Friday, August 18, 2017

Off to the POOL!

Grandma decided we should "seize the moment" and take advantage of the little guys forward momentum from swim lessons, and keep working with them.  We've used the Dimond Center pool in the past (they have a warm therapy pool!) and the membership for the club is "reasonable" (comparatively, as you don't have to sign a year long contract!)

So off to the pool we went!  Lincoln & Evan are making fabulous progress, and the older kids always enjoy pool time.  Grandma and I have even made it over on our own a few times to get some exercise in.  Two thumbs up for summer time activities!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Lincoln the Amazing!

Our newest six year old is a delightful little guy.  Here are some of the things I want to remember about him when he's all grown up.... !

He has a great sense of humor.  The wit is a bit dry sometimes, which makes him even funnier.

He is a thinker.  I am always surprised at his insightful comments!

He is normally agreeable, but also not afraid to stand up for himself (a good thing when you have siblings, not a good thing when you have siblings.... !)

He has the best smile.  Love that huge gap in the front!

He is gentle and sweet with the cats.  Always!

He is very creative and sticks with projects even when they are tough (master Lego builder... !)

Another Playground!

Viva has an art class on the west end of town and I thought it was the perfect opportunity to check out a really nice play location on that side of town. The location combines a nice school playground with a lake and wood side trail. We arrived and discovered a new piece of equipment had been added--a climbing wall with a slide. The kids really liked it.

We visited the main playground and they played there a little bit, but soon requested to go down to the lake front. We saw a few ducks and maybe a loon--it made a very odd noise, so I'm guessing it was loon.

Next I forced the kids to take a walk in the woods. I had some complaints about that activity, but I ignored them. Near the end of the trail we found a lot of currant bushes! Unfortunately for us, it's too late in the season and most of them were picked off or fallen off. We only collected a half cup. We also found raspberries (not good ones), watermelon berries (Jake, Viva, and Lincoln tried them), high bush cranberries (not ripe yet), and baneberries! I had told the kids to watch out for them because they are poisonous, but not to really worry because I don't recall ever finding any. Bentley found some--we brought the leaves (not the berries!) home to verify identification.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Thea the Bengal

A new kitten has arrived in our home!  She is very fun and playful and *even* Rameses is starting to love her.  :)  She arrived on July 21st.  We had long been awaiting her arrival (she came from a breeder in the lower 48!) and were counting down the days.  :)  Here she is on day one, at just a bit over 12 weeks old:

We managed to get a few pictures, but for the first few days she was mostly interested in hiding under the middle of my big king bed.  Five kids is quite a few and they all wanted to check out the new kitten!  She has become MUCH more comfortable with us, although she is still a bit skittish at times.  Normally she alternates between sleeping and acting like a crazy kitten.  We find her very entertaining....

She chases her tail.  She chases Rameses.  She chews on toys (and books, unfortunately....).... she jumps and somersaults and talks and talks and talks, and purrs and purrs and purrs.  She likes to be where we are.  And... she's both playful, smart, AND gorgeous!  We love our kitten!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Our Newest Lego Meister

Lincoln is without dispute the most Lego obsessed child in the family currently and maybe of all time. When Jake was younger he was pretty obsessed with Legos, but Lincoln is, I think, even more so than younger Jake.

For his birthday last month Lincoln was lobbying for Legos from everyone. His mom nixed that plan, but he still got a few Lego sets one of which was on his Christmas wish list, so that made him very happy. He just finished building one of his birthday gift sets and he insisted on doing it all himself. He did a great job; I only helped fix a couple parts put on the wrong side. (Also, I have a bag of unused pieces which I'm pretty sure belong in the build, but you can't tell from looking at the set that anything's missing so no biggie.) This set had 1093 pieces in it and he built most of it in the last two days!

Opa and I gave him some Mixel sets because the month before his birthday Mixels were Evan and his favorite Legos. There are two bins of them in the house and they co-opted both bins. They played with them and looked online for directions to rebuild the smaller sets into larger Mixels. Evan built a Mixel set on his own!

For months Lincoln had been creating his own small Lego designs. He would build them upstairs in the Lego room and then bring them downstairs and put them on the fireplace ledge. I finally told him they needed to go back upstairs--there are multitudinous Legos in the upstairs family room and a lot of Legos in  L & E's bedroom. We don't yet another room overtaken by Legos! Stop the spread!! Here are a few of his creations:

He inspired Evan to start building his own creations, too:

Two weeks ago Lincoln designed a small dragon. He made a green one for the green ninja, then a red one for the red ninja, a blue one for the blue ninja, and so forth. At last count I think he had built nine different dragons. We are starting to run out of parts to build more!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Lego Robotics Camp

During the month of July Bentley, Jake and Viva went to a week long Lego Robotics camp on UAA campus. Bentley was in a different session than the twins, so that meant twice the driving, but that's the way it goes sometimes. (You have to lottery into the classes and we consider our family very fortunate to have gotten three kids into this coveted camp.) 

