Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Vacation: The Beach

I'm a "true" Alaskan. I prefer the cold weather (I say that even now, while it's -8 degrees outside) to blistering hot weather. I get cranky when it's too hot out. I maintain you can always put more layers on to stay warm, but there's only so many layers to take off when it gets too hot.

Despite this Alaskan nature of mine, once the sun screen is all lathered on and the fuss of preparing for the sun is out of the way, I really like beaches. Sand - it's cool stuff! The waves? Awesome. The salt water? Not so great when you swallow it up your nose. :-)

The kids aren't so sure yet, but I think they warmed up to the beach after a little while. They were freaked out at first by the sound of those huge waves crashing on the shore! And the sand? Bentley refused to walk on it for a while. Jake liked it in limited amounts. Viva wanted to eat it. They were happy playing next to the water, and I have hopes that next time we go we can convince them to go IN the water!

We had fun trying to build in the sand. I think before we go again I'll have to google sand castles first to get some master builder tips though - mine kept falling apart on level 2.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Viva & Opa

Perhaps a bit more emphasis on the Viva than on the Opa, but... still, I like it!

Monday, December 29, 2008

We love you, Great Grandpa

My Grandpa Hill passed on earlier today. I'm not sure how much the twins will remember of him, but Bentley has spent a fair amount of time with Great Grandpa. Grandpa was a very social and sharp old guy, but his dementia of the past few years had made life harder for him. We will miss being able to see him, but we know that he is in a much better place now.

Great Grandpa with Felicity & Bentley on his birthday in 2006:

Great Grandpa with the twins on his birthday in 2008:

Playing ball with the kids on one of their Wednesday's at Great-Grandpa's earlier this spring:

We know that we will see each other again in the future, so this is just a good bye for now. We love you, Grandpa!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Fun

We enjoyed Christmas, although the pace of the past month has been more than a bit hectic - and that's an understatement.  It is nice to be able to slow down a bit now!  On Christmas Eve we decided on a home made potato soup before opening gifts together and attending a candle light service with my Grandmother at her church. On Christmas morning the kids checked out gifts from Santa, we ate apple dumplings, and then we spent Christmas afternoon/evening up at Grandma Karen and Grandpa Tim's house opening even more fun gifts, and eating delicious prime rib.  Multiple days of good food and fun, what more could we ask for?

We could ask for a Santa sighting, of course!  And we got one! On the way to the candle light service on Christmas Eve, while at a stop light, we spotted Santa in a convertible (with the top down, mind you, in 0 degree weather) with lots of gifts in the back. Pretty crazy. Too bad for Bentley that Santa cruised through the green before Bentley got a good Santa affirming sighting.  The adults in the car all saw Santa though, so we believe!

The Christmas photos:

The twins caught the unwrapping vision right away. In fact, they caught it a few hours before our official "start" and tried to rip into some gifts that did not belong to them - I guess they can't read labels yet?!!  It was just as well we didn't get all the presents under the tree until Christmas Eve, as they may not have survived a week or two of scrutiny from the toddlers. Fun times.

One of the great things about having siblings close in age to you?  Everyone gets their own gifts, but all of the gifts get to be shared.  The kids have been having fun enjoying all the new loot - I don't think we went crazy with the gifts, but they certainly received quite the selection of presents between us and all the relatives.  Lucky kids!

We were blessed to have such a fun filled Christmas, and I'm looking forward to more Christmas time memories with the kids in the coming years - while being thankful I have 11 months to get ready for the next one, that is!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Viva's Dress Poses

In Mexico! Doesn't she pose nicely in her sun dresses? :-)

Posted by Picasa

Bentley at 18 months


Bentley, at 18 months, had a bit more responsibility than the twins do at 18 months. He had 2 new babies that required lots of burping and feeding. Poor kid!

Friday, December 26, 2008

It's Boxing Day!

Boxing Day, Wikipedia tells me, is known as "The Day of Good Will" in South Africa. The name comes from the tradition of putting gifts into boxes for the less fortunate. In many commercialized parts of the world, however, it is now associated mainly with a day of shopping deals. Hmmm....

