Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas Finery

Every year these little tikes get harder to capture in a lovely group sitting.  They're still not old enough to respond all that well to bribes or threats, and the use duct tape would probably detract from the overall picture.  And the picture taking experience from the side of the takee, I suppose.  :-)

So, here's a few QUICK shots of the kids in some of their suits and nice dresses.  For the boys the suits are not the norm.  For Viva?  Fine dressing is a lifestyle!

Bentley, sitting still for .005 seconds due to the promise of some M&Ms after his sitting:

Viva, not looking at the camera, gets a little help from me:

She got the hint:

Viva, using my trick, to force Jake into her picture:

Jake, on the run.  Always on the run.

Sheeeeesh!  Next year, note to self (& photographer): capture children in VIDEO mode, then grab out a still. Slightly higher chance of it all coming together perhaps?  :-)  We'll see!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Eve & Christmas Day

Whew.  Christmas time is a busy time of year!

This year we took in the children's nativity service with Great-Grandma, and some extended family, at Great-Grandma's church downtown.

Then we headed home, and had potato soup for dinner.  (2nd year in a row - does that make it a tradition yet?!).  After dinner and some last minute present wrapping we got to the main event (in the kids opinion, at least!) - opening gifts.

Wow.  I thought I'd done a relatively good job at not going overboard, but 3 kids times too many presents = a lot of chaos and wrapping paper.  Jake was the most easily distracted.  And it wasn't even his own present distracting him!  First he wanted to open Viva's princess toy set.  Before any of his gifts were even touched.  Then he opened a puzzle and he wanted to play with it.  And not open any more gifts!  He did, finally, after everyone was done opening get into present mode and plow through his gifts.

Viva, I am happy to report, is an unwrapping champ.  So is Bentley.  He's all primed and ready for his birthday!

The kids put together some lego cars with their Daddy.  We all had apple dumplings.  The kids did NOT want to go to bed, they wanted to play with their new gifts!  Bentley even went so far as to tell me: "Santa doesn't need to come and bring me more toys, I have enough".  Out of context it sounds good, right?!  To be completely honest, though, I think this was mostly said because I told him that if he didn't head to bed Santa couldn't come.  And he was so excited about his new toys that he was willing to say anything to stay up!


We headed off to bed, and...

Santa came!

Santa was feeling generous this year.  The kids are now the owners of some fun new Duplos equipment.  Their Daddy is a lego fanatic so I think it's important to get them headed down that same track so they can properly bond with him... !

We checked out our fun loot from Santa, then headed up to Grandpa Tim and Grandma Karen's...

to open more gifts!  To play games, watch movies, and eat a delicious Christmas dinner with the whole extended family.  It was great fun!

Next year we will have to focus more on the WHAT Christmas is about.  I thought we were doing a good job, we'd read plenty of stories about the topic, had plenty of conversations, even saw the nativity... but... right before we opened presents we asked that all critical question:

"Who's birthday are we celebrating on Christmas Day?"

They looked at me blankly.  Tried "mine!!!".  Finally, after a long pause, Jake did come up with "Baby Jesus"!   Ah well.  I have a few more years to get them straightened out, right?!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Grandma Vicki & The Flying Lizards

This year, we are lucky enough to have Grandma Vicki coming to visit us to share Christmas!  Her plane was supposed to get in this evening, but due to severe blizzards in the midwest she is going to be delayed until Sunday.

Matt spoke to her on the phone, and relayed the information to the kids.

What did Bentley get out of it?

"Why are the lizards keeping Grandma Vicki from coming??".
"Can the lizards fly??"
"The flying lizards could bring her...."

Kids.  I love how they think.  Blizzards, lizards... I suppose they both make about the same amount of sense to a 3 year old!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Gumdrop Tree

For Monday's Christmas advent activity Kara and the toddlers made a gumdrop tree. The toddlers were excited about the activity since it involved free access to candy.

Jake ate more gumdrops than he put on toothpicks. He spit out the orange gumdrops. I told him to just quit putting them in his mouth. (Duh!) After filling his tummy, he abandoned the project.

Bentley worked hard for a while and didn't eat any gumdrops. He quit shortly after Jake left. I was surprised because Bentley usually sticks with craft projects, but this was a pretty long project.

Viva worked with her mom until the project was finished. She ate lots of gumdrops, but she also put lots on toothpicks.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Bentley and the Alien

Bentley's drawings have, over the past year, started to look more like real "things" and less like abstract art. He doesn't normally draw huge pictures but once in a while I can see what the drawing is supposed to be, AFTER I inquire of Bentley to find out what the drawing is of.

