Friday, January 30, 2009

Three Years of Bentley!

Bentley's 3rd birthday is tomorrow.  He seems on board with that, he was able to correctly note that tomorrow he'll be 3 when we eat birthday cake together.  :-)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My New, Lower Standard

When I lived in a home occupied only by myself and my spouse, I had high standards of housekeeping. Take my dish towel drawer. It was very organized. There was a neat stack of dish cloths, a stack of washcloths for washing toddler faces, a stack of terry cloth dish towels, and a stack of thin cotton dish towels. At the back of the drawer was stored aprons. My drawer was tidy. My drawer was lovely.

Now I live with three toddlers. I don't separate the dish cloths from the dish towels from the toddler face cloths. I don't fold the dish cloths or the dish towels. All kitchen linens are taken straight from the dryer and tossed into two lower drawers in the kitchen.

Not only do I make no attempt to bring order to the drawer, my standards of cleanliness have also been greatly compromised. I make sure the dirty linens are removed from the kitchen counters and sink every evening and washed weekly and returned clean to the drawer. Unfortunately they don't remain clean in the drawer.

The twins sometimes run to the drawer and grab a wash cloth to clean their faces after they eat. That's a good, helpful habit. I encourage that. What I don't like is when they put the used wash cloth back in the drawer. YUCK!

That's not the only dirty linen returned to the drawer. They also like to use clean towels to mop the kitchen floor and then they return the towels to the drawer. Whenever I catch them in the act, I nab the towel and ask them not to put dirty towels back in the drawer, but I don't think they understand my objections. *sigh*

The fact of the matter is that my standards of both tidiness and cleanliness have been lowered significantly since I started living with Jake and Viva.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Something We All Agree On!

Grandma Vicki recently sent a birthday package for Bentley and some yummy snowman sugar cookies (with blue sprinkles!) were included for all of us.  The kids plowed through them quickly (I did make them show some restraint, of course!) - they were very very popular.  They shared a few with us, but they were quite protective of the rest of them.  There's something about Grandma Vicki's sugar cookies - they stay the perfect combination of chewy/moist/fresh, have just the right taste, and you can't stop with one.

Thanks, Grandma!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Viva Then & Now

A few days ago Kara posted Jake Then & Now photos. I knew you all would want to see a matching set of Viva Then & Now photos.

Viva, like her twin, has big gorgeous eyes. She concedes that Jake has much chubbier cheeks. Viva's signature photo quality is her attitude. It shines through in most photos taken of her. Don't mess with Viva!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Napping Is for Singletons

Nap Time has become Crib Play Time. This is not an approved change in schedule. It's still being debated between parent and children. Unfortunately there's three of them and only one parent (home at nap time), so I'm not putting my money on the authority figure.

What do they do instead of napping? They sing; they dance; they jump; they do acrobatic feats to get from one crib to another. Seriously. On Tuesday I went in to check on the kidlets two hours into their nap and what did I discover?! Three slumbering toddlers?! No. Two slumbering toddlers and one dissident? No. One (good) slumbering toddler and two pranksters? No. All three were bouncing around and chatting it up in the best of spirits.

Sure that worked fine at nap time, but you wouldn't have wanted to be here an hour before bedtime...or two hours after bedtime. They were cranky, cranky, cranky. Naps are important and toddlers should not be allowed to cut them out just because they'd rather hop from one crib to the next to discuss the weather. The twins just don't have enough words in their vocabulary to have been discussing serious topics like the presidential inauguration...unless they were doing that twin language thing?! I wonder what their take is on all the hoopla surrounding President Obama's taking of office?

They probably couldn't care less. More likely they were discussing their morning play date with the McSharry twins. I myself was a member of a twin foursome for a few years. It's quite nice to find others you can discuss twin issues with. Maybe the McSharry twins suggested to Jake and Viva that they cut out nap time and play instead?

Okay to be perfectly honest, it was probably Bentley who was behind the scheme. He's older and less interested in napping. I've noticed lately that he and Viva will have long discussions before they nap while Jake usually drifts off early in the confab. One day when I interrupted play time (aka nap time), I found Bentley out of his crib and both twins standing up in theirs. I asked why Jake was awake (he had been sleeping earlier when I checked on them) and Bentley informed me that he had woken Jake up. Gee, thanks Bentley.

At least Jake had napped for a while and after my visit to them, Viva and Bentley and Jake all went to sleep for a while. Tuesday I think no resting was done at all by any one of the three--the noise level in their bedroom wasn't consistent with napping. When I checked on them two hours into their nap, Jake and Viva were in the same crib.

