Friday, May 31, 2013

May 2013 videos

Des Moines getaway

This weekend my sister and brother-in-law ran the Dam to Dam 20k race in Des Moines.  My mom went along to watch my niece.  Since they had an extra hotel room, they invited the kids & I to join them for swimming and fun.  We stayed at the Sheraton West Des Moines.  Both kids were fascinated by the glass elevator (we were on the 5th floor). 

We ate supper at Jordan Creek Mall.  The kids enjoyed "hiking" around the pond and watching the geese.

Then it was pool time!  Emily did really well floating around the pool in a blow-up ring.  Lincoln was mostly a shore-dweller, happily filling and emptying buckets and bottles.  Cousin Saylor is a little fish and will fearlessly jump in at any time.

Emily slept on the hide-a-bed couch in Abbie & Wade's room.  Lincoln slept in a queen bed with me.  It was not a restful night.  :op  My mom & I got the kids up and out the door just in time to see Abbie & Wade cross the finish line in downtown Des Moines.  Abbie made her goal of a sub-8:00 pace, and they finished together in 1:37:59.  That was good enough for 26th in her age division.

The kids had one more round in the pool before heading back to Jordan Creek Mall for lunch.  Emily was so excited to go back and picked Subway.  I am thrilled we now have another option besides McDonald's!  After lunch the kids & I headed back home, arriving almost exactly 24 hours after we had left.  It was a fun little getaway and a nice visit with family.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

6 years + 7 months

Another month has come and gone.  Emily is counting down the days until she is a first grader.  She (& I) are suffering from end-of-the-school-year fatigue.  We are both extra grumpy.  I am worried about her complaining about being bored when school is out, but she/we just need to be done and have a break! 

One effect of the fatigue has been near-constant shrill shrieking.  Sometimes I just want to hear something come out in a normal voice!  When she does speak normal, Emily's favorite "game" is to ask how many letters are in a word--e.g. congratulations.  I'm not even sure why she's asking.  She is fascinated with the idea of a spelling bee (from the American Girl Molly books) and says she needs to practice first grade words.  I'm pretty sure most first grade words aren't 8+ letters long!

Below is art work from school.  They painted flowers for May and made a guessing game picture to hang in the hallway for Mother's Day.  I figured out which one was hers right away. :)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Field Day

Emily's elementary school had a field day this morning.  It was a little cool and muddy, but not bad.  There were 10 different stations of activities that the kids could rotate through at their own pace with a partner. 

Emily was partners with her friend, Rachel.  

In this game they had to take off one shoe and see how many marbles they could pick up and put in their tub using their toes.
Lincoln & I volunteered to help with the hippity-hop races.

After an hour or so, everyone gathered for the large group games.  Each grade competed against the other class.  Emily's class won tug-of-war.

The last game was Ping-Pong Pop.  The grades were divided into teams of 5-6 kids.  It was a relay race where each kid took turns running to the kiddie pool in the center to fill their ice cream pail with water and bring it back to fill their team's 5-gallon bucket with a ping-pong ball in the bottom.  The first team to float the ball to the top and have it fall out won.  The twist: each ice cream pail had a dozen or so holes poked in it, so the water was streaming out on the way back to the team bucket.  It was a delightful mess for everyone with LOTS of wet socks and shoes.

Lincoln had a lot of fun at field day.  He even made a new friend on the playground.  We found out she will be in his preschool class next year. :o)


My latest attempt to curtail Emily's hair-chewing is braids.  I am not a "hair" person, but I'm practicing.  For the most part, Emily is pretty good about letting me put them in.  She's pretty wimpy with tangles and pulling tight, though, so there is still lots of squawking.  We've tried a few different styles, and Emily has also occasionally let me put a few curls in the bottom with a curling iron (this is a huge step).  I'm not up to French-braiding yet.  It definitely adds some time to our morning routine, but it has been working out well.  At least until the fly-aways start to appear. :op

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day performance

We didn't have any special plans for Memorial Day weekend.  The weather was pretty nasty and the parade was cancelled.  Luckily, Emily had been planning and practicing a Memorial Day performance.  Tickets cost $2, but she refunded the money later.  She was also collecting money for the coin drive at school to help Oklahoma tornado victims.

Popcorn and lemonade was included in the ticket price and everyone had a gift bag under their seat filled with random art supplies.

Emily read aloud America : A Patriotic Primer by Lynne Cheney.  Then she sang original patriotic lyrics she wrote to go along with familiar tunes using the keyboard for accompaniment.  The selections were "Theme from Star Wars" "Joy to the World" and "I've Been Working on the Railroad."  It was extremely impressive!

Of course, Lincoln had to get in on the action, so he had an impromptu trampoline routine.  Love the classic Lincoln pose!