We've moved to the next level! I can identify drawing art without any prompting! On Sunday during church I looked over, and this is what I saw:

Looked like some type of monster to me, and sure enough.  Bentley told me it's an alien coming out of the waves. Crazy, yes?! I'm wondering if I should be worried that this is what his mind chooses to draw during the Sacrament meeting.  :-)

Monday, December 21, 2009


This Christmas season we were surprised what a big hit eggnog has been with the twins. Kara and I won't drink the vile concoction, but Matt and great-grandma like it, so we purchased a half gallon. Viva and Jake guzzle the stuff. We had to buy another half gallon.

Bentley, as expected, did not even give it a try. Today Kara asked him, "Bentley, why don't you like eggnog?" Bentley replied "Mommy, I like eggnog! I just don't like the taste of it."

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Send him to the Gorgs!

Matt grew up on the Fraggles, and he has had a fun time introducing them to our kids.  They watch an episode here or there, when he rents a disk on Netflix.

Jake is entering a "sensitive" phase.  Matt brought home the Fraggle Christmas movie and Jake really really did not want to watch it.  He kept going on about the Gorgs (aka the "monsters" in the show), and how he did NOT want to see the Gorgs.  He finally consented to watching it if I let him sit on my lap, and we were supposed to warn him if we thought the Gorgs were coming so he could cover his eyes.  They show up in the intro, so Daddy warned him.  He threw his hands over his eyes and it was a bit of work to convince him to uncover his face again once the intro was over!

Nonetheless, he does enjoy the show once it get started.  He's just really not too sure about those Gorgs.

Matt made Jake angry tonight... I don't remember exactly what it was about.  I think Jake was told not to bite his brother.  Something unreasonable like that.  With tears streaming down his face, Jake shrieked:

"Send Daddy to the GORGS"!!

Yikes.  I hope I don't make him mad.  He gets serious with his threats when he gets angry!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

It's Christmas Time!

We're busy enjoying Christmas festivities with the kids.  We decided to try an advent this year, but I got it up a little late.  It only had 10 days on it when we got started... :-).  We're doing different activities every day.  So far we've decorated ginger bread houses (with friends!), worked on sugar cookies (with friends!), delivered cookie plates, made snowflake ornaments, and watched some Christmas movies.  The kids count the number of days left on the advent every morning.  I think they're getting quite excited about Christmas, although Bentley is worried because there aren't many presents under the tree yet.  He wants me to get busy wrapping!

Something else we're trying - we purchased a number of Christmas stories, and wrapped them all up.  Every day the kids get to pick a new one to open, and by Christmas we'll have them all out!  They enjoy ripping open a new one every day.  A fun tradition in the making.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Concert 2009

Last year Matt & Bentley headed downtown for the annual free Christmas Concert put together by the military up here as a community thank you event.

Back when I was young (oh so long ago!) it was a family tradition to go every year.  I thought it would be fun to do with the kids, but last year (ok, and the year before!) I figured my little ones weren't QUITE old enough to appreciate it!  So Bentley made it through half of the performance last year.

This year all 3 kids went (and Grandma Karen and her Aunt Margaret!).  We made it through the entire show, although Viva ended up in the hall with Matt for the last 5 songs.  So close.  :-)  Bentley was very good.  He seemed to enjoy it.  Jake was good - he paid rapt attention.  I think out of the 3 of them he appreciated the music the most.  Viva?  She liked parts of it.  She also liked talking.  And trying to dance.  She has trouble sitting still.

Nonetheless, we had fun.  And we'll be back next year.  Maybe I'll even be able to talk Matt into a late night breakfast for dinner run after the event next year?  The slightly loud and slightly cranky and slightly tired children in our backseat on the way home weren't helping me close that particular pitch this year.  :-)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Move over, Matt!

So I have a *new* guy in my life, I told Matt he ought to watch out as I think someone is looking to replace him!

Jake is going through a Mommy love stage.  I don't remember Bentley doing this, but he still has time!  Last night we were out at a Christmas music concert, and Jake was sitting on my lap.  He gave me a kiss on the cheek and told me:

Mommy, I like your earrings.
I like your ears too.
I like your teeth.
I like your eyes.  They sparkle!

Tonight we were walking up the stairs and he told me:

Mommy, I like your feet!
I like your toenails.
I like your shirt.
I like to sit on your lap.