Bentley went last year, so he knew what he was getting into. He enjoyed it again this year. Jake enjoyed his first Lego Robotics camp experience. He and Viva were on the same team by choice. Viva was the surprise for me. I was surprised she wanted to attend and I was surprised how much she liked the camp--after all they were in camp for five days from eight to three working with Legos. 

Last year after the robotics camp Opa and I purchased the older kids a Lego robotic kit of their own. Bentley built a very fine robot, but he wasn't too thrilled when Jake wanted to rebuild it. Opa and I purchased two more robotic kits so they could each build their own robots...and start a fight club. Sumo wrestling is a time honored tradition with Lego robots. 

Jake built himself a robot and Viva started a robot and then the kids became involved in other activities and the Lego robotics kits took up residence in my bedroom. I'm happy to report that after summer camp last month, Bentley and Jake took their kits out and have started working on new robots. I think Viva added two pieces to last year's unfinished robot. Jake won't agree to a sumo competition against Bentley, so our fight club has yet to form.

Before the boys tore apart their robots from last year, they asked us to take photos of them, so here are last year's robots (Bentley's, then Jake's): 

Some photos from robotics camp this year!  

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

The Fire Pit

Kara has been looking into fire pits for years. Over a year ago she purchased one, but then couldn't decide where to safely use it. It was a traditional fire pit that you burn wood in. It didn't seem like a good idea to use it on our attached second story deck. Nor was it a good plan to set it in the backyard amongst all the dry spruce needles and dead trees without first building a fire proof pad. The new fire pit stayed boxed up.

This summer Kara found a safer alternative, a fire pit that uses lava rocks or fire glass. Lava rocks are hotter (so better for heating and cooking), but they sometimes explode (not good!), so Kara went with fire glass option. After buying a new fire pit, new (more comfortable) deck furniture was needed. Jake and then Viva helped Kara build the chairs.

The grandkids and Matt love the new fire pit. I like that this fire pit is being used for its intended purpose and not just taking up space in the shed like its predecessor.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Science Kit!

"Fun" science is not something I excel at.  I don't really love messes, and although we've done science kits in the past I've been disappointed by how lame most of them are.... hunting down all the supplies to do cool experiments on our own, however, just doesn't happen often enough.  Which is a shame as the kids (Genevieve in particular!) love the "cool" experiments!

So I succumbed to repeated Facebook marketing and decided to give MEL Chemistry kits a try.  Our first set of experiments arrived, and we actually used one of them today (within a couple weeks of its arrival - a true accomplishment for us!!!)  Today we made tin hedgehogs out of zinc pellets, and tomorrow we'll learn more about zinc.  Yay for getting back to experiments, and two thumbs up (so far) for easy to use science kits.  :)

Friday, August 04, 2017


During past summers it has been a goal of mine to visit with the grandchildren many different playgrounds at schools and parks around the city. The children have always enjoyed doing this, but now that the older three are doing more summer camps it has been hard to schedule in a time when they all can go--and then, since the older ones are older (!!!) they are less excited about visiting playgrounds. *sigh*  This was our first playground adventure of the summer with all five onboard.

Wednesday morning I recalled that our church ward had a summer playground schedule and it was Huffman Elementary that day. We've never been to Huffman, so I invited the children to go and at first three of them turned me down, but by the time we left the house for the second time (we had to come back and unload cargo in the back of the truck that I had forgotten about), all five children had opted in.

We had the playground to ourselves--no one from the ward showed up and no one else was using the playground until the last ten minutes. It's a nice playground surrounded by woods and a fence to keep the bears out--not that bears can't climb fences, so maybe the fence is to keep the kids in?

There are four monkeys in this photo--one on top, three on the bars.

Check out the outhouse on the school's roof! The kids thought that was rather strange…and I have to agree. I don't know that I've ever seen an outhouse on a roof before. (The roof is being repaired, so the outhouse was for the construction workers, not the school children. Evan had to use a tree when he needed to go.)

The children all had a great time!





Lincoln was the first of the children to get all the way across this piece of equipment. The older three have mastered the technique in the past, but it took them away to figure it out this time.

After the playground we stopped at Fred Meyer's to purchase salt water taffy. Earlier in the week Viva requested that I take her to Fred's so she could purchase her own supply. (The store had a seasonal display with salt water taffy.) Bentley chose Reese's cups while the other four selected their favorite taffies. The bag with all orange and white is Evan's. They went overboard, but it was their money so I didn't stop them.

Lincoln and Evan have missed out on summer fun because I let the older children rule the schedule. I still have a month (or even two) to hit some playgrounds with Lincoln and Evan. I will do better!