Sunday, January 25, 2015

Drawing Time!

The kids and I are working through a drawing cartoons book by Mark Kistler. We may not be ready for the big time, but considering we've only done 3 lessons I think we're doing great! Bentley is really loving it, Viva is enjoying it, and Jake would claim he is only begrudgingly along for the ride - but I think he's having more fun that he'll admit to!

My lovely comic fish picture:


Viva's (she favors SMALL!):

and Jake's!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Boy Scout Service Project

Last weekend Bentley did a service project at the Catholic Food Pantry with his Boy Scout troop. They got up bright and early on a Saturday and headed downtown to learn about how the food pantry worked, then they helped with some sorting and organizing. His leaders tell me he was very helpful and stayed on task - that sounds like my little man! Although, as you can see, on occasion he does have a touch of silly:

But don't worry - then they got to work!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Folk Festival Performance

Bentley and Jake had a chance to perform in the Anchorage Folk Festival last weekend with their ukulele group!  Opa was in Hawaii, otherwise he would have been there with them  too.

It was fun.  Matt and I and the other three went to watch them, and both Grandma Vicki and Grandma Karen came to check it out too.  The boys were  very excited about it and did a great job.  Jake gave us four or five extra waves from the stage when they were done before relinquishing the spotlight.  The group organizer sent out an email with some notes from the comment cards people leave at the event:

"Best large group." 
"Loved the arrangements!"
"You guys sounded great."
"The little boys were so cute I wanted to run up and hug them!"

(She also  made a point to note that none of these comments came from friends and family - LOL - I thought that was funny!).

I am hoping to get the videos of their songs uploaded to YouTube and then I'll add them to this post.

Monday, January 19, 2015

... but WHAT do you like about it?

 Lincoln has been really cracking me up lately.  He's very creative - he loves to play with his kinetic sand, build huge and elaborate structures with his magformers, and create crayon art scences that have quite the narrative behind them.  He is always bringing us something to admire or asking us to come and look at something he's created.  It goes something like this:

Lincoln: "Mommy, do you like my ______?"
Me: "Why yes!  I can see you've worked hard on it!"
Lincoln:  "... but WHAT exactly do you like about it?"

At which point I describe how the sides are all so crazy and wonderful, or how the use of bold colors is particularly cheerful, or.... !

I think it's hilarious that he goes after this type of specific praise.  He isn't going to settle for some type of blanket comment on the overall structure or creation.  He wants details!  I guess I shouldn't be too surprised as it's a common theme of parenting books - find specific things to praise!  Luckily for me I have a three year old to help me keep honing my work-in-progress parenting skills.  :)

Saturday, January 17, 2015


Lincoln is a great kid. He's enjoyable to be with. He's pretty low key and even-tempered. He doesn’t get angry easily. (He will hold a grudge for a few hours to a day if you make him mad, but then he moves on.) He can be very chatty and he expects you to listen and respond intelligently. He's a good kid and easy to (grand)parent.

L is usually obedient and follows the house rules. Like his oldest brother B (who monitors all his younger siblings), L will enforce the rules when E breaks them. Such enforcement usually ends in a wrestling match. We have asked that he not police E, but L's instincts for rule following are too strong.

L likes hanging out with B, J, & V and he joins them in some of their activities like dress-ups, but mostly he plays with his best buddy, E. They play together while the older three do schoolwork. They watch out for each other especially at night, offering comfort if needed. (Kara hears them on the baby monitor.)

L is very independent. He insists on dressing himself. If you inadvertently help him, he gets quite upset going so far as to take his clothes off and put them back on himself just to make sure you understand that he does not need or want your help. L can be stubborn if he doesn't want to do something. He's really clever and comes up with counter arguments to your reasons why he should do it. 

L is persistent if he wants something. He will ask for it again and again and again. He will remember any promise you make to him. On the other hand, he is quite patient and is willing to wait while you finish a chore before helping him. He's even a good sport if you forget and he has to remind you. He's a gem, he really is.

Some of L's favorite things/activities are: 
books & more books
building Legos
Lego minifigures
Rat-a-Tat Cat (game)
Busytown (game)
iPad time
bath time
Looney Tunes

Friday, January 16, 2015


B is quite self-disciplined. When he finds a new interest he pursues it ardently. He sets goals and works hard to accomplish them. He usually has a plan and he tells us what it is and how we can help him accomplish it. He can be a little bossy at such times, but his enthusiasm for his goals is admirable and impressive. (Quite frankly, sometimes I want to slow him down! He can be over zealous!) 

B is usually up and reading or playing chess when his siblings arrive downstairs in the morning. Sometimes he has already started on his schoolwork for the day. He is always the first one finished with his schoolwork and it's not just because he's the oldest. (I don't think he'd like a 15 minute break every hour!)

B is a picky eater and that is an issue for him and us. We encourage him to try new foods and he refuses. Maybe his taste buds are super sensitive? 

B is a great big brother. He is very patient with and kind to E. He plays well with L when asked to. He's not as nice to J, but they are good friends most of the time. 

B can be a worrier. He worries about being late to karate. He really dislikes wind storms and scary movies. He's cautious about new adventures, but once he feels comfortable, he's a very confident kid. B likes leading. He asks his karate sensei to let him lead classes which is something most students his age avoid. 

Some of B's favorite things/activities that I have noticed are: 
board games (strategy games)
Cub Scouts

I asked B to tell me a few more of his favorite things/activities:
taking hot, hot showers
weapons class (karate)

Thursday, January 15, 2015


V continues to be quirky and contradictive. On one hand she is all girl. She loves dresses, long hair, crafting, and gymnastics. On the other hand she's a tom boy. She competes with her brothers, reads their books, plays with Legos, and wrestles with them. She is convinced she is stronger than her brothers because of her 12 hours/week of gymnastics training. (She is definitely more flexible than they are!)

V is quite creative. She likes to craft items of her own design from duct tape. She is always busy working on a project or reading. She likes to sew and although she is a beginner sewer, she isn't afraid to make up her own pattern. She likes to spend time alone in the mudroom working on her projects. She doesn't like to show off a project until she is finished with it. She generously gifts away her projects. She is not a hoarder....well, except of craft supplies!

V is a good student, but not always attentive. She would rather do her own activities than schoolwork. Sometimes additional supervision is needed to keep her on task. V and J can be a bad influence on each other.

V is usually in a good mood. When she isn't we are often clueless as to why she is upset because she doesn't like sharing her feelings with others. She prefers to sulk in private which makes it easier on us, but if we don't know why she's mad we can't help her solve the problem. She likes to puzzle things out on her own.

V is very observant of the people around her. Her comments on life and people are very insightful. She loves to read the comics and seems to understand them. V is a loyal twin to J. She is a fantastic playmate to L. She is a great helper, although she hates to vacuum. She likes to bake.

Some of V's favorite things/activities that I have noticed are: 
duct tape
the comics
fairy tales

I asked V to tell me a few more of her favorite things/activities:
bubble baths
soap making