I often get compliments on my clothes, my earrings, my hair... his Dad could take some tips from him, he's a smooth little guy, and the compliments keep coming and coming.  He's quite charming, I could get used to this.  And I, of course, reciprocate with the compliments.  I love his hair, his chubby cheeks, his big brown eyes, his adorable voice (when he's in a good mood!!!), ... I could go and on.  I think we are equally obsessed with each other, what a beautiful love fest!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Playdate Time!

Last Thursday Viva went on one of her first solo play dates!  I dropped her off to visit with fellow twins Patrick & Cassidy.  Their mother is very brave, and thought it would be fun to take three 2 year olds out to lunch.  (Brave or crazy?  I don't know but it seems to have worked out!).  They went to Red Robin for lunch, where Viva enjoyed french fries and ranch dip.  Mostly ranch dip according to reports.  They all had a grand time, including their singing and dancing (supervised, of course!) in the parking lot.

What's more?  After lunch they headed over to Party World where they all picked out balloons.  No surprise, Viva picked one with a princess.  As did Cassidy!

It all went great until it was time for Viva to be dropped off back at home.  She cried.  And cried.  Apparently she wanted to go home with her friends, not back to HER house!

Poor kid.  Patrick and Cassidy were over to visit today, and on their way to a lunch when they headed out.  Viva wanted to go with them, and Amrita assured her that they could go to lunch another time.  What did Viva say?  NOT just ANOTHER time, but LOTS of OTHER times.

I think she's hooked!

Monday, December 14, 2009

An Interview with Viva

After my interviews with Jake and Bentley, I had high hopes for my interview with the verbose Viva.  Alas, her answers were often off target (and rather random too).... but, nonetheless, here are Viva's thoughts on Viva.

What's your favorite breakfast food?  Blueberries

What's your favorite dinner food?  Noodles

What's your favorite lunch food?  Spagehtti

What's your favorite book?  Santa

What toys are your favorite?  Baby toys

Who do you like to play with?  David & Cassidy

Where do you like to go in the car?  To the playground

And there you have it.  Viva's thoughts.  For what they're worth.  Want my thoughts?  She's not a huge eater, but she's a huge grazer.  Whatever someone else has, she wants some of that too.  She is willing to try most foods but doesn't have a lot of favorites.  She eats waffles for breakfast.  She loves candy (of course!).  Her favorite books lately have included Llama Llama Red Pajama and, of course, the Princess stories.  She doesn't seem to have a favorite toy.  And where does she like to go in the car?  She's a big fan of shopping with Mom and Grandma!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Wild Child Viva

This morning the threesome decided to play with their swords. Usually Viva gives sword play a pass, but today she opted to join her brothers. They ran through the house swiping at each other. Everything was going well until I heard Bentley shrieking at the top of his lungs and Viva crying. I ran in to the living room expecting to see blood—to find a real disaster in progress.

Viva was crying because Bentley had pushed her, hard. She landed on the floor, but wasn’t seriously hurt. Bentley pushed her and was shrieking because Viva had attacked the nativity set on the coffee table. Four of the figures were laid out on the floor. (The set is wooden—or it wouldn’t be placed within toddler reach!) Bentley was traumatized by the wanton act of desecration his sister had inflicted on the Nativity Set. What was she thinking?!

I asked Viva if she had hit the nativity set with her sword. (The house rule is that swords are only to be used to hit other swords, not people or random objects.) Viva replied that no, she hadn’t hit the nativity set. I asked why the figures were on the floor. “They’re dead.” I can see we need to reinforce the Christmas Story. Viva is obviously bringing in a few elements from Disney's Sleeping Beauty. (Viva’s favorite part of that story is when the princess is warned that if she pricks her finger on a spinning wheel she will die. "And die!" she shouts whenever the story is read.)

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Baby Face

Just a picture that I found when browsing through the photographer's gallery, what a cute baby face (from this summer).

Monday, December 07, 2009


Viva owns six or more dolls. She plays with them now and again, but not regularly. If she has the stroller out, she might put a doll in...or a hoard of Matchbox cars. She sleeps with one or two or three dolls, but doesn't usually cuddle any of them.

Jake owns one doll. Grandma Karen and Grandpa Tim gave Viva and Jake a pair of twin dolls for Christmas two years ago. At first the dolls were ignored, but then they became more popular with the twins. Six or so months ago the twins started taking the dolls to bed with them.

Jake is a more caring parent than Viva. He insists that his doll have a blanket and bottle. Viva isn't that particular. For the past month or two Jake has been a very attentive daddy. He takes his doll to bed and he takes her downstairs in the morning to play time. The past couple of weeks dolly has been taking a nap with him.