NOT GOOD! I called Kara into the room to witness this new development. I put Jake back in his crib and he promptly demonstrated to us how he got into Viva's crib. The end of Viva's crib is right next to the side of Jake's crib. Viva's crib end is much higher than the side of Jake's crib, so he grabbed onto the taller crib end and used it to pull himself up to a standing position on the rail of his crib. From there it is an easy flip (yes a flip!) into Viva's crib. Fortunately Viva was at the other end of the crib or she would have been crying after being body slammed by her twin.

So what's the game plan mom? How are you going to bring order to this new reign of chaos?

Update: Mom's game plan was to close her eyes and wish the problem away. I tried a more pro-active approach. I put more distance between Jake and Viva's cribs. Jake was ticked off, but it kept him from using her crib for leverage. Bentley wanted me to put Viva's crib closer to his so he could pull a Jake, but I did not oblige him. I pushed his crib towards the closet to make room for pushing Viva's crib away from Jake's crib.

Bentley can get out of his crib without help, so there's no way of stopping him other than threats. I resorted to such this afternoon after he informed me he'd just wait until I closed the door to climb out of his crib and join Viva in hers. I told him he better not. He then asked about climbing into Jake's crib. There's nothing like a two year old looking for loopholes--he makes me laugh when I should be stern and serious.

This is a before bed, not a nap time, photo of the trio, but you can see how they might be trouble. Major trouble.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Bentley the Builder

Bentley loves to play Jenga. He requests the game by name. His father taught him how to play. I'm not sure what rule book Matt read because I've never seen a Jenga tower quite like Bentley's before. I certainly wouldn't want to try and remove blocks from it.

He built these beautiful twins towers all on his own. He agreed to pose for a photograph with his creation. That's his new photo smile. do you tell an almost three year old to dial back on the wattage a little?

Twin Trouble Again

What do the twins do when mom leaves them unattended for a couple of minutes?

Notice they each have a phone in their hands. Viva grabbed mom's cell phone and handed it off to Jake and then she grabbed great-grandma's phone for herself. She then decided to put her prize in its cradle. (Good girl!) Jake started dialing out on his prize. (Bad decision, Jake!)

After I took the phone away, Jake located his mom's car keys and pushed auto start. Viva played on mom's computer keyboard. These are all forbidden activities and only indulged in when mom's inattentive. Thanks for the play break mom! (And grandma!)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Jake Then & Now

Jake about a year ago:

Jake a couple days ago:

Darn cute with those signature chubby cheeks and big eyes!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Don't Mess with Us!

The twins have just recently joined the nursery at church, upon reaching their 18 month birthdays.  That's a post in and of itself.  Viva is pretty good natured about it all, and doesn't mind being left there, but Jake displays his sensitive soul and waits by the door crying for our return.

So today I spent the 1st hour in nursery with them (and then gave up and let Grandma take Jake to class with us).  There was another little girl who really liked the look of Genevieve's hair clips; and kept going after them, trying to pull them out of her hair.  Viva kept saying "no, mine" and, if I do say myself, showing great restraint and only gently shoving this other little tike away.

After about the 5th hair encounter, however, her shrieks got louder as her hair was pulled on again and again.  Jake went running over and together they cornered this poor singleton and taught her a lesson: don't mess with twins.  I have to admit my 1st thought involved how cute it was that they were helping each other out.  My 2nd thought was to rescue this little girl (I promise, they didn't bite or scratch - a few gentle smacks, that was it!).  I quickly broke up the team smack down, reminding them we don't hit.  But it was self defense, totally.  

What fun.  They defend each other.  I love it!  This must be what having siblings is all about?

Saturday Adventures

Yesterday morning I proposed that Matt take Jake out for a day of one on one fun. Matt & were both thinking it had been a little while since Jake had some special time, and apparently Jake thought so too. When his Dad told him it was time to leave he ran like lightening off to the mudroom to grab his coat and boots, and then stood by the door with the hugest grin. He was ECSTATIC to be going out with his Dad. So so thrilled - we'll have to send him out more often, seriously the kid was on cloud nine. You might suspect he's a twin or something, and feels like he's always part of a group!

Matt & Jake headed over to the zoo to check out the birthday bash for the Polar Bears at the zoo. Then they went out for a shake and fries, and even checked out the electronics store. From all reports Jake was charming the whole time basking in his day.