I'm so glad Emily realizes what Memorial Day is really all about.  She was concerned how we would celebrate if we couldn't go to the cemetery in Hull for the memorial service.  Even though we weren't there in person, our hearts were in LeMars as a flag was dedicated to Austin's Grandpa Lorenzen for his service.  We also want to give a huge shout-out to my Grandpa Vander Kooi, a WWII veteran and former POW.  You are a hero to many generations! (Thanks to Austin's aunt and my sister for the photos.)

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Toothbrushing wars

We have had quite the toothbrushing drama lately.  The toddler toothpaste we had been using ran out, and that particular flavor is no longer available.  I tried twice to pick out an acceptable replacement (do you know how many versions of "berry" flavor there are?!?).  Emily threw fits claiming she was "scared of the toothpaste."  After having to forcefully brush her teeth for her, I took her to Wal-mart with her own spending money to pick out some toothpaste herself.  She ended up with Hello Kitty bubblegum flavored toothpaste (gag me!).  She also decided she REALLY wanted an electronic Hello Kitty toothbrush.  It was her money, so I said sure.  She was so proud and excited to brush her teeth.

Let's just say that character marketing works.  She didn't say anything the first time because she had to save face, but I could tell she didn't like the toothpaste flavor and the electronic toothbrush felt funny.  After a few days, she totally ditched the toothpaste in favor of one of my previous berry flavor attempts.  She claimed the toothbrush was too tickly and switched back to her manual toothbrush.  I just hope a lesson was learned here.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Bird vs. bugs

Emily wrote this story for an assignment at school.  I love the illustrations.


One of the great things about being a stay-at-home-mom is being able to volunteer in kids' classrooms.  A good friend advised me to volunteer as much as possible in order to get to know classmates and peers. This school year I volunteered in Emily's classroom from 8:30-9:00am every Tuesday morning.  (It really helped when Lincoln was in preschool during that time.)  I worked one-on-one with students at a hallway table practicing math and reading concepts.  It really was a great way to get to know the kids in Emily's class and be able to put faces to the names she talked about at home.  Here is a picture of me that the principal took and posted on the school's Facebook page:

This is the thank-you card Emily's class made for me.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Last day of preschool

Today was Lincoln's last day of Preschool at St. John's Lutheran Preschool in Waverly.  It has been a fabulous experience with two wonderful teachers: Miss Melissa (head teacher/director on right) and Miss Amanda (associate teacher on left).

This was hanging up in the hallway.

This is Lincoln's self-portrait.  Not sure what's going on with the picture face. :op

St. John's Preschool has an active Facebook page, and Melissa is great at taking and posting pictures.  Here are some more highlights from the year from the Facebook albums:

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Digger Man

This is Lincoln's new favorite thing to do during Emily's Slugger games...

Sunday, May 19, 2013

4 years old

It's hard to believe Lincoln is now four!  His official measurements are 34 lbs. and 40" tall (both in the 30th percentile range).  He did great getting his last round of vaccinations.  He cried and fussed more about the band-aids on his legs than the actually shots.  We later had to go back and get a finger-prick lead test done at the hospital lab because it had been overlooked at his 2 year appointment.  That was not so fun, but he was perfectly fine as soon as the nurse applied a super cool Angry Birds band-aid and handed him some Thomas stickers. :o)

Lincoln still loves Thomas and trains.  He also loves playing Angry Birds on the Roku TV.  He does not love thunderstorms.  This is a new development this spring.  I have spent several nights laying in bed with him until the storm passes.

Lincoln has started saying more creative prayers that include references to things that have happened recently or are going to be happening that day.  He has also started taking a keen interest in picking out his own clothes.  He has the fashion sense of a 4-year-old boy and does not have a very good weather barometer, which leads to some interesting combinations.  It's not surprising to see his pants/shorts on backwards, and you can almost be guaranteed that his underwear is on backwards and probably also inside-out.

The other distinct habit Lincoln currently has is calling everyone "guy."  As in, "Hey, guy!" when the  nurses walk to their vehicles parked on our street or he meets middle-aged women in the grocery store or little girls at the park.  Some people do a double-take, and then I have to explain that he calls everyone "guy".

This is some artwork from preschool.  He has also started to write a somewhat distinguishable "Lin" to begin his name.

Happy Birthday, Lincoln!

Lincoln had a big birthday celebration today!  It began with a birthday cinnamon roll with sprinkles.  Lincoln wanted to practice with a candle.

After church, all the grandparents arrived for lunch.  It was a beautiful day to enjoy eating out on the deck.  Then came presents.  Lincoln received a bunch of new books, some construction equipment, outdoor toys, Thomas stuff and a new red roadster bike.  He was thrilled!

His cake was Thomas, of course. (Thank you, Fareway bakery!!)

Then Lincoln got to try out his new excavator.

Later in the afternoon everyone headed to Shell Rock to watch Emily's Slugger game.  Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of everyone together.  Both sets of grandparents took off for home immediately afterwards and had to drive through severe weather.  We're sure glad they were able to make it a great day for a special little 4-year-old boy!