The only thing I can fault Jake on is his naming. Dolly?! I've suggested he give his doll a better name, but he has ignored me.

I just had this conversation with Jake about Dolly .

"Dolly has a bruise!"

Jake pointed to Dolly's head. I examined Dolly and discovered some light green paint on the top of her head.

I asked him, "How did Dolly get a bruise?"

No response.

"Did she hit a wall?"

Jake replied, "Yes, she hit a wall." (Although this really makes no sense because our walls are painted brown and Jake doesn't throw Dolly. He's a good daddy.

I used a baby wipe to clean the paint off her head and Jake took Dolly away to put her to bed.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

My Dancing Duo

Grandma, the kids and I watch * So You Think You Can Dance together. We found the show after asking a friend about favorite shows that their family watches. The show is a reality contest which consists mostly of couples dancing, and then contestants are voted off the show. It's taught us about all the different dance styles. There are some amazing dancers out there!

 So now I have a dream. The twins - couples dancing stars? Could it be? Although we've been watching for months, this week was our first break through moment. Viva & Jake spontaneously decided to dance for us! A couples dance!  They also included singing during their routine.  Because I'm sure you won't be able to "guess that tune", I'll take pity on you and just tell you what they're singing - "Once Upon A Dream" (from their favorite princess movie, of course!!).

I'll be the first to admit their routine needs some work and polish.  But they have time!

In their other practice sessions of the day, which unfortunately I don't have pictures of, Viva tried some lift moves with her partner. That showed confidence, on her part, in her brother. Alas... confidence not yet warranted. Jake went down every time she threw herself at him!

* I should note that the term "watch" is used loosely in reference to the twins. They run around like crazy people and stop once in a great while to stare at the T.V.

** We don't normally wear our pajamas all day!  But Bentley was sick - so we declared a pajama day.  That's legit, right?!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Viva has HAIR!

Perhaps the fact that Genevieve has hair doesn't seem like news to you? Well. What I mean to say is that she has enough hair to actually do fun stuff to now, and, on occasions, she can be convinced to sit still for 3 minutes and let me play with her hair. It's exciting to me!

Did you know there are blogs out there full of hair styles for your little girls? You can find most anything on google. Quite amazing. And strangely addictive...

Here are pictures of 3 of the hair dos we've tried. Can you see I have a flower addiction? Viva and I quite liked the bun style - first time we've played with bobby pins, I think we may be hooked now!  Hobbies are good, right?!  I quite like having a princess.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Sick-o(ly) Bentley

We took Bentley into the Dr.'s office today, to find out he has some type of viral bug - poor kid.

This lovely picture (if you're not too distracted by the bright green blanket!) is of Bentley and his puke bowl.  He's had a fever for the past 2 days, so he's been laying around and is busy being extra cuddly.  Lucky for him (and us), he hasn't actually puked - but he doesn't feel too good, so he insists on carrying this big silver bowl with him wherever he goes... get better soon, Bentley!  And don't share it with the twins (please please please!!).

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

An Interview With Jake

So Jake and I had an interesting conversation today!  I made him some banana muffins, figuring that because he's a big fan of bananas the muffins might go over well.  I was right!  He started with 3, and then told me he wanted 7 more.  We bartered it down to 4 more.  He ate 2 of those, and left 2.  He told me he liked them, but he he was full.  So I said:

"Jake, do you want more for breakfast in the morning?"
"No.  I want more next week"
"Really?  In a week?"
"Yeah, it's 1 week away".


Moving on to our interview.   I asked:

Jake, what's your favorite breakfast food?
    Just waffles

What are your favorite foods?
    Cranberry muffins, carrots, apples, purple candy (I think he means Reeses but I'm not sure!)

What's your favorite book?
    The princess story with the dragon.

What do you like to play with?
    Toys (he's thinking - duh, Mommy!!!)

Which toy is your favorite?
    My monster truck!

Who is your favorite person to play with?

Where is your favorite place to go in the car?
    Sometimes on adventures with Daddy!

What do you like to buy at the store?

What's your favorite color?
    Jeans (I kept trying with this one, but he insisted on jeans.  Maybe we were having a miscommunication, or maybe he loves jeans so much that whatever color jeans are, that's his favorite?  I don't know!!!)

And there you have it.  The scoop on Jake at almost 2 1/2!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Snow Day!

