Thursday, July 31, 2008

Bentley turns 30!

Today was the big 3-0 for Bentley, who is now officially 2 1/2 years old (30 months, in other words). My 2 1/2 yr old is much different with his extra 6 months of age than the 2 yr old I knew just a few short months ago!

He's very passionate. When he feels we're not listening he shares his demands in VERY loud words. Charming? Not entirely. Loveable and slightly humorous? Always!

He's becoming more assertive and agressive - the little boy in him is demanding to be let out, I guess. :-)

He loves games - hide & seek is the new favorite. His variety of the game involves directing his father, Uncle, or Opa as to where exactly they should hide (as in: "Daddy, hide in kitchen!"), then a quick count to 10, and then inquiries to the bystanders as to where his prey has hidden if they didn't go where he told them to. He has a "seeking ball" (any ball will do, so far!) which he holds in the air while he hums and wanders around looking. Apparently it has powers to help find!

Lastly, Bentley is quite the vocal creature these days. All my worries about his langauge development were apparently unnecessary. He now picks up all sorts of new words on a daily basis. He also uses big (I think!) sentences. Today in the car: "Mommy, I see a dump truck go by over there". He comments on everything "Light, turn green now!". He loves to help - policing twins (he feels this is important), baking in the kitchen, putting away laundry, and picking up toys, picking strawberries and watering plants with Dad, ... one of his favorite phrases is"I help!". We also frequently hear the demand: "Stop, wait for me!". His logical powers are developing. He was eating an after lunch snack of Reese's Cups and I told him the snack was over and I didn't have anymore to give him. His reply? "Mommy, go to store and get more Reese's".

He's a thinker, this boy!

Not Only Is He a Thinker...

he's also a biter. I felt I couldn't quite add this to the "happy 2 1/2 post", but it still deserved a mention. It's important to record some of the good AND the bad, right?

So I'll confess. My child has turned into a biter. Or, I should say - my child WAS a biter. I'm sure it's in the past now. I really hope it was a one time try out for the part and he's decided he didn't like the taste of it. The gentle spanking (gentle enough, at least), firm lecture, and time out had some impact, right? They better have!

We had a play date today with our friends Haley and Hannah (and their mother, Morgan!) - we had just gotten started and Bentley and Haley were playing on the couch. Morgan looked over, saw them hugging/perhaps kissing she thought... but no, a moment later the cry. My child bit his friend on the lip. THE LIP - no, he couldn't settle for being a normal biter and going for an arm or a hand. He wanted to be different. How on earth/why on earth? I do not know.

Haley, we are so so sorry!

Luckily for us the play date didn't end at that point and Bentley had a chance to try again at playing nicely with his friend. We think we'll see Haley & Hannah again so it ended well. :-)

But I still can't believe my child bit someone. Ouch.

I'm off to whisper in his ear while he sleeps "we don't bite.. we don't bite... we don't bite - we're not one of THOSE kids"!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

While Bentley's Away...

Most Tuesday afternoons Bentley goes to play at Grandpa Tim's and Grandma Karen's house. While he's away the twins have the chance to play unsupervised by their older brother. Here's what they did while at our house:

It was another round of railroad demolition. Kara says that I should let them play with the railroad however they want. She believes that there is no right way to play with railroad track. From my point of view it's a lot less work to clean up after the grandchildren leave if the track hasn't been flung or carried all over the living room. I have to put the track back into working order before Bentley comes over or there will be tears. Either that or the twins will be in for a few extra shoves and pushes from their frustrated sibling.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Happy Smiles!

As I said, we took no photos at the water park, but I've plenty of great photos of the grandbabies that I want to show off, so here's a pair of recent fine photos. (I don't usually snap the photos, but I often work with the photographer.)

Viva and Jake running down the hall. We tried and tried to get them running abreast of each other, but they just didn't catch the vision. One would take off quickly while the other one paused to enjoy the moment. This was our best shot. What fantastic smiles!

