Thursday, January 31, 2013

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

6 years + 3 months

Emily continues to amuse and amaze us.  To our great disappointment, Emily & I finished up the Junie B. Jones series.  Emily has asked quite frequently when the next book will come out.  She also wonders if Barbara Parks will write about Junie B. in second grade.  If she doesn't, Emily has already volunteered to pick up where Ms. Parks left off and write the rest of the series herself. :o)  We have now started the Boxcar Children series.

Emily loves playing in the snow at recess and takes her snow duties very seriously.  One day she came home jumping up and down excited because a group of 1st and 2nd graders had asked her to help them roll snowballs for an igloo they were building.  Unfortunately, they asked during the third recess on a Friday and after a warm weekend, the snow was pretty much gone by Monday.  There are many more hours of snow play in her future.  However, I'm hoping she can get in a better habit of remembering to bring home the cloth bags her snowpants and boots get sent to school in every day.  Since they wear their gear home, more often than not the bag gets stuffed in the bottom of her locker and forgotten until I run out of bags to send (which is like five).  I hope this is not a sign of what her locker might look like in middle school!

One thing Emily has been obsessed with lately is wanting to be the mom.  She talks about it a lot.  Sometimes she asks if she can do my jobs.  I'd gladly let her do some of them, but there are just some things only the real mom can do.  (Emily has developed a habit of constantly correcting Lincoln about absolutely everything.)  During "thinking class" at school they had to draw a picture of ways they could help someone.  This was Emily's picture.  In case you can't tell, that's her talking on the phone, sweeping, dusting the TV with a Swiffer Duster, washing the dishes and working at the computer.

Another habit Emily developed this month was a reliable schedule of bedtime excuses.  We normally finish reading books by 8:00pm.  She is allowed to read on her own until 8:30pm when it's lights out.  Every single night somewhere between 9:00-9:30pm a voice calls down from the top of the stairs, "Mom?!?"  When I ask what's wrong, she comes up with some kind of excuse like, "I'm hungry/My tummy hurts/I have a headache/My eyebrows are hot."  After confirming that she doesn't feel like she has to throw up and/or chiding her for not eating her supper, my answer is always the same: "Take a drink and go to sleep."  One night she even asked why my answer was always the same.  I asked if it worked to solve her problems.  She didn't have an answer for that.  My all-time favorite excuses have been, "My leg is going to break" and "My neck feels floppy--like my head is going to fall off."  The answers have still been the same: "Take a drink and lay still in your bed so it doesn't roll away."  Just the other night I found this note laying at the top of the stairs.  Guess what my answer was?!? ;o)

Pictures of Emily's January art work from school are below and a video of her latest piano piece is in the January play list.

Snow Day

Today was another snow day.  Austin was gone for work.  The kids & I stayed in pajamas all day until it was time to go out and shovel ourselves out in the afternoon.  After the ice storm this weekend with no school on Monday and a late start on Tuesday, by the time the Wednesday snow day arrived I had to dig in my hidden stash of cheap clearance toys for something new and different.  Emily had fun with a new box of Duplo blocks.  Lincoln still loves his trains the best. :o)

We made a snow measuring stick and tested it out on two different spots on the driveway before and after going through with the snowblower.  It was really windy, so it might not be the most accurate measurement, but I think it was pretty close.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Making Valentines

Emily wanted to make her own valentines this year.  I wanted to use my fun new toy.  It took a lot of experimenting and a little bit of frustration, but we came up with some really cute ones.

Hard at work
Stuffing envelopes
Emily's final project
Lincoln's preschool valentines: The box template was cut out of black cardstock and folded up with a colored insert.  The chocolate hearts went inside the box.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Cricut Crazy

**Yes, I am still alive and am trying really hard to catch up on the last month's worth of blog posts!**

I had never even thought about getting a Cricut machine and barely even knew what one was (let alone how to pronounce the name of it), but I was convinced to splurge and get one when my friend, Julie, found an incredible clearance deal.  I quickly learned a lot about the ins-and-outs of the machine and the never-ending list of accessories and materials that accompany it.  I have had fun playing around with it and have even felt "crafty."  It takes up a lot of time, but it's a nice little hobby/change of pace from the recent onslaught of bookwork.  It's also one of the reasons I'm so far behind blogging. :o)  It even inspired me to completely clear off Emily's disastrous art desk in the basement and reclaim part of it as my own craft desk.  So far it has worked out well.

Below is a sampling of some of my projects.  Some will be explained in more detail later.  I have lots more grand plans--especially with vinyl labels.  I hope to someday replace all the neon Post-it note labels throughout the house! :o)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

ETL Restaurant

This afternoon, Emily decided to make her own chef hat and set up a restaurant.  She called it the "ETL" Restaurant, which she explained stood for "eat, talk, leave."  Lincoln also joined in as a chef.

Then, while the rest of us were napping, Emily set up her own guests by digging through her stuffed animals and the dress-up box.

She also set up a cash register and this price list for hot dogs.  I'm not sure if this is disturbing or not.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

3 years + 8 months

Lincoln looks so handsome and grown up in his new train vest & shirt!  I had to get him something a little dressier for the funeral. 

Lincoln absolutely LOVES preschool.  Every time I pick him up he jumps up and down saying, "I had fun today!"  He also loves his teacher, "Missalissa" (Miss Melissa).  That's a hard name to get out for some of those preschoolers!