My Mother & I took Genevieve and Bentley out to the toy store (where we left without buying anything - such self control!), and then we went over to the Anchorage Folk Festival to listen to music. Genevieve wasn't really keen on sitting in the theater and watching the stage, but down in the lobby area there was a group of guys doing a jam session and she was happy to watch them for a good 20 minutes. Could have been the gold fish and cinnamon roll that kept her there, but I like to think she also liked the music. :-)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Opa's Birthday

This is Opa:

Today was his birthday! We were thrilled to celebrate with him - and eat his yummy cake, of course. The cake was a Red Velvet - a yearly tradition. If your vision is sharp perhaps you can guess how young he is? :-)

The kids gave the gift of some hide and seek, rough housing play, and cuddle time. Aren't they sweet?

They also made a lovely rather large abstract scribble art birthday card. It is quite awesome, but we didn't get a picture of it yet.

We're looking forward to another fun filled year, Opa! We're glad to be here to help keep you young

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Bentley Speaks Too!

Bentley is pretty darn articulate nowadays, and he says some awfully funny things too. 

Conversation with Rachel:

"Rachel, I want to take you upstairs".

Rachel says "Can we take my Dad too"? (We wanted Bentley to give all the relatives a tour of the upstairs floor of the house)

"No, just you - I want you alone"!

Today when it started snowing, he points to the sky and says:

"I don't want that stuff to come down out of the sky. Make it stop"!! I love that he thinks I can control the weather. 

Costco trip:

Heading into the parking lot I said “We better go slow or the eggs are going to fly”!

Bentley, as we arrive safely at the vehicle “Mommy, where are the flying eggs”?!

We get home.  Me, wanting Bentley to take a nap, and Bentley insisting on eating one of his newly purchased Costco waffles first: “FINE!  Have a stinkin’ waffle”! (Yes, I know – I was really mature)

Bentley: “Mommy, I not want a stinkin’ waffle.  I want a clean waffle” (this said in near hysterical terms).

Helping Grandma:  

Bentley, wanting Grandma to get him a new diaper but unsure she knows her way around the new house as well as he does:  "Grandma, go out the door, turn right (then he points because he knows Grandma is directionally impaired),  go down to the bathroom and the diapers are in the drawer".


So I have a new plan, to make this kid even more adorable.  A vocabularly word a day program!  Little kids are such sponges; it's amazing how much they can learn.  Why not take advantage of it, right?  We started today, with the word lovely.  I explained the word and then suggested to him that an appropriate use would be, for example, "Mommy, you look lovely"!  And he said to me?  "No Mommy - that TREE outside looks lovely"!  Hmpppph.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Viva Speaks!

The past few days have brought some fun new words for Viva.  Please, water, cracker, doll, and cold.

It's no wonder she's learned cold, we've had the coldest week Alaska has seen in the past decade this month. Weather that reached -20 degrees. That's just not right, we're in Anchorage - not Fairbanks! But I digress.

Some other words that aren't so new but still favorites include mine, no, bye, baby, and night. She favors Mama, and uses it to identify both Matt & I. This irritates Matt as she is very capable of saying Dad, but she seems to get a kick out of calling him Mom. :-)

The most important new words of the day? Jake, & Bentley! Genevieve does a great job with Jake - a nice distinct J sound and a K sound. Jake has not returned the favor to Viva and identified her by name but perhaps he will some day soon!

When Bentley was little I thought there was something "wrong" with him. The parenting articles would go on about the stage where little kids are great mimics, and will copy whatever you say. Bentley never did that, but his cousin Felicity was awesome at it. I tried and tried, but he just wasn't into parroting. Jake won't do it either now, so I suspect it's a stubborn male thing. Luckily for me I also have a little girl so I have one mimic at least!

Why do I only share Viva's new words? Jake isn't so much into talking. He sticks to his favorite of "hold me" most of the time, although yesterday I did hear him mutter a "NO". :-)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Young Love

I think Bentley may have found his first love. She's a little older than him, but lots of guys like older women - right? Cousin Rachel is visiting from Utah right now and Bentley has a bit of an obsession with her. He remembers her from a short visit a couple months ago, and it has taken Rachel no time at all to become his very favorite person - I think it helps that she's staying at our home!

When she goes out with friends he mopes and cries, and demands to know when she'll be back. The other night he didn't want to go to bed (mind you it was already 1 in the morning) until Rachel came home. He told me he was going to wait on the stairs for her. I told him he might fall asleep and fall down the stairs. His solution? He would wait right at the top of the stairs in the hall where he could still see the entry way. Luckily we convinced him to sit on the end of his grandparents bed and listen quietly for her. Poor kid fell asleep before she came back though!