We had a perfect snow day yesterday.  Tons of just right consistency snow for Mr. Snow Man, and temperatures just warm enough to make it enjoyable to be outside.  The kids shoveled with Matt, threw some snow balls, and then made a snow man with Grandma!  Snow - we love it!  Now if only I had a robot who could put on snow pants, gloves, hats, shoes for the kids... what a process it is.

Sitting on Mr. Snow Man's base:

Snow ball fight in progress (Jake just can't quit grinning!)

Viva & Mom, and the finished Mr. Snow man (or, if you asked Viva, princess snow man... but I couldn't find her tiara to put on him so she was a little put out with me!)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Our Grateful Lists

I tried sitting each of the kids down separately to ask them what they are particularly grateful for, this Thanksgiving season.  As you will see below I had limited success with some of my participants... :-)  To "kick it off", though, here is my top 4 list.

I am grateful for my beautiful family, our health, a warm home and good food to eat, and the knowledge that we are children of a God that loves us!

As for the kids?

With much prompting, Viva shared that she is grateful for:

My arm
My other arm
My elbow
My shirt
My pants
My shoes
My butt

Hmmmmm. Okay! I moved on to Jake. He wasn't in the room when I was talking to Viva, but oddly enough he started out on the same tone she did:

My arms
My head
My tongue
My mouth
My ears
My Backhoe Socks
My Jeans

I finished up with Bentley. He had no problem rattling off a list of things he's grateful for! I tried to hint for a place on this list, but he didn't take the hint. Maybe next year?!!!

New cars
New monster trucks
Dinosaur stickers
Butterfly stickers
Cookie dough
Hot dogs
Macaroni noodles
Fire tucks
Beach balls
Viva’s princess movie
Train videos
Crazy frogs
Gummy bears

And there's our lists!

Thanksgiving Fun!

The night before Thanksgiving we made some turkey cookies out of oreos and candy.  I had seen the idea on someone's blog, and their turkey cookies looked adorable.  Part way into the cookie making activity Bentley informed that that "the birds look pathetic".  Sadly enough, I had to agree.  The heads kept falling off our birds.  We need better cement like frosting next time.  If there is a next time!  Despite our head rolling turkeys we hung in there until we had a whole rafter of turkeys.  (interesting fact: I was thinking the term was gaggle of turkeys... but apparently it's just a gaggle of geese, and a group of turkeys is known as a rafter - did you know that?!).

Here's the group shot of our turkeys:

We also played some Thanksgiving pin the hat on the turkey, courtesy of Grandma Vicki.

Fun!  On Thanksgiving day we went out to Grandpa Tim and Grandma Karen's place to hang out.  We ate way too much food and had a great time!  Bentley ate some veggies, a roll, and some turkey which he identified as chicken.  Viva ate some veggies, part of her roll, some turkey and potatoes.  Jake was our super eater.  He ate stuffing, asparagus, ham, turkey, sweet potatoes, cranberry salad, mashed potatoes, rolls, gravy... he powered through it all!  And, of course, we all had some dessert.  It wouldn't be Thanksgiving without a few different sweet treats, right?  We had truffles, fudge, pumpkin pie, chocolate pie, red velvet cake, and cranberry upside cake.  Not all at the same time though!

Monday, November 23, 2009

An Interview With Bentley

So I asked Bentley some "standard" questions today, here's what he told me.

What's your favorite color?  Yellow

What's your favorite breakfast?  Poppy seed muffins

Who's your favorite person? I don't know

What's your favorite food?  Noodles and chicken sausages

What's your favorite activity?  Playing games - my alphabet game and Blink!

What's your favorite toy?  Puzzles and leap frog and monster trucks.

Where's your favorite place to go?  The store

What's your favorite book? Bolt & Too Many Pumpkins

What's your favorite type of cookie?  Chocolate chip

Favorite shirt?  Lightening McQueen  (I'd ask him about his favorite pants, but I know jeans are the answer without asking!)

Other random Bentley trivia... Bentley likes to pretend to shoot people (with his hand), and he likes sleepers with feet.  I discovered this AFTER shopping with him for a bunch of new two piece sleepers.  Grrrr!  He does not like to sleep in his bed.  He says he's lonely there, despite having 2 siblings for company.  He believes that by stating things as fact he can make them happen (ie: I am going to.... ).  I'm trying to teach him that's not QUITE how we ask permission!  He's still a master puzzle builder.  As of lately he is in love with processed meats - pepperoni, hot dogs, and chicken sausages.  Go figure.  He likes veggies but it's still hard to find a fruit he's fond of.  He loves to play games, and his drawings have a lot of detail - lately he's been drawing scary monsters.  With some snakes and ghosts thrown in for good measure!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Another cute turn of phrase...