And here's Bentley Babe smiling just because it's a great day with many fine adventures ahead of him.

Last Friday was my birthday and I spent most of it hanging out with the grandchildren. What could be nicer than spending time with such a happy trio? Well, spending time with the happy trio and their happy mother! What a fine life I have.

H2O Oasis Revisited

If you are an avid reader of this blog, you might recall that Bentley visited H2O Oasis (an indoor water park) in the spring with his friend Daniel. (Their mothers were, of course, with them.) Daniel had been to the water park a few times before and he loves playing there. Bentley did not like H20 Oasis. He clung to his mother like a limpet and would not let his dainty little feet touch the water. He did not have a good time.

Not to be daunted by her son's negative attitude, Kara decided we should go back again with all the kidlets. We first attempted this in early May. It was a bust. The park was way too busy so we didn't pay to go in. We settled for play time in our hot tub. I wrote a blog entry about it and included some great photos.

There are no photos to record our time at H2O Oasis today. It's not the kind of place you'd take a camera. Water, water, everywhere. I had the silly notion that I might be able to keep my hair dry. HUH!? What was I thinking? (I saw a couple moms who accomplished that feat, but they had older children and stayed to the edge of the play area.)

Kara, I, Bentley, and the twins met Maria, Daniel, and David there. Daniel immediately climbed up on the pirate ship and played under a leaking keg for a good twenty minutes. He totally enjoyed having water pour on his head. Not so Bentley. Bentley didn't cling to Kara or I, but he wasn't into getting wet either.

Over the next half hour he started getting more adventurous. By the time we left an hour and half later, he was having a grand time. He and Daniel were racing up the steps of the pirate ship and then taking turns sliding down the water slide. Occasionally Bentley would take a face full of water, but it didn't upset him. At one point he was prepared to go down the big slide on the pirate ship, but a line starting forming behind him so he opted out. A little while later he tried to talk Daniel into going down the big slide, but Daniel vetoed that idea.

Last time Bentley visited the water park he didn't take his water shoes. This time he not only had water shoes, he had a special water t-shirt. I and Kara think both these items contributed to his comfort and ability to have fun. Although, he did now and again complain to us about his water shoes. He'd hold up his foot and protest that his shoes were wet--a stream of water poured out of them. Go figure!

How did the twins like the water park? Viva, as I expected, found it somewhat entertaining. She enjoyed walking around, clinging to the rope fence, and watching the other kids play. Jake, as I expected, was not too happy about the entire adventure. I took him down a short slide with me, but he hated it so much that he wanted nothing to do with me for the rest of our time at the water park. (This is highly unusual--he's quite the Grandma's boy!) Jake made lots of unhappy faces. Maybe, like his older brother, his second visit will be loads of fun?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Princess Dress

I found a new dress for Genevieve at a garage sale yesterday, a bargain at only $2! The dress is incredible. It is so poofy, foofy, and fluffy that it can stand on its own:

I have to admit though - the dress looks even better with its new owner inside it. Isn't she a doll? All she's missing is her tiara!

She kept dropping her toy on the floor at church, and when she'd crouch down to grab it it would dissapear under the layers of her dress. She'd bend herself all the way in half looking for the toy and still have to give up because she couldn't get through all the layers between her and the floor. I know I shouldn't have, but I laughed at her efforts - I couldn't help it, because it was pretty funny looking! :-)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Alaskan Beach

I'm going to pretend that the above playground picture shot is a beach - I think it kind of looks like it, if you substitute sand for the rocks and imagine some water! While you're at it pretend Viva's in a swimsuit instead of a jacket and pants. Living in Anchorage we have to take what we can get! We have a couple (literally - 2, I believe?) beaches in town (although given the weather we haven't been tempted to seek them out), and if you venture forth further out of Anchorage you can find some pretty beaches. But we're certainly no Hawaii or Florida.

