Friday, August 31, 2012

August 2012 videos

Lincoln's picture show

Lincoln loves taking pictures with the digital camera.  He's starting to get better about actually pointing it at an object rather than randomly snapping or having it turned around completely.  Below is a slideshow of his snapshots in the office one day.  It was hilarious listening to him ramble on and on, "I take a picture of Mommy's iPhone.  Say 'Cheese!' iPhone.  'Cheese!'  I take a picture of the mouse.  Say 'Cheese!' mouse.  'Cheese!'  I take a picture of the rug.  Say 'Cheese!' rug.  'Cheese!'  I take a picture of..."

Thursday, August 30, 2012

5 years + 10 months

Emily now has two weeks of school under her belt, and we're still making some adjustments.  The novelty and newness has worn off a bit.  Things got thrown for a loop when her teacher missed 2 1/2 days with an inner ear infection and there were two days of early dismissal at 12:40pm for heat.  Add in Labor Day and it has been hard to establish a real routine.  We've also been dealing with some issues related to lunch time.  First of all, some of Emily's picky eating habits are starting to haunt her (and me).  She might be one of the few kids who always eats her cooked vegetables but rarely eats the main dish.  And don't even get me started on all of Michelle Obama's "healthy eating" initiatives/federal regulations.  Let's just say we're going to start packing cold lunch more often.  In addition, Emily has never liked a loud/noisy/chaotic atmosphere.  Therefore, she is quite bothered and distracted while in the lunch room.  Unfortunately, that's just something she's going to have to deal with for the next 13 years of her life!

Reading continues to be a favorite activity.  The week before school started, I began reading the Junie B. Jones series by Barbara Park out loud at bedtime.  I had been holding out on it because of some of the content, but found out they read it aloud in Kindergarten.  Plus, it was a good way to transition and talk about some of the things she'll encounter at school that have not been part of her world/vocabulary up until this point.  After getting past some of the "shock" in the first couple books, Emily absolutely loves the books and begs me to read them day and night.  Note: There's nothing really "bad" about the books.  In fact, they are utterly hilarious.  Junie B. Jones just uses bad grammer (which I naturally correct 75% of the time when I read), uses words like "dumb" and "stupid" (but less often after the first few books), and is loud, mischievious and sometimes disrespectful and/or disobedient.  We talk about those incidents and what would be better ways to speak and act.  As expected, it only took a week before I heard Emily starting to repeat phrases and talk like Junie B.  I'm glad I was able to nip that in the bud since I knew exactly where it was coming from rather than it unknowingly coming home from school or the playground.

Another book series Emily really enjoyed this month was Mrs. Piggle Wiggle by Betty MacDonald.  I loved these books growing up.  Emily even put together a dress-up costume of Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, but I failed to get a picture of it.  She also really got into drawing mazes with sidewalk chalk on the driveway.  Oftentimes the mazes had themes to go along with Mrs. Piggle Wiggle stories.  At one point Emily told me she was going to come up with a whining cure.  I'm still waiting for that one. ;o)

In addition to books, Emily has taken to reading the newspaper--or at least glancing through the headlines.  For a while she reported each day of there was any "missing news" (i.e. articles about the two girls who disappeared from Evansdale in July).  She also likes reading the Sunday comics.  This means I actually have to read them so I know what she's talking about if she asks questions or tries to reuse a joke she may or may not exactly "get" in the first place.

In the imaginary world of Hollonden it has been all about canals and colonists this month.  Emily has been fascinated by the Suez Canal and has told me all about how the Hollondeners traveled from some place in Australia, around India, through the Suez Canal and Mediterranean Sea and eventually ended up in either Massachusetts or Louisiana.  Oh, and for a while the Chinese ruled over the Hollondeners, as did Wisconsin.  But both times the Hollondeners fought a war and got free again.

Emily has talked all summer of running a store when she grows up called "Package Way" where she makes and ships packages.  Not sure what's in the packages.  With the start of school, she has also decided she wants to try to be a teacher for a month and maybe a principal for a day.  Better start saving for college now!

One last note: Emily had her school physical this month and checked in at 46" and 46 lbs.  That's a nice "square" number to remember and a super healthy place to be.  It's also not that big of a change from the 43.5" and 43 lbs. she was last year.  No wonder most of her clothes still fit!  We're so thankful for the creative, curious, beautiful girl God has blessed us with!

Paper village

Emily had an early dismissal today at 12:40pm because of the heat (her classroom is not air-conditioned).  So what did she do with her free afternoon?  She created an entire village out of paper and tape.  She spent two hours making it and an hour playing with it.  Can you spy a slide, a swing and five garages with vehicles parked inside?

