Wednesday, July 31, 2013

July 2013 videos

Fair time!

It's Bremer County Fair time!  This afternoon some senior 4-Hers hosted a craft/science event for kids.  They made marshmallow shooters and tye-dyed drawstring bags using markers and rubbing alcohol.

At night we got our free hamburgers from the Cattlemen's Association.  Then we checked out the petting zoo and animal barns.  Lincoln was more excited than Emily.  She thought everything smelled bad.

Lincoln loved the goats wearing "swimming suits" as he described them.

We bought one pack of ride tickets and let the kids pick and choose what they wanted to do.  Lincoln was all about doing everything.  Emily had been talking about going on the big ferris wheel for a week since she's now tall enough, but chickened out.  Lincoln loved the mini ferris wheel.  He REALLY wanted to go on the giant Hurricane ride that made the cool noise you could hear from our house.  He's going to have to grow another foot and find someone else to ride it with him because just looking at the ride makes me sick. :op

And my favorite fair tradition: ice cream from the Dairy Promotors booth.  A great way to end a great day!

Kitchen: Lighting

Austin installed more lighting fixtures this week.  Hooray!  Here are some updated pictures of the kitchen project:

Digging for treasure

The kids love digging in the garden for hidden treasures!

This is the crazy big (and flopped over) Bleeding Heart flower still growing in our garden.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

6 years + 8 months

Emily's exciting event for this month was losing her second tooth just today!  The new tooth was almost all the way in behind the baby tooth just like the first one.  Hopefully it will quickly move into place, although there doesn't seem to be much room for it.

Although she's not currently taking piano lessons, Emily still loves musical activities.  She has been fascinated by "The Star-Spangled Banner" lately.  She has all the words down and most of the melody, but not the correct order of melody line.  She repeats the first part over and skips the high part.  However, I've decided she's definitely a soprano as she is usually singing things in keys well above what I could ever hit.  She also likes to turn random things into musical instruments.  Below is her cup band.

For reading, Emily has been recently introduced to Pippi Longstocking.  We started reading Alice in Wonderland out loud together when she found a copy and inquired about it, but she soon lost interest with the flowery language.  She really loves all the American Girl books.  She's currently working on writing a book called Meet Emily because she doesn't want to wait until she's nine before they write a series of books about her. ;)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Barbie rant

*WARNING!* For those of you who loved playing with Barbies growing up or currently have girls who love playing with Barbies, you may want to stop reading right here before you think less of me. ;o)

I hate Barbies.  Hate is a strong word, and I don't use it lightly.  Just the sight of one makes my blood pressure skyrocket.  My sisters and I didn't have Barbies growing up.  We had homemade Cabbage Patch dolls, wooden blocks and a big tub of Legos.  I am proud of that and don't feel one bit cheated.  I have always vowed that I would never have Barbies in my own house.  It's okay if the kids play with them at someone else's house, but they won't live in ours.

I'm not entirely sure what makes me despise the dolls so much.  I think it's a combination of the unrealistic (and grossly perverted IMHO) body proportions, gaudy painted-on make-up, skimpy clothing and the overall look of plastic cheapness where popping heads (and limbs) off seems to be the most popular way to play with the dolls.

Enter in a Barbie-themed birthday party for one of Emily's Kindergarten classmates.  It was supposed to be a swimming party, but when I dropped Emily off at the park at 1:00pm it was cloudy and 59 degrees with a stiff NW wind.  So it became a long play date at the park.  Emily came home with a large goodie bag that included a swimsuit Barbie doll. (On a side note, should I feel guilty if it's pretty obvious the goodie bag Emily came home with cost way more than the gift she gave??)  Of course, the package was ripped open immediately, there was a dramatic naming of the doll--Abbi (apologies to my sister, Abbie)--and she instantly became Emily's inseparable companion.  Poor Ruby the rabbit was cast aside forever.

So then what is a Barbie-hating mom to do?!?  I tried to ignore it at first.  Then Emily wanted to bring Abbi to church.  I put my foot down and said, no.  There were many tears and a refusal to get out of the van in the church parking lot.  I had been rehearsing a speech in my head trying to explain to Emily why I didn't care for Barbie dolls, but as soon as I started giving it, it was obvious that was neither the time nor the place.  We eventually made it in the doors of church and left Abbi in the van.