Moving on from that tidbit, of even MORE significance than Boxing Day (at least to the entire United States, I'm sure!!) - Viva & Jake are 18 months old today. A year and a half. Craziness.

Viva has a favorite word: no. She says it with great feeling and quite often. Once in a while if we're tricky we can get a yeah out of her, but she is much more sparing with her positive answers to questions. When she's not busy with no, she can be found asking "what's that"?? She's even borrowed a trick from Bentley, and sometimes nothing can stop her from repeating her question over and over. Even after it's answered. :-)

Jackson has more words than Genevieve, I do believe, but I can't pick out any favorites of his. He prefers to use sentences - albeit, I'll admit, short ones! I want down. I want that. No, not that! Hold me. Hold me. Hold me! Okay - hold me - that's probably still his favorite, now that I think of it.

The twins are very charming little creatures although they don't always share well. Jake has a tendency to take what he wants. Viva is starting to fight back more often, though! I'll even admit that sometimes she grabs a toy she knows he likes - and then she leads him on a merry chase with a glint in her eye, just to get him worked up. I've seen it more than a few times!

In honor of this great day, the chairs are back! Please enjoy the dynamic duo as they move backwards in time, starting with a shot from earlier today:

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

Vacation: Viva's Food Fest

I think Genevieve had a few simple goals in mind for our vacation.

1) enjoy the sun & water (check!)
2) put on an extra 10% in body weight by enjoying good food (check!!)

Okay... so I don't REALLY know that Genevieve gained 2 some pounds in a week. But the way she was eating it is distinctly possible!

New favorites? Pickled olives & onions. Fresh salsa. Shrimp. More Shrimp. Even more Shrimp!! She really liked Grandpa Tim's shrimp.

Here she is, ecstatic to be at a restaurant that serves up plate upon plate of protein. This awesome place is an "all you can eat", where they cook meat on big swords over flames. They bring all different types to your table, one at a time, and cut off pieces for you to try right onto your plate. Beefs, porks, hams, turkey... all sorts of goodness.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Finally, Winter Solstice has Arrived

Today is the "shortest" day of the year, and we couldn't be more thrilled up here in Alaska.

Every day right before nap time (which, I should admit, is not as daily as it ought to be for Mr. B) Bentley has a melt down. "No, no! I don't want to take a nap. I don't want the sun to go away!".

He seems to think that the sun goes down BECAUSE he takes a nap, so if his mean Mommy would just let him stay up we could enjoy more sunshine around here. I wish! That would be an easy solution to the lack of daylight hours around here.

Although I really don't complain. We're lucky to normally have enough snow that even in the dark you get lights reflected off of all that lovely white cold powder. I think it's gorgeous. But Bentley? He is VERY opposed to the sun being on vacation.

So, I think I will bake him a treat today to celebrate the gradual return of daylight hours. I'm 100% sure he will think this is worth rejoicing about!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Santa, bring me a gift!

We're making progress on the Santa front.


Grandma rented "The Santa Clause" for us to watch, and I think Bentley is starting to get the idea. He's talking about lists and reindeer and Santa. It wasn't too late for him!

We asked him what he wants Santa to bring him, and he told us "a gift". When we tried to dig a little deeper for something more specific he clarified with "a present". I like it.

We couldn't figure out what he was saying when he said "present", at first, so we tried plane, paints, all sorts of p words until we hit on present. Along the way to understand his initial response he decided on crayons, paints, markers, and brushes. Check! We can do that! At least for now this little boy sounds pretty easy to shop for.

As for what Viva & Jake want from Santa, according to Bentley? Gifts with their names on them, more specifically he mentioned Santa is to bring them lots and lots of matchbox cars. Hmmm.... is this a slightly biased recommendation on his part?

Vacation: The Pools

The Grand Mayan Palace has an amazing set of pools. We're very happy Grandpa Tim & Grandma Karen bought into the place! :-) If I read their website correctly it has the largest set of connecting pools/areas on the North American continent. That's a lot of water.

The kids had a good time at the different pools, although it did take them a little while to warm up to the water. It's a good thing the stacking cups went to Mexico with us, at Grandma Karen's brilliant suggestion they turned into the perfect water toy to entertain the twins (& Bentley) for hours. Or it could have been hours upon hours, if Mom hadn't limited the time in sun to about 2 hrs at a time. Like I mentioned before - sunscreen application on 3 under 3?! Craziness.

