Friday, April 25, 2014


SET is our new favorite game. Jake, Bentley and Viva like to play it. It is simple and quick. It is a math game that strengthens pattern recognition. We've owned the game for years and played it a few times over the past couple of years, but it is only recently that it's become popular with the children. The name of the game says it all--you look for sets of three cards that match. Usually the children have fun playing, but sometimes they get too competitive and then tempers flare. The game can be played noncompetitively, too, so when tempers flare I suggest that they all play on the same team! Kara downloaded an app for the iPads and that version has been the favored one the past two weeks.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Bed Time!

We've had a nice stretch of time here with Matt not traveling much, and he's taken advantage of that to work on a bedtime routine with Evan and Lincoln.

Daddy and Evan are long time bed buddies. Evan is still our good little sleeper and is always nice about heading to bed after some rocking and story time.  Lincoln?  Mostly due to me he's not very good about bed time.  Stays up too late, sleeps in my bed, and then thrashes around wakefully and gets up early when I do.  Not a great combination of factors for a two year old despite the fact he's an awfully cute cuddle bug.

So we decided it's time he head to bed with Evan.  That poor little guy shouldn't have to be lonely in his room, right?!  We appealed to Lincoln's kind hearted sensibilities and it's working pretty well.  He tells me "baby not lonely anymore!".  Lincoln and Evan read stories together with Daddy, then watch some Piano Guys on you tube, get their backs rubbed, and head to bed.  All before 10 pm.  Total craziness!

Even crazier?  Our 18 month old is finally sleeping through most nights without getting up at 11... or 3... or 5.  For months he's been rather attached to extra Daddy time, but for the past couple weeks he's been a blissful dozer.  Love it!  

We'll see how well this routine carries on with Daddy's travel plans of the next few weeks.  I suspect it might be rough on Mommy who's not as dedicated to elaborate routines... wish me luck.  :)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Playground

For the past week or so we've been getting in some quality time at the playground across the street.  It's Evan's first real experience with playing at the playground and it's a big hit!  The older ones are jazzed about it too.  Hurray for spring!

Monday, April 21, 2014

B's Garden

On March 19 Bentley came home from cub scouts with five big red Solo cups labeled bean, pea (3), and squash. In the very bottom of every 5" high cup was a small Jiffy peat pot. Each pot had been watered and two seeds added. I found a plastic tray and we put the cups on the tray and placed the tray in our kitchen garden window. 

After a day or two I cut the cups way down so the sun could hit the peat pots. Within days plants emerged from the pots--the three peas, then the bean, finally the squash. Bentley checked on his plants (almost!) daily. It would have been easier for him had they been in a lower window, but the garden window was the best spot in the house for encouraging growth.

This photo was taken on March 28. 
Bentley and I had just repotted the plants because the roots were already sticking out of the peat pot. 

Here they are on April 9 just three weeks after planting. 
Bentley took this photo to his cub meeting to show off how well they were doing. He only showed it to the leaders though, so he didn't receive feedback from the other cubs on how their plants were doing.

And here's a photo taken last Saturday, April 19. 
If you look closely you can see flowers on the peas! 

Our garden window, the Alaskan sunshine, and Bentley's (and my) care are a very winning combo. Of course, we cannot transfer these plants outside until Memorial Day weekend which is still five weeks away. (That's the traditional weekend for planting in our area.) The squash needs a larger pot. I really don't think they should have grown so big so soon!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Earthquake Drill

The Great Alaskan Earthquake ripped Anchorage apart 50 years ago on March 27, 1964. To commemorate this event last month the newspaper ran a week long series of articles on the quake and its tsunami. There were lots of public service announcements about earthquake preparedness and earthquake drills. I read about a suggested practice drill at 1:36PM on March 27, 2014. I decided the children should participate, so we ran an earthquake drill at our home.

First we read the guidelines for earthquake drills. Here was the standard advice: "If you're indoors, stay there. Get under -- and hold onto --a desk or table, or stand against an interior wall. Stay clear of exterior walls, glass, heavy furniture, fireplaces and appliances. The kitchen is a particularly dangerous spot." It is not advised that you stand in a doorway, but rather that you find an inside corner to huddle in.  In a major earthquake you might not be able to move about safely so you should not move to another room unless the room you were in was unsafe. 

We were having our earthquake discussion at the kitchen table which is located partially in a window bow containing five tall windows. The children could climb under the table and hold on, but it didn't seem particularly safe with all those windows near and cupboards filled with Fiestaware just a few feet away. We looked at the family room which is connected to the kitchen/dining area but it had one wall with windows and the two remaining walls were covered in toy or book shelves. The school room was similarly dangerous--windows and bookshelves filled with many heavy objects that could go flying.

Here was our best solution for the main floor:

I'm not sure this was a good solution, but I haven't yet figured out anything better. Our main floor is perfect for family living: lots of open space (i.e. few interior walls) with many windows to let in the light. It is not so perfect for staying safe during an earthquake.

Karate - Video!

I just realized that I never posted the video we tracked down from Bentley and Jake's first demo team performance.  So here it is!  They also did a demo at the end of March at UAA as part of Asian Cultural Awareness week.  It was fun, and they're enjoying the team!

Friday, April 18, 2014

And... the Bikes Are Back!

Spring in Alaska.  :)  The bike trails aren't quite clear yet, but they're good enough for these Alaskan kids.

The boys (and the big one, their Dad) are excited and looking forward to a season of biking fun together!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Red Moon PARTY time!

On Monday evening we stayed up late (but not much later than normal... ha!) to check out the red moon.  We had some clouds but they weren't bad, so we had a nice view of the moon gradually becoming eclipsed and then turning red!  Opa managed to grab a nice picture from the back porch:

This past weekend we watched some Ted-Ed videos about lunar eclipses, so the kids were ready/excited to check it out.  Viva decided to draw the eclipse:

Bentley avidly watched it, and Jake... well, Jake participated.  His formal opinion is that watching the moon for an hour is not terribly exciting.  I believe there was a comment about it being as exciting as watching grass grow.  I objected, as I don't normally see significant grass growth in the space of just one hour!  :)

If you want to learn more about the lunar eclipse tetrad, of which this was the first event, you can check out a short video here.  Fun stuff!