Friday, November 30, 2012

November 2012 videos

6 years + 1 month

Emily had another fun month at school and received an excellent report at her P/T conference.  They did a lot of Thanksgiving activities, including a "feast" with the other Kindergarten class.  The homework art project this month was to create a turkey disguise.  Emily's flower turkey is shown below.  I normally try to let Emily do whatever she wants for her projects all by herself.  This one turned out to be a little more mommy-intensive than was originally intended, because we quickly figured out it was going to require the use of a hot glue gun.

As part of the normal school-night routine, we usually finish reading books around 8:00pm.  Then Emily is allowed to read books on her own until 8:30pm.  I haven't been very consistent in checking to make sure she actually turns her light off at that time and doesn't continue reading by closet light.   Recently, I caught her still awake at 10:15pm working on her doll house drawings.  She was pretty cranky the next day.  Ever since then she has been on probation.  I moved the video monitor from Lincoln's room to her room, and she knows exactly what it's for.  I discovered that she unplugged it after the first night.  Since then she has been pretty good about turning her light off on time, especially when reminded.

I was just thinking earlier this month that one of the things I was thankful for was that we hadn't been pulled into the birthday party rat race.  Then Emily got three birthday party invitations within a few weeks.  She has had a lot of fun, but I'm glad we have a pass for almost a year.

As a final note, Emily & I are working hard on correcting her /s/ lisp.  She says things correctly more than 50% of the time now and can quickly correct herself if you show her clenched teeth and quietly hiss, which reminds her to hide her tongue.


I splurged this year and ordered new monogrammed stockings for everyone in our family, as well as the matching tree skirt.  The kids were super excited.  You can imagine what immediately happened to the old stockings...

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Lincoln's house

Lincoln made a graham cracker house in his preschool class today.  He was pretty proud and excited to eat it (especially the frosting).  :o)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Blueprints and a song

Emily continues to rock the piano and is eager to know what all the musical symbols and annotations mean.  Although she is not reading music from a staff quite yet, she has been introduced to some basic elements.  With that and her own observations, she has composed her first song called, "O Beautiful Christmas Tree."  She asks me to play it, but I tell her it's her song, so she can play it.  ;o)

Emily's wheels have also been spinning with more architectural design.  This time I caught her with the reading light on in her room at 10:15pm on a school night because she had been sketching the blueprints to a 4-story dollhouse mansion she wants Austin to build.  I pointed out the fact that it might be a little difficult to construct dual pools on the second floor, to which she replied, "Oh no, Mom, they're just pretend.  It will be fine."  Alrighty then.  We'll have Daddy get right on that!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Spanish article

The kids & I finished the last Parent/Child Spanish class.  It was a really great experience, and a very nice article ran in the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier.  Here is the link:  Spanish Class Gives Little Ones Language Exposure

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Decorating for Christmas

I'm definitely a "decorate-for-Christmas-after-Thanksgiving" person and usually look forward to it each year.  Of course, the kids were overly eager to help set up and decorate the tree with an eclectic collection of annual ornaments, past art projects and leftover candy canes.  After that they lost interest and left the rest of the decorating and cleaning up to me.  :op 

I'm having a bit of a hard time getting into the full Christmas spirit this year.  It's cold enough outside, but the grass is still green and there is absolutely no sign of snow in the forecast.  I have also grown increasingly cynical and discouraged regarding the over-commercialization of holidays in general, and specifically the "buy more/gimme more" attitude surrounding Christmas.  I'm hoping that sitting by the fireplace with the soft glow of white lights will help me get my jolly back. :o)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Fish anniversary

Black Friday marks the the 3rd anniversary of our goldfish's homecoming.  After three unsuccessful attempts in as many weeks to populate the 5-gallon fish tank Emily got as a birthday present following our dog, Cheney, being put to sleep, I ran into a college student working late at Wal-mart who taught me a thing or two about goldfish.  He kindly picked out a decent one from the $.38 tank that didn't have any obvious flaws and sent me home with more accessories.  The rest is history.  With almost weekly tank cleaning and a proper feeding schedule, along with no tank mates, the fish has flourished and has more than tripled in size into something quite beautiful.  He/she measures almost 5" long to the tip of the tail fin. 

The funny thing about the fish is that up until recently it has not had a name, and I have primarily been the sole caretaker.  About 6 weeks ago, Emily suddenly decided the fish was a girl and named her "Rachel" after her best friend at school.  It is now Emily's responsibility to make sure the fish is fed after breakfast.

I have actually become somewhat attached to this fish and will probably be sad when she finally goes belly up.  Until then, she is the perfect, quiet, low-maintenance pet that brightens up our kitchen!