She later added a construction site and a bridge to the other counter.  The original bridge was made of a single strip of Scotch tape.  Good thing I stocked up with the school supplies! ;o)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Rug bed

Sometimes I wonder why we even have beds & bedding for the kids.  Emily still hasn't slept under her covers since the first day of school.  Lincoln has never actually slept under his covers or on his pillow since moving to a big bed (he uses a pillow pet or stuffed animal and a lovey blanket).  He goes through phases of sleeping on the floor.  Tonight I found him curled up on the floor wrapped in his throw rug.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Dirt & leaves

One of Lincoln's favorite activities lately has been digging in the dirt wherever he can find a patch of bare ground.  He usually requires a hose down in the bathtub before being let loose in the house again.  Today he was wearing his favorite "buh-do-zuh-zuh" (bulldozer) shirt.  I couldn't decide on a favorite picture, so I made a collage of all of them. :o)

Our bushes seem to be throwing in the towel early this year and have started dropping leaves.  Lincoln has also enjoyed raking them up and jumping in them.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Brown house

The exterior of our house desperately needed to be repainted.  We found out from a neighbor that he and his then-painting partner were the last ones to paint it in 1986.  It was a lovely yellowish color with dark green trim that he has detested since the day it went on.  He gave us the name of his former partner who is still doing exterior painting.  We hired him to spray the siding since it is grooved cedar and would have taken ages to paint by hand.  We also ultimately hired him to paint all the trim that required crawling around on the roof.  Austin primed and painted everything else.

It turned out to be a long, drawn-out headache over the span of 2+ months with the contractor.  Our neighbor thoroughly apologized for ever recommending him.  After having to rush into a decision on color (Austin & I differed on green vs. brown) so the painter could get started on March 30, the house sat for a solid month with just the south side and garage siding painted.  There were all kinds of excuses and delays and irritating spans of no communication.  Meanwhile, Austin spent every spare moment in sun, rain and wind to get all the trim and porches primed and painted white.  He was pretty much done by the time the painter finally came back.  It still took another month of delays and excuses to get the job finished.  However, I am very happy with the outcome.  We also had all new white gutters put on since the existing green ones were pretty worthless.

But enough whining, here are the before, during and after pictures!

This was taken when we bought the house.

Taken 3/29/12 after the shutters were off and some scraping was already done. (Sorry about some of the weird coloring)

Lots of scraping and power-washing

 This is what it looked like most of the cold, rainy month of April.

 A dedicated painter--58 degrees and raining

Making progress!

Changing the front & back doors from green to red

Original wood exterior doors on attached garage--replaced with six-panel white fiberglass doors (and they actually open and stay shut now!).  Austin also installed a new screen/storm door on the back door.

 Final result!

Topped off with new house numbers and exterior lights, doesn't this front door say "Welcome!" now?!?  :o)

Home Office

Our house has a really nice room in the front that technically counts as a bedroom, but is more like a den.  Because of its proximity to our master bedroom, we used it as Lincoln's room up until this spring.  We knew it would eventually become our home office--especially after Austin started working from home--so we never really did anything with it.  I hated it.  It was a great room that was blah from floor to ceiling.  I couldn't wait until the day it had some color on the walls!  Here's what it looked like when we looked at the house:

The picture makes it look better than it really was.  The carpet, walls, curtains and everything were all the same almondy color as the rest of the house.  Not to mention a gross ceiling fan.  There is a large double-door closet with two sets of built-in drawers (see above). 

This is what it looked like when were getting ready to move Lincoln upstairs:
I actually hadn't taken down the heavy valences and added some colorful toys to the room until recently.  Also, the room-darkening mini blinds stayed closed most of the time because Lincoln mostly just slept in the room and it was a pain opening and closing six different sets of blinds. 

After successfully moving Lincoln upstairs at the beginning of March, Austin painted the room a bright yellow, installed new blinds and temporarily reassembled his desk in the middle of the room until the floors got refinished.

We each got a new desk, which turned into a bit of a hassle.  (We've got an extra if you're interested!)  Again, I kept waiting until things were "finished" to take pictures.  I even have material purchased for a valance curtain, but it's still hanging on the blinds with clips like it's supposed to look when it's "finished."  So, here are the reveal pictures:

Can you guess which desk is mine and which one is Austin's?  I admit to taking a little extra care to straighten up my desk for this picture.  Austin's desk pretty much always looks like that.  Austin's job and goal is to eliminate the use for paper as much as possible.  My job is to manage all kinds of papers. 

I'm excited about how my bulletin board turned out.  I covered it using scrapbooking paper and made signs on the computer.  I have the beginnings of some organizational systems going.  After a hasty move into the new space, I have not taken the time to really sit down and sort through things like I want or need to.  The closet with all the drawers also has some great potential with a little TLC.  But I'll save that for another post when it's "finished." ;o)