Thursday, October 31, 2013

October 2013 videos


Once again, I got by pretty easy on the costume thing.  Emily decided the $3 purple witch costume we bought at Trinkets & Togs two years ago was still good with the addition of a sweet purple wig that was recently resurrected from my childhood (actually, it was my sister's).  I tried to convince Lincoln to be a cowboy like Curious George with the cowboy hat and rope from the dress-up box and the cute pony stick we have.  However, he was determined he was going to be a farmer.  He dug out a John Deere implement hat we acquired during the 2008 Iowa House campaign, wore jeans and carried around a red tractor (Hey--we're all inclusive here!)  Easy peesy!

This is a picture of Emily in costume with the pumpkin she painted at school and her class picture.

We did some early, private trick-or-treating at our 98-year-old neighbor's house after school.  Millie loved seeing the kids and had a special collection of candy just for them.

Austin had a meeting, so Andjelka came over for supper and took the kids around the neighborhood while I stayed home to hand out candy.  We definitely live among an older population.  I had exactly five kids ring the doorbell, and I had porch lights on at both ends of the house.  Maybe it was the freakish beard I wore with a pirate hat from the dress up box?!? (Beard courtesy of Austin's trip to the game in Boston)

Lincoln got cold quickly and opted to come home early.  They ended up with a manageable amount of loot.  We're also going to be eating a LOT of Kit Kats and M&M's!  Next year I'm just going to grab a package of fruit snacks from the stash in the pantry if anyone happens to come.

Carving pumpkins

We finally got around to carving our pumpkins after school on Halloween.  Emily did okay using the scraping tool on the inside, but didn't really grab the slimy stuff.  Lincoln wouldn't touch anything besides a spoon, which got him nowhere.  He did, however, enjoy dictating the face he wanted and popping out the pieces after I cut them.  Emily also designed her own face.  I free-handed the "L".  They aren't super fancy, but carving pumpkins is my favorite (and only) thing I like about Halloween.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Boston World Series

Austin has a business partner at work that is a huge sports nut.  Austin's boss is, too.  This is the third year they have both have been invited by the partner to join him at a World Series game.  In the past, it has been Game 1.  This year it was Game 6.  In Boston.  On Emily's birthday.  But who could possibly say no to that?!? (He didn't leave until mid-morning.)

Although their actual seats were in right field, before the game they casually wandered down behind home plate just to see how close they could get.  They ended up hanging out just rows from the field all the way through the national anthem and first pitch before returning to their ticketed seats.

First pitch
Of course, it turned out to be a big moment in baseball history as Boston won the World Series at home in Fenway Park for the first time in 99 years.  Here is the final pitch from Austin's viewpoint:

World Champion Boston Red Sox

7 years old

Emily weighs in at 54 lbs. and measures 50" tall on her 7th birthday.  She loves school and continues to excel.  This year she has become more acutely aware of her intelligence and talent.  We are working on being more humble about it and not being braggy.

More and more often her quick wits and cunning outsmart us.  As an alternative to continually replacing broken CD players (both kids like falling asleep to music), I decided to wipe out my old iPhone 3GS as much as I could and give it to her to use at night as an iPod with the kids' CD's on iTunes.  I also left the Weather Channel app, Calendar App and Pandora.  We quickly learned the true irresistible nature of a screen, and there were many late nights followed by an expected crash every 3-4 days. 

Then I started discovering things in Pandora that were disturbing, like some of the songs that came up under "Children's Radio" and the comments Emily had started leaving on certain songs (none of which were actually public).  We entered a cycle that went something like this: we'd talk about things, lay out some new ground rules, she'd poke around and find something else, I would discover it, repeat.  For the most part, it was just innocent curiosity and not devious or intentional disobedience.  I tried activating every restriction and parental control I could find, but it still wasn't enough.

One perk of the iPod experiment was have extremely powerful leverage to use against Emily when it came to consequences for behavior or attitudes.  However, it seemed (and kind of was) unfair when I had to take it away for a week or so because my iPhone screen broke, and I needed a phone to use while waiting for it to be fixed.  (It was right before my trip to Washington, D.C.) 

After getting it back, Emily became more sneaky by re-activating settings I had turned off.  She even sent some actual texts via iMessage over Wi-Fi.  Thankfully, they were only to immediate family members.  This, of course, resulted in getting the iPod taken away for a week.

**Update** Sometime in November, the phone stopped taking a charge and died altogether.  After a week or so of lamenting, it was pretty much forgotten.  We'll just chalk it up to a learning experience!