Starting a little before Christmas, Lincoln started needing a late afternoon power nap again.  It's the tricky time when he easily falls apart at night if he doesn't nap but stays up too late if he does.  He probably gets some kind of nap in a few times a week.  If you cuddle up with him on the couch or lay down in his bed with him after 2:00pm. he'll probably fall asleep--especially on the weekends.  The trick is not falling asleep too long yourself!

I'm officially declaring victory over Lincoln's drooling this month.  For the last 1-2 years, he has still drooled on occasion.  After consulting with an OT through the AEA a year ago and reading a book she gave me, we decided he was just forgetting to swallow.  This was especially true when he was tired or concentrating hard on something--like reading books at bedtime.  After subtly reminding him to swallow and wipe his chin each time, he has slowly improved over the months.  A couple months ago he stopped needing a reminder and would loudly suck in and swallow when he felt it accumulating.  There might be a few occasions where a drop or two still slip out, but it is much improved.  Praise the Lord!

I need to take a video of Lincoln's current standard prayer (mealtime, bedtime, anytime).  It goes something like this: "Dear God, Thank you for this food and for the beauuutiful nice day where we can do all our jobs.  Keep Daddy safe as he comes home from 'cago (Chicago) and So-comerica (South America) with the 'lympics (Olympics).  In Jesus name, Amen."  I have no idea where the So-comerica 'lympics came into his head even though they will be in South America in 2016.  We certainly don't have any plans to travel to Brazil!

Lincoln received some nice new trains for Christmas and still LOVES playing with them for hours.  He was also able to purchase some new ones plus a new Thomas DVD with the Christmas money he received.  The bad thing is that now he thinks he can go buy whatever train or DVD is in his head at the moment.  He constantly talks about going to the train store or "bideo" (video) store.  I'm kind of nervous about taking him back to Target.  It looks like I'm going to have to make a new set of money jars for him and set up a Spend/Save/Give plan like Emily.

Grandpa Lorenzen

On January 15, Austin's Grandpa Jim Lorenzen passed away after a long battle with Alzheimer's.  He was an amazing man of faith with a distinguished career as a teacher, guidance counselor, coach and athletic director.  He began his career in Janesville, Iowa where he started the football program.  Next he taught and coached at North Fayette in West Union.  He then spent 32 years serving his hometown school in LeMars, Iowa, during which time he was selected as Iowa Athletic Director of the Year (1986) and inducted into the Iowa High School Athletic Directors Hall of Fame (1996). 

Jim was a lifelong football fan from his playing days at LeMars Community High School, Westmar College and the Air Force to coaching to attending high school football games coached by his son (Austin's Uncle Toby Lorenzen @ CL-GLR).  Along the way he touched many players', students' and other people's lives.  It was always fun to visit him.  He will be greatly missed by many, but we celebrate the wholeness and happiness he is now experiencing with Jesus in heaven!

Thanksgiving 2007 with Austin's siblings & kids
Four generations of Lorenzen men--Labor Day 2009
Four generations of Lorenzen men--Memorial Day 2012
Jim with six of his eight great-grandchildren--Memorial Day 2012
Picture display--The large group photo is all the grandchildren + two great-grandchildren some time in 2004-2005.  The football field in LeMars is named after him.
More picture display

The kids did really well at the visitation and funeral thanks to backpacks of activities and a trip to McDonald's (thus Emily proudly displaying her latest Happy Meal Toy).  There was a prayer service during the visitation with eulogies given by two former football players.  It was a very nice funeral service with touching eulogies by Austin's dad and aunt.  Jim was cremated, and his ashes were buried at Memorial Cemetery in LeMars, Iowa.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


It was nice and warm this week, so the snow was wet and slushy.  We took advantage of a sunny, early-out Wednesday to make a snowman/reindeer guy in our yard.  The snowman supply bucket sure came in handy!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Lincoln's first day of preschool

Lincoln had his first official day of preschool at St. Johns Lutheran Church in Waverly just down the street from our house.  It's a new program in its second year.  I have several friends with kids there, and they have great things to say.  Lincoln is enrolled in the 3/4-year-old class on T/Th mornings. 

He had a great time and jumped right in like he had been there all year.  I knew he would.  After a great experience at the high school last semester, I knew that he needed people and I needed a break.  We now have the best of both worlds!

This is how I spent my first preschool morning. :o)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A new year

It's that time of year again.  The Christmas decorations come down and the purging/organization bug hits.  I don't have any plans for a major organizational program like I did last year.  I fell off the bandwagon with that last April.  In the process, I realized I am already more organized than I give myself credit for.  However, there is ALWAYS room for improvement and modification!  This time around I have a list of small projects so I can take advantage of little pockets of time when the urge hits.  I have already purged the condiments in the door of the fridge.  It's really rather disturbing how many items had freshness dates back in 2011! :op  I was also dusting after putting away decorations and ended up purging a bunch of toys the kids have outgrown.  It's a never-ending battle!

After falling about 6 weeks behind by Christmas, I'm also restarting the year listening to the Daily Audio Bible podcast.  I made it all the way through from August 2011 to August 2012.  I highly recommend it.  They are on every form of social media.  In addition to the podcast, there is a great web site, an app, Facebook page, Twitter account, etc.  Let me know if you have any questions about it!

There will also be a few other changes in our family.  We enrolled Lincoln in the St. John's Lutheran Preschool just down the street for two mornings/week.  Lincoln & I are both excited for that!  Austin also received a promotion at work and officially starts his new role today.  He is now leading a team of five people who are doing what he has been doing the past two years.  It is still unclear if that will mean more or less travel, but he is excited for the new challenge and opportunity.

Here's to a happy, healthy 2013!