At home again I told Emily maybe we could try to sew a second strap on the swimsuit top so it didn't keep sliding down (i.e. Abbi popping out--Seriously, how can one teeny-tiny piece of Velcro hold a one-strap top on a bust like that?!?).  Emily then decided she wanted to learn how to sew so she could make clothes for Abbi (good luck with that one!).  Emily tried dressing her in the matching doll pj's that often come as a set with hers, but those are made for large 18" dolls.  I informed Emily if she put pajamas on Abbi she had to keep the swimsuit on as "underwear," and I loathed the thing even more.

In the end, the only answer was to wait until the next "thing" came along.  As has been par for the course with any kind of companion toy, after a couple weeks Emily's interest waned.  I seized a chance to whisk Abbi away to a hidden place where she now lies forgotten.  I know I can't control Emily's environment forever, but this is one thing I'm pretty passionate about.  In the process, I learned an important lesson in patience and self-control to try and not make a big deal of things and just wait for an opportunity to make a calculated move.  However, I just might be screening her birthday invites a little more closely in the future. ;o)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Kitchen: More painting

This weekend was all about painting.  We did the rest of the walls and the laundry room.  Austin is by far the neater, better painter.  He tackled the intricate rounded edging in the little square with four doorways. 

I was eager to see the "Friendly Yellow" in the laundry room.  It's bright!

Here are the finished kitchen walls--what a difference a fresh coat of paint makes!

Austin has also been working on painting trim pieces in the garage.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

G&G vacation

There was nothing going on and no decisions to be made in the kitchen this week, so the kids & I headed to Waukee for a little mini vacation at Grandpa & Grandma Lorenzen's.  Austin was there for one evening before heading out on a business trip.  We had the customary supper at Godfather's complete with arcade games (the only time the kids ever actually play arcade games is at that restaurant when Grandpa is supplying them with quarters).

One of the summer highlights is always walking to Centennial Park.  Lincoln was in heaven on the diggers.  Emily couldn't wait to push Ruby (the stuffed bunny from the library) on the swing.  Both kids love throwing rocks into the creek.

The extra special outing was going to the Science Center in downtown Des Moines with Grandma.  Lincoln was more interested in the fake duck in the fake pond than all the real insects/reptiles on display.  We got to watch the noon weather report done live from the mini studio and talked to the lady doing the weather afterwards.  I can't believe how smooth she is when pointing to a green screen and watching herself on the monitor with a 2 second delay!

Giant bubbles were popular in the kids play area, as well as the food conveyor belt.


Both kids liked trying the spinning platform (can't remember the scientific name for it).  They got dizzy!

Who doesn't like making a paper rocket and launching it over and over (video in July play list)?!?

The ball wall...

Lincoln waited patiently for 20 minutes to sit on this digger and manipulate it around.

Emily waited even longer to try out the egg packaging experiment (with only three eggs and hundreds of kids flowing through, Grandma finally just grabbed one for her).  The object is to use the foam padding sheets and straps to wrap up the large weighted egg.  Then you place it on a conveyor belt where it is dropped from a significant height (20-25 feet??).  A sensor at the bottom measures the force of impact and tells if and how bad your egg cracked.  Only one of the five levels has the egg landing safely.  After spending close to 45 minutes observing, Emily's egg was one of the few to ever be packed well enough that it didn't "crack".  She was thrilled!

The kids also had their very first ever movie experience with a show on Monarch butterflies in the IMAX theater.  The look on Lincoln's face when the screen came on was priceless!  They loved it (because it wasn't a scary subject)!  Unfortunately, not every movie they see will be in an IMAX theater. ;)

We also went swimming a couple times at the private pool in G&G's development.  Some other kids rescued this little frog out of the pool while we were there!

The weather was beautiful.  We enjoyed playing outside a lot.  It was a nice break where we didn't have to think about or deal with the mess at home at all.  It was a bit of a harrowing experience driving home in a huge thunderstorm in the dark, but we made it back safe and sound.  Thanks for a fun couple days, Grandpa & Grandma!

This is Emily standing next to the marigolds she planted from seed at school with with Grandpa & Grandma on Grandparent's Day back in April!