Tuesday, July 31, 2012

July 2012 videos

Easy Bake Oven

Emily was super excited to try out her new toy, so we began the 2+ hour process of making red velvet cupcakes with pink frosting & rainbow sprinkles and chocolate chip cookies from the mixes included in the box.  Here were the steps...

Mixing the cupcake batter
Spooning out the batter into the teeny, tiny muffin tin
Frosting the cupcakes
Mixing the cookie dough

Cookies are done!
Finished product
Taste-tester approved!
Doing the dishes

Reading prize

As usual, the kids participated in the summer reading program at the library.  For every five picture books or one chapter book read participants get a small prize up to five prizes.  Then their name is put in the jar for the grand prize drawing for two bikes.  Emily completed her list of 25 books--with most of them being chapter books.  Lincoln did, too.  When we got back from our vacation, there was a phone message that Emily's name had been drawn for one of the bikes!  This was quite ironic since we were currently in a bit of a power struggle, and Emily was refusing to even get on her bike. 

However, we went to the library where Emily did a great job of smiling for the picture and being a gracious winner.  It turns out the bike she won was a little 12" bike made to look like a Yamaha motorcycle.  The seat was not adjustable, and it was really even too small for Lincoln.  Thank goodness it came with a gift receipt from Wal-mart so Emily could go pick out something she really wanted.

Emily & I went together to scour the toy aisles in search of ideas.  After much pondering, Emily picked out a new Easy Bake Ultimate Oven (no light bulb required).  She also wanted to make sure she got something for Lincoln, so she picked out a new Hot Wheels matchbox car for him.  I thought that was very kind and generous of her!

Monday, July 30, 2012

5 years + 9 months

The countdown to Kindergarten has begun!  At any given moment Emily can tell you how many days are left until she gets to go to Kindergarten.  She has commented more than once, "Mom, I wish it was three weeks from now so I could go to Kindergarten!"  Needless to say, she is very excited.  I'm having mixed feelings.  It's starting to hit me what a huge milestone this is, and how life will never look the same again, and that she'll be exposed to all kinds of worldly things that have not been a part of her life up until this point.  All of that terrifies me.  On the other hand, she has reached a point that most kids do at the end of summer where she just needs something new and exciting to do with some structured activities with new people. 

One of her favorite activities continues to be playing with the trains/tracks.  She has stepped it up a notch by naming one of the generic engines "Amelia" and declaring herself to be boss of the railroad--basically a shrieky, naggy version of Sir Topham Hatt.  Lincoln continues to ignore her for the most part, which usually results in louder shrieking and nagging.  She often has to take "timeouts" from playing with trains when my nerves start to wear too thin.

Emily also loves to do activity books.  If you give her anything with mazes, word searches, crosswords, rebuses, etc. she'll be occupied for hours.  She has a renewed interest in coloring with crayons (as opposed to markers), and still does "projects".

Emily's somewhat annoying habit of humming all the time has all but disappeared.  However, several new, even more annoying habits have emerged.  These include (but are not limited to) single-pitch whistling by either blowing out or sucking in, making a loud hooting sound that is supposed to be a train horn/whistle, making spit bubbles between her lips, subconsciously putting her fingers in her mouth, blowing on people and constantly curling her hair around her ears--usually while talking.  I really hope some of these disappear in time for Kindergarten!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Ice cream parlor

On Thursday we took a road trip to LeMars.  We spent the morning playing with the Moss cousins and ate lunch at McDonald's.  Then we met Austin's grandma and aunt at the Wells Blue Bunny ice cream parlor.  I hadn't been there since it moved downtown a couple years ago.  It was really cool inside, and the ice cream was delicious, too. :o)

We stopped to say hi to more relatives that we rarely see and then headed to Orange City to play with Cousin Ryan.  The night ended playing outside with Cousin Saylor (and Milo) back at Grandpa & Grandma's house.  It was a full day of cousin fun!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Fire pit

Tonight we spontaneously had a marshmallow roast in the little-used fire pit in my parents backyard.  After hacking down the weeds, we got a nice fire going.  Both kids were fascinated.  Then the roasting sticks came out.  Lincoln was eager to get in there and drug his marshmallow through the ashes and dirt and started it on fire more than once.  Emily decided anything closer than 5 feet from the flames was too hot.  To say Lincoln loved the two s'mores he devoured would be an understatement.  Emily only ate marshmallows and chocolate chips because she didn't like it when the graham crackers broke.  Pictures tell the story...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


In between the farming we checked out the brand new swimming pool in Hull.  It sure is a step up from the place I spent hours as a kid growing up.  We went once after lunch and once after supper.  Emily loved the little slide.  Lincoln only went down at the end when I pushed him and Uncle Wade caught him.