Thursday, November 22, 2012


We had a very nice Thanksgiving with Austin's whole family.  The kids had fun playing with cousins while the adults visited and relaxed.  Of course, there was lots of good food, too. ;o)  Since we won't all be able to get together at Christmas, we did the gift exchanges between the cousins and adults.  The kids were excited to give and receive gifts.

It was very windy outside, but the kids had fun playing on the bike trail behind Grandpa & Grandma's house.  They also had fun rolling each other down the backyard hill in a plastic barrel.  Grandma tried it first and then the kids took turns (except Emily--she just pushed).  Only at G&G's house!

Our Thanksgiving project this year was a large piece of packing paper hung up by the kitchen table to make lists of things we're thankful for.  Emily also added some additional decorations.

God has blessed us in so many ways!

Monday, November 19, 2012

3 years + 6 months

Lincoln is officially 3 1/2!  He still loves everything train (especially Thomas).  He also loves helping in the kitchen and with the laundry.  I gladly let him dig stuff out of the back of the washer and dryer.  He also likes to push the start buttons.  In the kitchen his self-appointed job is to stir the dry ingredients and lick the beaters.  He also likes to arrange the muffin cup liners and play with the dishes in the sink.

Another thing Lincoln has really enjoyed this month is puzzles.  He has graduated from peg puzzles to 24-piece jigsaw puzzles.  He also can play 8-pair Memory without assistance.

A funny quirk Lincoln has had lately is adding "I like" to all his answers to questions.  For instance, if you ask him, "Are you done or would you like more?" his answer is, "I like done."  "Would you like to do a puzzle or play a game?"  "I like puzzle."  "Are you ready to go?" "I like yes."

Since Emily started Kindergarten, it has become increasingly clear that Lincoln is an extrovert.  He can play well independently for a significant amount of time, but he prefers to have a playmate, or at least an audience.  He thrives at play dates and in other social situations.  It's obvious that he gets lonely when Emily is gone all day.  It will be interesting to see how that plays out in the future living with three introverts!

That being said, it's no surprise that Lincoln is loving his Little Go-Hawk preschool experience.  He has won the hearts of all the high school students.  They have put together some fun lessons.  Below are pictures of some of the name tag/crafts and Lincoln with his "Big Person", Tara, on the day she did a lesson on cooking.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Crazy squirrel

I happened to glance out the window today and discovered a squirrel ravenously attacking a pumpkin on the back porch.  I've never seen anything quite like it.  I wish I would have taken a video.  I think he would have hauled the pumpkin off with him if he could have  Thankfully, it's almost time to put the fall decorations away. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Family pictures

Earlier this fall my good friend, Kodi Rohne, took family pictures for us.  It was a super windy day, but she did a great job taking and editing them.  Below are a few of my favorites, as well as a slideshow of them all.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cupcake love

Lincoln loves a good cupcake (or pretty much anything with frosting).

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Land of Legos

As mentioned in an earlier post, we have entered the world of Legos.   We set up a little table in the basement where Emily has spent hours assembling her Lego kits over and over.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

First piano recital

Emily had her very first piano recital today!  It was a very informal affair with ten piano students of three Wartburg college student teachers.  The entire thing only lasted 15 minutes.  The main purpose was to give the kids experience playing in front of people.  Emily did great!  She sat right down and played well without any hint of nervousness.  Her song was called "Fog at Sea" by William Gillock.  Below is a video of her performance plus another one of her playing it at home.  I'm not biased or anything, but I think it's pretty impressive for someone who has had eight weeks of piano lessons! ;o)

Globe puzzle

Puzzles are popular in our house.  Emily recently found a 3D globe puzzle I got as a kid and was determined to put it together.  She worked on it for several days by herself before enlisting some help from Mom & Dad.  The puzzle has numbered pieces that start from the bottom and have you work in a circle spiraling up, so you don't have to try to match up the exterior picture.  It was also in chunks from the last time I put it together 20+ years ago.  However, it's still really tricky trying to get things to stay in place without collapsing.  Emily was very proud of the finished product!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Kindergarten art

At Emily's school, they don't have art class in Kindergarten (boo!), so the teachers have to incorporate art projects in their lesson plans.  Here are some of the projects from the first couple months of school:
During September, Emily's class reviewed one letter per day and made an art project with each one.  These are hanging up on the art wall in the basement.  You might notice that "M" with glued-on macaroni and "S"  covered in star stickers are missing.  They were the first two letters and went missing before I decided to keep and display all of them. ;o)
Emily had to make an "All About Me" poster at home.
Another homework project was to go on a nature walk and make a collage of the things you collected.

These two went along with books.  The first is Chicka-Chicka-Boom-Boom.  I'm not sure about the green monster one. :o)