construction toys digging up crushed Oreo cookies.  Emily had picked out a "digger" theme for Lincoln months ago. came through with <48 hour standard shipping for paper supplies when none of the stores I had gone to carried anything but licensed character products.

I didn't get a clear picture of Lincoln blowing out his candles, but there is a video of him singing "Happy Birthday" to himself along with everyone else in the May play list.  Lincoln LOVED the toys on top of the cake.  So much so, he decided to eat his cake using his new equipment.  And I let him because it was his birthday. :o)  As expected, in the end very little cake was actually consumed.  Just a lot of frosting.  But he had a lot of fun!

It was actually a bit chilly, but we enjoyed being outside.  Here are three generations of Lorenzen men hanging out on the tailgate.  Thanks to the grandparents for a memorable day!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

3 years old

I've decided that you feel older when your kids have birthdays than when you have your own birthday.  Our baby is now three! 

Lincoln got into wipes this month.  Multiple times.  As in, emptying entire new packages of baby wipes and hand wipes all over his bedroom.  One day when I thought he was napping he was actually sitting on top of his changing table with two empty wipes containers and covered from head to toe with diaper cream.  We had to move all the diaper supplies to the top middle back of his tall dresser (he could still reach the edge with a step stool).

On a related note, I did attempt a 3-day crash course in potty training a couple weeks ago, but after three days of having him sit on the little potty every 30 minutes without a single drop of success, I decided we just weren't ready yet.

On a positive note, Lincoln is back to regularly napping.  It requires me to lay down with him after lunch until he falls asleep, but I don't mind.  It has become a nice bonding time and has given me an excuse/forced me to rest a little while every day.  I actually fall asleep with him half the time but usually wake up after 30 min. or so.  Thankfully, Emily is good about entertaining herself during this time.

Some funny things that make me smile:  Lincoln calls bulldozers "buh-doh-zuh-zuh-zuhs".  He also likes carrying around purses and bags from the dress-up box but calls them "packages".

Lincoln is 37" tall and weighed in right at 30 lbs. at his check-up.  Although still on the smaller end (40th & 30th percentile), he is moving up the charts and is well-proportioned.  For the second year in a row he had an ear infection at his well-child check-up.  I suspected it both times, and it saved an extra trip to the doctor.  Thankfully he LOVES taking medicine and begs for more.  Other than that, he is a very healthy, active boy!

Lincoln's birthday!

Saturday was also Lincoln's 3rd birthday!  I surprised him with decorations and homemade cinnamon rolls with sprinkles for breakfast.  He got to blow out the candles three times.  Then he opened the presents from us.  He got a new Thomas Pillow Pet to replace the plush Thomas he has been using for a pillow for a long time and puked on last month. :op  He also got a Thomas board game and the one I have been waiting to give him for over a year: the Red River Express Lincoln Logs set.  Emily got right to work building the buildings with Austin.  Lincoln just likes the train (and knocking down Emily's buildings). :o)

 Happy Birthday to our little buddy!

Mountain of mulch

When the kids got bored with the pool on Saturday, they moved on to the mountain of mulch that had been dumped on our back driveway.  I may have slightly overestimated the amount we needed. :op  It was free stuff from the city yard waste site with a small delivery fee.  I started Friday afternoon, and it took both Austin & I until late Saturday afternoon to spread 12 cubic yards around the garden, play set and house.

The original pile was as wide as the driveway and taller than me.  The pool water didn't stay very clean. :op
Finally finished!  Because of the shade, you can't appreciate everything under the play set, bushes and beyond.  The new mulch is 6-12" thick with an 18" berm along the alley. :o)

Water fun

With the progressively warmer temperatures this week, we have progressed through water activities.

First we got out the sprinkler.  This picture summarizes most of the activity.  The kids both just stood along the outside trying to catch water in containers and tried not to actually get wet.
Then came the water table.  They both took great joy in filling and emptying every kind of container they found in the tub of water toys.  The favorite "toy" was an old fish tank gravel cleaner that we use to drain the pool.
Then came the pool and the inflatables.  Granted the water was still pretty cold at this point, but neither kid likes getting wet above the knees.  Lincoln held up his swim trunks while making a whirlpool and generally stayed on the outside of the pool.  Emily just stayed standing.  If either one got so much as a drop on their swim suits, they went running for their towels.  We have a little more practicing to do this summer!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Last day of preschool

Today was Emily's last day of preschool.  She had a great day.  It was bittersweet for me.  I'm said to see this wonderful chapter of her life end, but excited for what lies ahead.  The kids & I are also ready to officially be on a summer schedule where we don't have to be anywhere before 10:00am!
First day of preschool                                                  Last day of preschool