Emily loved the new "sporty" outfit she got from Grandpa & Grandma Lorenzen!  She chose to go to McDonald's for supper on her birthday.  Below are some October school projects.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Building castles

One of the gifts Emily received was a set of wooden building blocks to make castles.  Lincoln recruited Austin to help build the one in the instruction book.

Then Emily had to build a little one for her new Emily doll.

Emily's birthday party

Andjelka came over on Saturday to help decorate for Emily's birthday party.  She showed Emily how to make really cool folded streamers.

Grandma Boote, Aunt Courtney and cousins Ryan & Cohen arrived in the afternoon to play in the leaves and go out for ice cream at Duos.

Emily's party was on Sunday.  She was pretty excited about all the gifts but very gracious about letting Lincoln & Ryan help and giving ecstatic thank-you's.  Some of her gifts included books, clothes, castle blocks, a pogo stick and a miniature "Emily" American Girl doll.

 Then it was time for cake & ice cream!  Emily picked out her cake at the Hy-Vee bakery.

Happy Birthday to our super seven-year-old!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Friends in leaves

The leaves are really piling up!  Lincoln & I raked a HUGE pile in the backyard today and invited some friends over to play after school.


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Final kitchen pictures!

After some last minute details and decorating, the kitchen project has been declared complete!  It took about three months from start to finish with a bunch of waiting at the end for final things.  It was all worth it!  We LOVE the new space and can hardly believe it's our house.  It truly is my dream kitchen.  We look forward to hosting many friends and family in the future!  Below is a before & after slide show.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Pantry fun

Lincoln played happily and quietly in the pantry for 20-30 minutes while I was working the kitchen today.  He was pretty proud of his work!

Monday, October 21, 2013

A frog, a banana and a plan

This stuffed frog and banana came home with us from Des Moines courtesy of Grandpa Lorenzen's bag of quarters and a dysfunctional "grabber" machine game at Godfather's.  Emily won both of them after unlimited tries on the same quarter.  They have become inseparable buddies of the kids. :op

I found this list in Emily's room while dusting in her room.  No wonder she's been staying up so late at night!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

DM Half Marathon

Austin signed up to run the Des Moines half marathon with his dad, sister (Brandi) and her husband (Adam).  However, his dad hurt his leg the week before the race, so Austin's brother, Tyler, ran in his dad's spot.  Here are the runners getting ready to leave for the race:

The kids & I parked by Gray's Lake around the 10 mile mark to cheer them on.  Unfortunately, we missed Austin because he was running too fast!  We stayed until we saw the other three and took off for the finish line.  Because of construction downtown, the finish line was moved to one of the bridges going across the river.  It made for very crowded conditions.  We saw Adam & Brandi finish but were too late for Austin & Tyler.  Austin set a new personal best at 1:39.02.  Here are the runners after the race:

We couldn't find Tyler in the crowd, but he was waiting back at the van.  Here was his finish picture:

 It was fun to see them run as a family.  It might become an annual tradition!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

4 years + 5 months

Lincoln's big thing this month is asking, "What day is it??"  If it's Wednesday, he'll respond, "Hump Daaay!"  Austin taught this to him from the infamous camel GEICO commercial. which you can view here.  It's funny the first three times.  We have also had to restrict it to only Wednesdays.

Lincoln also asks a lot of rhetorical "Why?" questions like, "Do you know why I like pink?  Because I like pink."  "Do you know why I'm hungry?  Because I'm hungry."

After talking a lot about fire safety at preschool, Lincoln can recognize/read every Exit sign.  He points them all out (sometimes very loudly) wherever we go.  Super Target has a lot of them!

Preschool also means art projects!  Here are some from the last month:

Lincoln continues to be a happy, expressive goofball.  Here is a sample from his monthly photo shoot when told to smile:

Kitchen: Coat rack

Austin finally had the time and correct materials to put together the coat rack area of the laundry/mud room entrance.  (The shelving had to be reordered because it was too short and didn't have finished edges.)  I am so excited to have multiple hooks to hang everything up and a bench to sit on.  I got the cool flip-down coat hooks on here.  The file holder rack is for collecting school papers and magazines.  I'm still working on a way to cover up the duct work for the vent hood.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Kitchen: Crafty laundry

I'm feeling pretty crafty after my little project in the laundry area today.  I used my Cricut machine to make the vinyl letters spelling out our family mission statement, as well as the description of what that space could be used for.  I also made some basket labels using small chalkboards and chalk ink pens.  It's almost a Pinterest-worthy picture! ;)

Blowing leaves

Lincoln & Owen had fun riding through the leaves as I blew them with the leaf blower this afternoon.