Bentley, for some reason (cute reason, of course!) has been obsessed the last couple days with buying me a gift. What gift, you might ask?  He's been fixating on red licorice.  Yesterday he went out with Grandma and was sad they didn't go to a grocery store that sold licorice.  So then today he went out with Daddy and convinced him to go to the store for red licorice!

He brought it home, presented it, and... needless to say, was thrilled to then share it with me.  Sweet kid!

There's my long intro for the newest mis-speak from the twins.  They love licorice.  For some reason, however, they have taken to calling it liquor.  It's a bit disconcerting to hear the 2 year olds ask for more liquor!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Princess Wear

Viva, the self proclaimed princess.  Who when you ask any type of question in the form of "Viva, are you ____ (cute, funny, whatever).  Replies: "No I'm not!  I'm a princess"!  More often than not she's not just a princess, but, apparently, a PINK princess.

Which leads me to the above picture.  I've been in Kohl's a few times lately, and have been gawking at all the gorgeous Christmas dresses they have.  On this last trip I could resist no longer - they were 50% off, and we had a coupon for an addition 30% off of that.  So I let Viva pick one to bring home.  No surprise she picked the pink!

I've decided to let her wear her fancy dresses whenever she wants.  So this morning she got up and put on her "princess dress".  After all - there are only 52 Sundays in the year, and if you count out 25% off them (or 100% if we're going off of recent stats) for sick days, ... well.  There's just not enough time to dress up.  When she went to bed tonight she told me she's going to wear it again tomorrow.  I told her to give some of her other dresses some play time first!

I'm THRILLED to have a daughter that loves dresses.  I have friends that would feel differently, and hope for the tom boys, but I'm in love with the fact that she's in love with girly clothes.

If you looked in her closet you would see testament to this statement.  I counted.  There's 29 dresses in there right now.

Yikes!  It was a few more than even I was expecting.  There's just not enough time for all the dressing up we want to do!  And perhaps it makes you wonder if she NEEDED this new one?  Well... no, of course not.  But in my defense... only 5 of the 29 were purchased new.  And the most expensive of all of them was a $17.99 Costco sale.   So I'm not completely out of control....

right?  :-)

Next up?  I told her if she potty trains herself I'd buy her a tiara.  She pointed out that she already has one.  I told her the one she has just isn't sparkly enough and we need another that glitters.  We'll see if she takes the bait!

Thankful Thursday

So we've missed a few Thursdays (oops), but maybe I can get the train back on the rail.

This week we are thankful...

for the fun time we've had with Aunt Jean this past week.  We're so glad she came up from Juneau to hang out and help us out.

for health!  I'm not saying we have it right now, because we're a house full of sickies, but being sick sure does make one appreciate health more!

for snow!  Although we have colder weather to go with the snow we're still happy to see the snow.  The kids had a blast playing on their sled and shoveling with their Dad this past week.  I'm glad they love the outdoors so much.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Power Plays

Each member of our toddler trio has their own method for getting the adults in their life to give them what they want.

Jake uses his fabulous smile. You can't help but smile back and agree to whatever he requests because he's so adorable. He's a little dynamo of sunshine, except when he's troubled and then he produces the most pitiful tears--big fat tears that slowly roll down his chubby cheeks. You feel compelled to champion his every cause. (Right or wrong!)

Viva has very different techniques for getting her way. She stomps her feet and demands loudly that we do her bidding. Sometimes she adds tears, but tears of anger are much easier to ignore than pitiful tears of misery. Other times Viva turns on the charm, but she's much more subtle about it than Jake is and in the chaos created by three toddlers, she can be overlooked. But, then again, she is The Princess and she knows it. She is soooo cute with her fashionista wardrobe and perky little pony tails and precocious vocabulary. She holds her own against Jake the Adorable.

Bentley, at almost four, usually uses verbal reasoning to get his way. Most of the time we are so amused by his conversational ploys that we give in to his persuasions, but once in a while he crosses the line and then we have to rein in the little despot. After all, we are in charge, right? !? His mother sometimes accuses Bentley of whining and that technique is seldom effective with her. He has more luck using it with grandma.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Excuses, Excuses! Here Are Ours:

I noticed that Kara has not posted a reason for the blog's very dismal track record the past two weeks. We do have one--a really good one, too.