Which seems to be okay with my daughter. Genevieve, as has been mentioned before, loves loves LOVES to eat these gourmet playground rocks. She shovels them in almost faster than we can get them back out. Jackson, on the other hand, is mostly content to pick them up and let them run through his hands. He gets an A+ for playground behavior. Genevieve... well, she's not an A student at the playground yet.

Speaking of playgrounds, we haven't been seeing as much of them this summer as Bentley would like. An article in the paper on Thursday mentioned that we're on track to have the coldest summer on record. I had known the weather wasn't the greatest and that last year seemed a lot nicer in my head - it's good to have that confirmed. The article also reported that although the summer has been unusually lame we can look forward to a warmer than normal Oct - Dec. Geez - great! I think I'll save my hopes for warm weather and direct them towards next summer. The kids only get so many summers when they're little and we need some more sun to fully enjoy all those fun summertime activities that kids are supposed to - sprinklers and parks and popsicles and trikes and frisbees and picnics and sunshine and good times!

We're hoping summer of 2009 will deliver. We're doing our best with what's been offered this year, but we want more!

Happy Birthday, Grandma!

Yesterday we had the chance to celebrate my Mom's birthday with her. Due to the age of the kids I think they were high on the work versus sit back and enjoy scale, but all the same we tried to have a good time. We went to the zoo and communed with the animals. The weather cooperated and provided a rare day of sun, and the snow leopards came out of hiding from the top of their cages so we could properly admire them - a 1st for us. Fun stuff!

Thanks for always being here for us, Grandma. We enjoy all the time we get to spend with you and the trips you go on with us and all the fun play time you provide. Most of all, the pleasure of your company! We might be crazy without you. :-) But instead we're busy driving you crazy - here's the picture proof!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Bentley Then and Now

One of the fun things about having hundreds of pictures is being able to pull a few to compare!

I present Bentley at age 1, and Bentley at age 2 1/2 (coming up next week!).

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Hug Bears & Stories & Good Times, Oh My!

I just realized I've been remiss in posting about the main excitement for the kiddos from the beginning of the month - a visit from their Grandma Vicki! It was mentioned with the birthday party festivities, but it deserves some more words on the fun times.

I think the kids were a bit spoiled -someone to read to them and play with them 24x7 (although we did allow for short break time for sleeping at night), plus Grandma Vicki is a preschool and kindergarten teacher so she knows way more fun songs to sing than I do! The kids had a great time playing games, piling on Grandma, and soaking up the extra attention. I had a great time enjoying a little less of their attention! :-)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Escape to the Park

After a long week of cool weather and colds, the little ones were anxious to escape the house. We nabbed two strollers--BOB for the twins and a single stroller for Bentley--and headed to the local school playground. Bentley likes to walk part way there, but once we hit the busy street, we like to put him in the stroller. (On the way home we clued in that we needn't walk along the busy street at all--there is parallel street that is quiet. DUH!)

We first played on the slides. The twins had a good time trying to climb them. They did not succeed.

Bentley was monkeying around on the playground rails. He's very strong.

Viva did her usual rock eating. No matter how many times we took her away from the rocks, she kept going back.

Jake only ate rocks once or twice. He was quite content to just play with them.

After ten minutes of digging rocks out of Viva's mouth, I carried her out to the middle of the clover fields and let her play there. Here's our shot sequence of the day:

Doesn't it remind you of a cheesy movie ending? (Okay, in the movies the hero doesn't usually knock the heroine down.)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Just a year early...

I'm way ahead of the ball game for Christmas! In fact - I'm planning ahead for Christmas 2009 - that's impressive, right?

I decided to try my hand at dress making, figuring that everyone needs a hobby. I'm not yet sure if I'll stick with this new hobby but my first attempt went fairly smoothly so I'll be giving it another shot. I decided that what Genevieve lacks is dresses (see Viva: Fashionista!), so obviously what she needed is another one. Only problem? The pattern I started with had 2T as the smallest size - the other pattern I was looking at had a 12 month size, but the 2T one was labeled "simple" so it won by a long shot.

