Sunday, September 30, 2012

September 2012 video

5 years + 11 months

The birthday countdown wheel is up as Emily enters her final month of being five.  She has made a lot of progress in adjusting to school and everything that goes with it.  She doesn't always need as much, or even any, decompression time after school.  Lunch is going much better as she has started taking cold lunch about half the time.  She has even started trying some surprising things and is finding out, as she wisely states, "Sometimes things that don't look good still taste good."  The things she actually likes at school now are cinnamon applesauce and mashed potatoes with gravy.  However, she still won't eat the quesadillas, or as she calls them, "quasarellas." 

I think the real turning point came this month when Emily made some friends at school.  Her best friends are named Rachel & Madison.  I'm really thankful for these girls.  I have met and talked to their moms while waiting to pick up kids after school, and they are very nice.  Emily made up a little story about the three of them when she got on a Valentine's kick the other day.

The good news is that Emily seems to be very inclusive and has even reached out and played with girls in the other section at recess.  She mentions new kids she plays with almost every day.  This is quite a relief because it was one of my concerns going into Kindergarten.

Not only is Emily more talkative about her day, but she has (not surprisingly) started playing school almost every day with the stuffed animals in her room.  She has numbers hanging up designating the five centers in her room and has charts and signs about other things, too.  I picked up a teacher's planning book out of the dollar bin at Target earlier because I knew this would happen and it would come in handy.  Emily has given names to every doll/figurine/animal in her room.  There is even one named "Sema" that usually ends up on red light and gets sent to the principal's office.

Emily is also doing fantastic with piano lessons.  Her teacher said she might be the most enthusiastic student she's had.  Emily asks to practice every day, so I often have to drop whatever I'm doing to oblige.  I'm extremely grateful for my piano background that gives me the ability to sit down and help Emily learn all the proper techniques and positions from the beginning.  I'm also learning about the excruciating amount of time and patience it takes to do this.  So far, things have gone well.  Emily has gotten silly a few times, but I've never lost my cool or gotten upset.  I have to try not to laugh out loud when she offers the excuse, "my hand is sleeping and has to wake up," when she grows tired of an exercise.  Overall, she has shown great progress over the course of a week of practicing and is catching on quickly.

Although we took a break from Junie B. Jones, there are still a few leftover phrases I hear quite often: "Only too bad for me," "bad news," and "apparently".  I even find myself saying, "apparently," a lot more often.  In a complete 180, we read Little House in the Big Woods this month.  This lead to several interesting discussions and epiphanies about things, like where they went to the bathroom, what kind of things they ate (always eating everything on their plate) and how they had to be perfectly still and quiet on Sundays.  I just want to know how Caroline (aka "Ma") got all that work done with babies.  The only time Baby Carrie is mentioned is when she's asleep in Ma's arms.  Didn't she ever scream and cry while Pa played the fiddle on cold winter evenings?!?  And how do you potty-train a kid in an outhouse anyway?!?

I'll end this post with a recent self-portrait by Emily.  She is very proud to be 5 1/2, but is eager to be 6!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Spanish classes

Through the connection of a friend, we were privileged to participate in some experimental Parent/Child Spanish classes put on by another young mom in Waverly that teaches Spanish at Hawkeye Community College.  It was a 45 minute class on Saturday mornings for four weeks in September.  The program was geared towards kids (and a parent) ages 2-5, so I took both kids along.  Although there were varying degrees of participation by Emily & Lincoln based on their moods each morning, they both thoroughly enjoyed it, as did I.  The classes covered basic topics like numbers 1-12, colors, animals and facial features.  Lincoln can count in Spanish as well as he can in English, and he loves doing all the action to the song we sang called, "Hola, Amigos!"  It was good review for Emily along with a few new things.

Here are the only pictures I took on my phone a couple weeks ago.  The kids played a fun "bopping" game with colored pieces of paper spread throughout the room.  They also did a fun project using shaving cream and food coloring.

Amanda did a fabulous job, and I highly recommend the classes.  She has started another 6-week session that doesn't require prior participation, so you can jump in any time.  You also don't need any Spanish background to participate.  Let me know if you're interested!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Puppet shows

Emily made a puppet theater out a cardboard box and has made a couple sets of paper puppets to play with.  Can you recognize the popular characters of the first set?