Our household has been snowed under with medical problems. Great-grandma had a total knee replacement on October 29th. She came home from the hospital on November 2nd and required a fair amount of aid.

Then Jake came down with croup on November 5th in the AM hours. Croup is always worst at night. Later that day his mom took him to the doctor's office to get some medication to help him breathe more easily. He's doing better, but he still has a cough and a runny nose.

On November 6th (again in the AM hours) Matt had to take Kara to the emergency room because she had an ectopic pregnancy. She had to have surgery, but was released home that afternoon. We're glad she didn't have to spend time on a hospital ward, but the anesthesia, blood loss, and pain medication knocked her out for the entire week afterwards. She's still not back to normal ten days later.

Meanwhile Bentley and eventually Viva, too, developed severe head colds. Like most toddlers, they do not like being sick and are therefore cranky a lot more than usual. Not so much fun.

After spending lots and lots of time comforting cranky, sick toddlers, I finally succumbed to the vile cold germ. I, like the toddlers, am not very happy when I'm coughing and coughing and blowing my nose endlessly. I and the kidlets are going through multiple boxes of Kleenex. (Do you think there's a market for used Kleenex collages?....attribute that last idea to too much cold medication.)

Last Thursday my twin sister Jean flew in from Juneau to help us out for a week. We haven't been taking very good care of great-grandma since we all got sick. Thank you Jean!

I promise more entertaining blogs to follow. (Just be glad I won't be delivering them in person with all my nasty cold germs spewing forth with every hacking cough.)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

It's Been a Bit!

Here are some of the odd things my children have said lately, that I want to remember.

I asked Viva to turn around, so I could check out her outfit for the day.  What did she tell me?  "You don't need to. I look perfect".

I love it!

Jake has been very talkative lately.  And, I have to admit, I like most of what he has to say.  "I like your earrings, they're pretty"!  "I love you LOTS Mommy", "Hey!  Listen to Me"! (he puts his face RIGHT in your face when he says that one".  Lastly?  When I yell into their room at night and ask them to quiet down he tells me "I'm working on sleeping!".

In the spirit of Halloween, the twins were providing some macabre humor recently.   Great-Grandma recently had a total knee replacement, and I was cautioning the kids that they need to be careful of her knee, so they don't make it bleed.  What did Viva tell me?  "I won't be nice.  I want to see her bleed"!!!  And just so I wouldn't think Viva is my only blood thirsty little urchin, the following day found Jake chasing her around shrieking "I want to cut you into little pieces"...

I promise.  They have NOT been watching horror flicks in their free time.  Although they have been watching a bit of T.V..... more on that in a minute.  I want to note that although Viva wasn't entirely sympathetic to Great-Grandma's knee, Bentley has been sweet.  Every night while she was in the hospital he would ask if we were going to get her soon "She shouldn't stay in that place all night!!".  And he is visionary.  I heard him telling the twins that with her new knee she's going to be able to run AND jump.  Tall orders, she needs to keep working... !

Back to the T.V.... I tried to convince them to watch Sesame Street a few times during the last couple weeks.  Sometimes they get up and turn the T.V. off after about 30 minutes.  Even if the show isn't over.  They tell me they've had enough, and they head downstairs.

Did I train them TOO well?!

Monday, November 02, 2009

The Jack O Lantern

The kids have really been into pumpkins this year.  Could be all the pumpkin books I checked out from the library, the pumpkin sweets we've been baking, and the pumpkin related crafts?  Who knows.... :-).  the weekend before this Jake and Viva helped Daddy pick out 2 big pumpkins at the store.  Then, last Friday, the kids and Matt got done to the business of creating the perfect scary face.

We only made it through one pumpkin, but even so I was surprised at how attentive the kidlets were to the activity.  Jake liked playing with the slimy pumpkin seeds (with a spoon, of course!).  Viva liked the pumpkin guts (she ate some!).  Bentley enjoyed supervising.  I enjoyed the roasted pumpkin seeds.  Matt?  He was in charge of artistic vision and sharp pumpkin sawer safety!

(now all I need to do is remember to get a picture of the finished product all lit up!)

Sunday, November 01, 2009

My Zoo Animals

Do you see the grass in that picture?!!  Crazy, I say.  I'm used to Halloween being a bit more white around here.  :-)  So Jake was our chicken, Bentley was a bat, and Viva decided on a kitty cat costume.  For a while Viva was stuck on being a rooster, but she changed her mind and went with feline!

We had a fun Halloween!  On Wednesday we went to a toddler Halloween party.  There were friends, costumes, lunch, donuts on strings, and fishing for candy in the "fish pond".  Good stuff!