The dress is finished, but the official debut won't be until Christmas 2009. I'm looking forward to it! I think she is too. I had it hanging in the kitchen for a day and she'd point at it and say "oooooahhh!". I'll take that as approval.

Here she is with the too big dress:

And here she is in black and white, giving us a thumbs up!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Bentley in 7 words

It sounds better than stubborn, I think! Whatever Bentley wants (or doesn't want), he puts a lot of passion into conveying his opinion.

Despite his lack of caloric intake, this child is overflowing with energy. He rarely quits moving and I'm in awe at how full of life he always is. He's energetic and exuberant!

Bentley spends a lot of time demanding that the twins play with him, and enquiring after his friends and family. He loves to spend time with people, and is definitely more of an extrovert than an introvert at this point.

The Fisher Price little people and animals have been having a rough time of it. He has been sending his pet polar bear to a watery grave, and then sending in the rescue squad. There's a lot of imaginative play going on lately and the plot lines are getting crazier every day - it's my favorite show! Perhaps it's just because I don't know a lot of 2 yr olds, but I think this kid has some pretty crazy ideas!

He loves to laugh. He has a sense of humor and likes to engage in a good joke with the twins, with me, with Dad, with his grandparents - anything to provide humor. I appreciate that.

I'll attribute this one to his age. We have been enjoying plenty of "time outs" lately in an effort to convince Bentley that it's not okay to hit people, throw toys, push his siblings...

Bentley has perfected his kisses lately. Instead of his old stand by, the air kiss, I now get lots and lots of kisses on the cheeks. Last Saturday Bentley noticed I was wearing a new shirt and complimented me (Matt better watch out, this kid has better observation skills than he does!!). Whenever the twins are crying (regardless of if he's the one who caused it) he offers them toys and hugs, and wants them to be happy and "not cry". He's a charmer!

I could go on and on. He's fun, he's engaging and he's curious. He has a love of reading and learning and exploring, we enjoy building and artwork and gardening. He's a joy to have around (except for when he's busy testing limits - Viva & Jake bear the grunt of the testing, and don't much care for it!).

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Viva & Jake Speak

Our kids have the traditional favorites down - Mama, Daddy, Hi, Bye... and just lately they've started to pick up some fun new words.

Here's what we have so far:

What's that!? (pronounced wat dat, with pointing involved normally)
Hi there!
Uh oh (normally when she is in trouble, but sometimes thrown out randomnly)
No (first uttered today - yikes - she's a little early for the terrible 2s!)


For the record I should state the Jackson's vocabulary is probably much more impressive than just the short list above. He speaks sentences and loves to carry on a conversation, and I can tell it's not just baby babble. The only problem? He talks kind of fast, and I'm not quite certain he has full command of the English language yet - so whatever it is he's telling me gets a little lost in translation. More my fault than his, I'm sure!

As for baby signing... once in a while I can coax a sign or two out of Viva, but Jake just stares at me with a "no way Mom" look when I try to get a sign out of him. Oh well...

As for Bentley, he has so many words now that I couldn't keep track of them even if I tried - no kidding. Last week he wandered around saying elusive all afternoon after hearing his Grandma Vicki use the word - I don't think he understood what it meant but he liked the sound of it. :-) Last night I was working on redeem, proclaim, and perfect with him (the 3 fold mission of our church, in case you're wondering) - and he can say them all beautifully now. What fun!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Potters Marsh

We accompanied Kara and Matt and the little ones on a trip to Potters Marsh yesterday afternoon. Potters Marsh is an accidental wetlands. I know this because I read an info sign in the marsh. It was created accidentally when the Alaska Railroad laid track in that area. The marsh is filled with grass, mud, water, and a few birds.

There is a nice boardwalk that you can walk on out over the marsh. Bentley loved the boardwalk. So did his mom--she says it's a nice, short walk--her hip appreciates shorter walks.