Then Emily had a wedding party with three brides and three grooms.  She named them after kids in her class.  I'm trying to remember who was (completely innocently) paired up with who.  I think the big ones are Rachel & Ty T. and the little ones are Madison & Tai C. and Emily & Wesley H.  :o)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Little Go-Hawk Preschool

Lincoln is not enrolled in a formal preschool this year, but I signed him up to attend "Little Go-Hawk Preschool" put on by the Child Development class at the high school.  Beginning today and running through mid-December, Lincoln will attend preschool for 45 min. on Tuesday & Thursday mornings.  He is matched up one-on-one with a senior girl.  They read books, do activities and make a craft.  Lincoln was beyond excited to strap on his Thomas backpack and head to school.  As expected, he had a GREAT time.  I enjoyed having time to run some quick errands around town by myself.  :o)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Bathroom progress

Normally, I wait until a project is completed before the reveal, but here's a peek at the progress in our master bathroom after the tiling was completed this weekend...

Susan's house

Today's art project was a 3-D paper doll named Susan and her cat, Dora in their Lego-furnished house.
Susan & Dora

Top view of house and sidewalks
Computer desk & chair
Kitchen table & Dora's food bowl
Living room

Bathroom with sink, shower/tub and toilet

Smiley bed with name blanket

Saturday, September 22, 2012


A small dream of mine has come true--we now own a real piano!  I took 13 years of formal piano lessons growing up, including 7 years of Suzuki method.  In college, I occasionally played on practice pianos at UNI, but I basically abandoned the instrument.  There was no space for a piano in our first two houses.  There was a piano in our Waverly house when we looked to buy it, but the owners took it with them.  I have been dreaming about one ever since.

I wanted to start Emily with piano lessons this fall, so I enlisted the help of a friend who happens to be a piano tuner to help find a decent, used piano for us.  The one he found has some dents and dings in it, and the bench is pretty worn on top, but I figured it would soon become the new favorite writing desk/building table/car road/train track/etc., so I'd rather not have to get uptight about getting scratches in a nicer one.  We ended up hiring someone to move it from Cedar Falls to our house because Austin just didn't have the time or necessary equipment.

The piano arrived this morning.  It needs to be tuned since it was originally moved from Arizona and then sat in a garage for two weeks, but it's still playable.  The kids were fascinated.  I was excited to sit down and play again.  I dug out a few of the old books I had leftover from my high school days, but most aren't the sight-reading type, so I indulged and bought a new book of current popular praise & worship songs.

Don't let the smiling kids in this picture fool you.  Most of the time if they are both on or anywhere near the piano at the same time it quickly turns into this...

Emily loved her first piano lesson with a Senior student at Wartburg college.  I think it's going to work out well since Lincoln & I can hang out in the children's book section of the library next door.  Our first couple practice sessions went pretty well, too.  I knew this going in, but it's going to be difficult to find time for me to sit down and practice with Emily when she's in a cooperative mood and without Lincoln disturbing us in a big way.  Since the only working TV in the house is in the same room, I may have to resort to letting Lincoln play games on my phone in another room in order to gain 20 min. of peace and quiet.


It's definitely time to haul out the fall decor.  Last week we got some gourds from a friend.  Lincoln had fun "washing" them.

On the way home from Touch-a-Truck we stopped to pick out our big pumpkins.  Yes, we bought them from the grocery store, but they were grown by a family friend.

This is the back porch bench.  I was really bummed because I chose this specific pumpkin because of the cool curly stem it had.  But of course, I didn't secure it well enough on the drive home and the stem cracked off while it rolled around in the back of the van. :o(

Lincoln is very proud of his giant pumpkin.  Emily picked out an equally large one, but was not in the mood to take any pictures. :op


Today was the annual Touch-a-Truck event at the new outdoor Expo in downtown Waterloo put on by the Junior League of Waterloo-Cedar Falls.  I had been looking forward to taking the kids--especially Lincoln--since I found out about it last year and it didn't work out in our schedule.  It's lucky we even made it after a rough start to the morning where both kids spent 30 min. in their respective rooms before lunch working on attitude adjustments.  The weather was also not very ideal (a cold, windy, cloudy 50 degrees).  This meant there weren't really any lines, though.  Despite the chill and the bad morning, both kids really enjoyed the event! 