But you're not here to read, I'm guessing. So here are some pictures of the kids at the resort pools!

Vacation: Bentley & New Rides

Bentley had a lot of "first rides" on our Mexico vacation.

1st ride on a train (very cute Thomas look a like train at the resort)
1st ride on a lazy river
1st ride on a golf cart
1st ride on an ambulance

That last one we could have done without!  It took us to this lovely location:

The above is the San Javier Marina hospital. Yikes!

About half way through our trip Bentley's head and the marble trim in our hotel area had a very unfortunate encounter. Bentley and Jake were playing, and Bentley slipped on a pillow that was on the edge of the couch, which dropped him off the couch and against the floor trim on the floor. He split the back of his head open. Lots of blood. We called the hotel medic, who decided we should take him by ambulance to the local hospital. 6 stitches, a brain scan (because the cut looked deep), and some M&Ms later... we made it back to the hotel.

We were supposed to keep his head from getting too wet, so that put a BIT of a curtail on some of his water fun. We're just thankful it was "just" some stitches that were needed. It was scary, poor kid!

A few days after we made it back from Mexico Matt took him into the pediatrician to get the stitches removed. When Bentley came back from the Dr. he reported that the Dr. "pulled his head out". I love the visual that one brings to mind!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Vacation: It's about the Water, of course!

The kids figured out quick that the sun & water are a great combination that provide lots of fun. The hardest part? The loooooong process of lathering up that white white white skin to protect it from the sun. Bentley (of course) didn't think much of having greasy lotion lathered all over his arms/legs/neck/face. He put up loud protests. The twins took it with more dignity. Thank goodness.

After the first couple times we suited them up in swim suits and lathered them up in sunscreen they figured out what that pattern meant, and would eagerly wait by the door to let us know they were ready to go play by the pool/beach. Such enthusiasm!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Vacation: The Plane Trips

Chapter 1 of our vacation story has to do with the plane trips. The kids were (mostly) well behaved, of course! We had 5 total flights. 3 legs going down, and 2 coming back.

Jake was our "problem" child who had a few screaming jags on the flights.  The ear piercing shrieks were okay with me - it could have been worse.  We could have had the toddler sitting in the row in front of us who puked all over her parents right after take off.  The smell from our row wasn't good, but imagine being the parent of that kid.  They had a change of clothes for her, but not for them.  Uck!  Here is Jake, curled up peacefully, after falling asleep about 10 minutes before the plane landed. Nice!

Genevieve was good natured. I appreciated her willingness to ride in the stroller as we tried to race through different airports. Her brother was not always as willing. Here she is on the airport shuttle in the Seattle airport. When the voice came over the speakers and said "please hold on to a rail, the train is about to start"... what did she do? She grabbed on!

Bentley was a good sport about the airplanes. He was excited to be flying. He's going through a great toddler stage right now where he likes to repeat things. "Mommy did the plane take off yet"? "Mommy did the plane take of yet"? "Mommy did the plane take off yet"? x 300. Despite the fact I would answer "Nope! Not yet! I'll tell you as SOON as it is. Shhhh! Shhhh!!!". We would then repeat this when the plane was about to land. "We're landing soon?". "We're landing soon?". "We're landing soon?". Crazy kid!

The kids all did a lot of sleeping on the planes, thankfully.  I don't think we even made it through all our melt down avoidance toys in the carry on!

I don't have pictures from the lines where we waited to get into Mexico.  Our kids were getting ornery enough after that 3rd flight that we got waived through the line pretty quick though.  I think they wanted us to stay on the move!  Coming back we cleared Customs in Seattle.  Bentley had a melt down that the whole airport could hear, I'm sure, as we had a little misunderstanding about where the next plane would be.  He didn't understand why we had to go downstairs and pick up our luggage before heading to the next plane, and he was ready to get on the last plane and come home to Alaska.  Kicking and screaming and fun - oh my!

Vacations are great fun, but I am certainly looking forward to the day those Star Trek transporters are widely available.  :-)