We did a lot of farming during our visit.  On Tuesday, Lincoln & I spent most of the morning on the dairy farm.  Lincoln got to help collect milk bottles from the calves and collect silage bags in the tractor with Grandpa.

We went back to the farm in the late afternoon with Emily, my mom, sister and nephew because my dad was getting ready to pull a calf.  I saw this amazing sight multiple times the summer I helped my dad with the morning milking, but my mom never has. 

It was pretty exciting for everyone until the end when it came all the way out and my dad realized it had a birth defect that caused it to bleed out.  We quickly ushered the kids outside and assisted with feeding the 39 bottle calves they currently have on the farm.

We also checked out the milk parlor in action and met my aunt's new horse.

Lincoln loved the farm and didn't want to leave.  He talked about going back all the time.  On the way home Emily declared she was never going to be a farmer because they have to work hard, it gets messy and they have to take two showers a day.  Pretty sure she's going to end up in a desk job.  I channeled my inner farm girl again the next day actually working for my dad.  They desperately needed to get the hay cut and chopped and were short on help, so I spent part of the morning and part of the afternoon driving the tractor to cut hay.  I did this last summer, too.  It was very relaxing and enjoyable once I got the hang of it.  It makes me really wish we were a couple hundred miles closer and Lincoln was 10 years older.

Monday, July 23, 2012


Austin had a full week of traveling for work, so the kids & I headed to NW Iowa for one last visit with family before school starts.  On Monday night we went to Mill Creek State Park by Paullina.  It was blazing hot (over 100 degrees).  We had a picnic supper in the shade.  Then my dad put his fishing boat in the water for the first time this summer.  The kids took turns going fishing and playing on the beach.  My mom and sister supervised the beach while I opted for the boat with my dad and BIL since I've never been in it before.  It turned out to be quite pleasant with a slight breeze coming off the lake.

Emily was very excited about the prospect of fishing, but got bored after about 30 seconds of her line being in the water.  Luckily, she actually caught a fish soon after.  She also got to feel the inside of the bass' mouth my BIL caught.

Lincoln spent almost the entire time "driving" the boat (they don't allow gas motors on that lake, so he wasn't actually doing anything).  He helped Grandpa reel in two fish.  He also played with worms.

Now we can cross off "Go fishing" on our summer bucket list!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Heritage Days Parade

It was Heritage Days in Waverly this weekend, which means a big parade on Saturday morning.  My MOPS group ended up deciding not to walk in it, but Austin pulled the Bremer County GOP float.  Lincoln decided to "drive the truck" with Daddy.  Emily was most concerned about maximizing her candy collection potential, so she opted to sit along the parade route with me.  Both kids had fun and got plenty of candy.  Here are some snapshots:
Emily waved to all the parade entries

Here comes Lincoln & Austin with the big elephant!
Lincoln had fun "driving" the truck with Daddy, although as soon as he saw me he wanted out.  Luckily, I was sitting two blocks from the end of the parade route.
You know you're in Iowa when...
Groveling for candy in the dusty street.  I decided this is really not cute to watch--especially when it's the adults doing the groveling.

Enjoying a piece of treasure
Emily made a sign so Daddy would see her.  She wanted to make sure it stood out, so she wrote, "Hola Padre"
The kids enjoyed the parade so much they decided to have one of their own as soon as they got home.  Here's the line-up, complete with a tractor and an American flag (and all the vehicles have drivers).
The parade even had an audience lining the "street".

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Name that train...

After experiencing a motel room without any toys on vacation, Emily spent several days creating a "Motel Train Track" and replicas of all the Thomas & Friends engines we have.  How many can you name before looking at the answers?!? (Click on picture to enlarge)