There were two large bounce houses.  The kids went back and forth between them.
Fun ride-on toys
Loading up sidewalk chalk
Favorite attraction: The school bus.  They came back to it three times.  Lincoln kept asking, "Mom, can I beep?"  (I said only once.)  I don't know if this will satisfy the curiosity of both of them regarding the school bus, or if it will make them only want to ride it more.  There was also a brand new camper trailer that fascinated the kids.  I said, no, we are not getting a trailer.
Lincoln got not one, but two rides on the lift.  Emily decided to pass both times.
Road grader
"Hey, this digger is just my size!"
That's one fancy snowplow.  Good thing it has a hydraulic lift seat so you can see over the steering wheel!
 We're ready to scoop poop, Grandpa B!

Lincoln is NOT looking thrilled about Emily's driving skills.
That's one big tractor tire!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Where's Waldo?

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Where's Waldo, the librarians at the Waverly Public Library all dressed up in red & white stripes and held a Waldo hunt.  Ten numbered pictures of Waldo were hidden around the library.  When you found and recorded where all ten were located you earned a bag of Skittles.  I told Emily about it after seeing it on the Facebook page earlier this week.  She was beyond excited for three days.  We usually try to stop by the library after school on Fridays anyway.  This week Emily got right to work.  It didn't take long before she earned her candy (although she asked the librarians for lots of hints).  She might have won the prize for the most enthusiastic participant.  Her picture even made it on the library's Facebook page.  :o)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

3 years + 4 months

Lincoln has had an up and down potty month.  He has been in underwear the whole time.  We went through a phase where he started holding #2 and either had big accidents, or I had to watch him like a hawk and try to catch him in the act.  However, he turned a corner and started telling me when he had to go potty for the first time ever, as well as getting past his phobia of public restrooms.  He has been perfect for the last several days.  Knock on wood--I think we may have this potty thing figured out!  Now we just have to work on redressing. :o)

Lincoln has definitely started missing Emily during the day.  At least once a day he asks, "Where's Emiwee?"  Luckily, I had an opportunity pop up out of the blue to provide some substitute day care for a super nice little boy who is exactly six months older than Lincoln.  It will only be seven days over the next three months, but it provides an occasional playmate for Lincoln when he gets lonely or sick of me.  So far it has gone great.  Lincoln loves playing with Owen, and they'll be in the same preschool class next year.  

It has also been good influence because Owen does an hour-long quiet time after lunch.  Lincoln had pretty much stopped napping altogether.  With Owen around, Lincoln has learned to spend at least a little quiet time in his room after lunch--twice falling asleep when he really did need a nap, which gave me a little extra free time during the day.  Of course, we pay for it later when he's awake until 10:00pm, but some days it's worth it!

Lincoln still loves playing with trains and cars and trucks.  His favorite game, though, is called "Trashy Town" named after the book Trashy Town by Andrea Zimmerman.  It consists of Lincoln emptying various tubs and boxes of games/building pieces/books/etc. into the back of his big dump truck and depositing them all in a large pile.  (See Labor Day Weekend post)  Unfortunately, Lincoln is not a very big help when it comes to sorting everything back out at the end of the day.  He might get one set of things (like just the train tracks) picked up in the time the rest of us pick up everything else.

Lincoln's favorite song this month has been "Skidamarink-a-dink-a-dink."  You will catch him singing it to himself several times a day.  He also loves dancing to the "Container" song on the "candle" (i.e. "Entertainer" on the piano/keyboard).  He also loves taking pictures with the "cramra" whenever you get it out.

With all of Emily's art projects going on, Lincoln has started taking an interest in art himself.  His favorite media is markers on paper.  He usually takes all the lids off of all the markers and lines them up on the table.  Then he grabs several in his fist and starts scribbling as hard as he can on the paper until it is so soaked it's ready to rip.  When he's finished, he asks to hang it on the refrigerator and announces, "I need to stand back and look at it."--just like the mouse from If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. :o)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Best tracks yet

This has been Emily's best train track design yet...