On Friday we went over to Matt's work to check out Daddy dressed up in his Wizard of Oz Lion costume, and enjoy some food at the work party.

On Saturday we went up to Grandma Karen & Grandpa Tim's to trick or treat, then we headed over to the church building for a Halloween Carnival.  There were games to play, the twins mostly watched but Bentley actually participated in a few.

After the ward carnival the twins and I headed home, and Matt & Bentley went downtown to check out the Anchorage Symphony's Halloween Concert.  Apparently it wasn't a huge hit, but nothing ventured nothing gained... right?  :-)

The verdict?  A little bit of candy, but not too much.  Costumes, selected by the kids that they enjoyed wearing.  It was all good!

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Matt took the boys out to a baptismal service this evening and Kara left to give a coupondiva seminar, so that meant Julia and I had the chance to spend some one on one time with Viva. Viva and Grandma spent some time reading together -- Viva has the 10 little monkeys story down pretty good and with just a little prompting can "read" the story. After the reading session Viva wanted to play with the boy's cars. But, first she had to put on her sunglasses so we would not recognize her playing with the cars! She did a pretty good job with putting those sunglasses on and I almost didn't recognize her :).

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

We Love Puzzles

Bentley, Jake and Viva all love to do puzzles. This is good because they own more than 40 puzzles. They have wooden puzzles, foam/crepe rubber puzzles, and cardboard puzzles. They have musical puzzles, peg puzzles, magnetic puzzles, small travel-size puzzles, and big floor puzzles. My favorites are the Ravensburger frame puzzles. They are low cost, beautiful, easy to store, and challenging to do.

The children spend some time almost every day working on puzzles. Jake and Viva are very proficient with the younger age peg-style puzzles, but they need a lot of help with 12+ piece jigsaw puzzles. They can do smaller jigsaws, but you don't find a lot of jigsaws with less than 12 pieces.

Bentley can do all but the newest (our first 100 piece) jigsaw puzzle on his own. Last week I gave him a new 43 piece Ravensburger frame puzzle that was quite hard to do--I know because I worked it with him the first time. Ravensburger frame puzzles are wonderful with all the pieces having unique shapes. Bentley did his new puzzle without any help whatsoever the third time he took it out. He is very, very good at puzzling.

The twins will be good at doing puzzles on their own once we work with them enough to give them the needed skills. It takes a fair amount of time and patience from adults to help young children learn to master and enjoy jigsaw puzzles. Two year olds aren't very adept at larger jigsaw puzzles and when they get the puzzle all finished--and you allow yourself a sigh of relief--they turn it over and insist on doing it again. Repetition. Repetition. Fun. Fun.

Jake is starting to be able to put together sections of the 12 piece jigsaws on his own, but Viva isn't as interested. She likes doing it with me, but not on her own. This might be because we haven't any princess puzzles. I bought Viva a 9 piece Dora puzzle and she really liked it.

Most jigsaw puzzles are boy-oriented. Probably half of all children's puzzles are vehicle or dinosaur themed; the rest of them are mostly animal themed, not particularly girl-oriented. I have yet to find a flower puzzle in the children's section. Not that Viva would find flowers compelling in the same way that Bentley and Jake find trains and back hoes and dinosaurs and sharks and lions compelling.

I am working on tracking down some princess puzzles. It's not that easy. I'm not willing...yet...to import Cinderella from Europe. (Perhaps I should go there and buy it?! This might be the perfect excuse I've been looking for to get back to traveling.)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Crazy Cookie Eaters

First, picture an empty space to represent the 3rd cookie.  Now - can you guess which cookie should be assigned to each child?  :-)  It says something about them!

Bentley said: I'll eat the outside of my cookie, but I don't want that messy candy corn hershey in the middle.  Uck oh, no way!
Viva said: I'm going straight for the gooey goodness, but forget the rest of the cookie now that I've butchered the poor thing!
Jake said: This cookie is good.   Yummm!  I'm going to eat it all.

Crazy kids.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

*Old Style* Film Clip of my ball players

The boys, playing ball together. They're crazy kids!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Okay... so maybe they aren't both looking.  BUT - they are standing still.  That's something!  Do you like the clothing discrimination?  One dressed way up and one dressed down?  Viva doesn't mind leaving her dress on after church.  The boys?  As soon as we walk in the door they go racing upstairs to rip off their church clothes and regain the comfort of jeans and a t-shirt.  Sheesh!