We didn't see a lot of birds, but we did spot a few. The majority of the birds must have been hiding in the grass or staying away from the boardwalk. We had a good time watching a small fish dart around the grassy waters. Bentley had a good eye and even spotted him first one time.

The twins started the walk in BOB.

Jake was napping. Viva wasn't, so after a while I took her out of the stroller. She seemed to like the marsh, but the boardwalk was a little tough to walk on. Her little toes kept trying to grip the boards and would slip down the small spaces between the boards. Baby toes are little!

A little later I took Jake out of his stroller. (As a grandparent, I can pretty much do what I want.) Jake refused to walk on the boardwalk or to pose for photos on the benches. He wanted to be cuddled. (He's been a little grouchy the past few days. His mom says he's teething. I think he might be lactose intolerant. Time will tell.)

Here's an unusual (at least to us!) sight. A baby grebe riding piggy back on his momma.

We also saw three geese couples hanging out together with their families, but Mark didn't get a photo of them. He said he meant to on the way back by them, but he forgot because he was distracted by the grandchildren. It's not easy to capture our attention when our grandchildren are nearby. They are so entertaining: cute, funny, adorable, and huggable, too.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Back Yard Fun

Well, it started out fun...

First they played on the swings. Bentley is really into swinging lately. The twins not as much today.

We let the twins run barefoot through the grass. Okay, run is an exaggeration. Especially given that the photos below are of them sitting. They did spend part of their time in the back yard walking around.

Bentley took out the T-ball set to play with. He's quite good already. We need to start giving him some coaching on his batting form.

Jake, too, thinks T-ball is fun. He already knows what to do with the ball. And with the bat.

Viva had little interest in the T-ball or bat until she clued in that the ball was foam. !!! She's been on a foam-free diet, so she was quite excited. She put it in her mouth. I took it away. Howling commenced.

Viva found the slide quite fun. She likes to climb it. She was having a good time.

Then Jake came over. Here's what he did.

Yup, he climbed right over her. Soon he was King of the Slide.

Kara came into the yard about then and asked us what we were doing to poor Viva because she was crying.

She's usually good-natured, but she'd had enough fun in the back yard with her brothers (who were not gentlemen) and her grandparents (who did not do an adequate job of protecting her).

Jake's reign was short lived.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Be Nice to the Kitty

I tried out my new test cell phone's video capabilities on the kids the other night as Bentley tried to give instructions to the twins on how to treat Nefertiti. Even though Genevieve had some other intentions, Nefer was accommodating of every form of attention. Children and cat escaped unharmed.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Viva, Revisted

I need to add an addendum to the Viva Fashionista post to explain how we came to have such a large collection of Viva the Dress Model shots. You might be thinking that since she's a girl we go for Pretty Girl shots and with the boys we take Action Boy shots. No! No! That's not it at all.

It's the timing of the photos. Viva started walking almost two months ago. She thinks walking is the coolest thing ever, so she spends the majority of her waking hours walking around, wandering from room to room, flitting from table to chair, stopping only briefly to play. The dress shots are all photos of Viva, The Wanderer. It's hard to get a photo of her doing anything else, but opa (the photographer) occasionally does.

Here are some rare nonwalking shots that he snapped over the past month. First, here she is playing with some toys and reading.

Viva (in my opinion) is harder on books than the boys are. She doesn't look at them so much as play with them, bending the pages this way and that way.

Next she's playing with the ride on vehicles. Usually she pushes them rather than rides on them.

Now she's outside having fun in the yard.

Isn't she a real charmer? We sure think so. Except for when I have to drag her away from the kitty food bowl for the third time in five minutes. That girl is very persistent. She doesn't like having her agenda messed with.

And, finally, here she is relaxing with a bottle. She hasn't figured out how to drink while she wanders around. I'm sure she will.

Okay, I thought that was the final shot, but I think this one is so cute that I'm adding it, too.