When we all leave the house he checks that Rachel will be coming back with us. He follows her around. What Rachel eats he's sometimes willing to try. He'll tell her "lets go sit on the chair together". Rachel lays down on the couch? Bentley jumps up beside her and snuggles up. Rachel walks to another room? She has a tail! Time for Bentley to go to bed? He tells Rachel "you go to bed now too".

He has a sleeping bag set up next to her bed downstairs although so far he's willing to give her a little space at night. He's mature enough to understand, already, that a little distance can help a relationship grow.

It's probably just as well Rachel is heading back to Utah in a couple days as pursuing relationships with cousins, even if they are 1st cousins once removed, is just not normally a good thing. I read online that 1 in 1000 marriages in the U.S. are cousins to cousins, and both Albert Einstein and Charles Darwin married their 1st cousins. So there's your trivia for the day!

Rachel, we'll miss you. Bentley will probably demand some phone calls and video conferencing to continue his relationship long distance. :-) Maybe I can convince him to learn to write so he can send letters - harness his passion for a good use? We'll see!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

A is for Adorable...

A is for Adorable
B is for Bentley, and 
C is for Croup

Although the kids really don't get out all that much, they manage to pick up a few bugs now and then.  Earlier this week Bentley started in with the raspy breathing and quickly followed it up with a nice scratchy sounding voice (I know he's sick, but the voice is too cute!).  Unfortunately, the cough is not cute.  Not at all.  Bentley and Jackson are taking steriods right now to help them breathe easier at night until they get over this croup.

Poor kids, and poor adults.  Nobody sleeps when the babies are coughing and awake all night!

Friday, January 09, 2009

G'Grandma's Exercise Partner

Jackson has taken Great Grandma under his wing and made it his mission to help her get some extra walking in daily. He's quite dedicated; you can catch him pulling her out of her chair and dragging her on a circuit around the family room and kitchen at least 2 or 3 times a day. What a trooper!!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Twinks at 18 months

Viva and Jake had their 18 month check up today.

Genevieve: 23 lbs 6 oz (45%), 31 7/8 inches (60%), 48 cm head (85% - yikes!!)
Jackson: 23 lbs 10 oz (20%), 32 inches (45%), 48.1 cm head (60%!!)

As you can see, if you do the math, the twins have managed to maintain their very similar weights and heights. Kind of freaky, if you ask me!

Both of the kiddos have somewhat large soft spots on their heads still. I guess that means their brains still have some growing to do? We'll see.

They do a little "test", to see how well the kids are walking. They take them across the room and tell them to run to Mommy. Jackson? Not happy to be dragged across the room. He came racing back, shrieking. He was praised for his speed - the Dr. was impressed with how well he runs, not just walks! Genevieve? When they set her down and told her to run she first shoved the Dr. away from her, and then said "NO!". The Doctor said she must be working on being 2 already. The classic dilemma for the 2 year old, he says, is whether to do what they want (run to Mom) or to defy authority (not run to Mom). Genevieve stuck with defiance. She'll be an awesome 2 yr old!

We ended the visit with 6 needle pokes, and then a trek back to the vehicle out in our -19 degrees weather. All without Matt, who is currently in balmy Barrow. Lucky man!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

An Interview with Bentley

I read online that every January you "should" conduct a interview with your child. Mine are a little young, but I figured I'd start Bentley out with a few basic questions:

#1: What is your favorite food?

"Rice, broccoli, and noodles and waffles."

Hmmm... apparently I need to reiterate that favorite means one. He's going crazy here!

#2: What is your favorite color?

"Orange. No, not orange. Purple!"

#3: What is your favorite type of animal?

"Orange animals."

I tried to coax something more specific out of him, but he was pretty firm on his answer. :-)

#4: What is your favorite toy?

"My tractor!"

I have a feeling this is simply because five minutes ago he was playing with the tractor and he's still holding it? Nearness has a strong influence on fondness!

#5: What is your favorite book?

"A coloring book."

Hmmm - oddness. I take pride in the fact that my child owns no coloring books. (It's all about teaching them to draw with their imagination and not just draw in the lines, you know! At least, that is, according to one of the few parenting type books I've actually read from front to back!). Oddness!


And there it is. An interview with an almost 3 year old.

And for the record?

#6: What's your name?


#7: How old are you?

"4. No 8. No no. 2!"

Whew. He got it right, it just took him a few seconds to settle on!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Children: Wild Things or Small Humans?

For Christmas I bought my children leashes. They look like cute little plush backpacks. Genevieve's has an adorable sunflower, and Jackson's has a Dalmatian puppy head.

We were at the library for story time, a couple weeks before Christmas, and my small creatures ran wild. This is not unusual, but they're getting bigger and faster. They don't like to be confined to their stroller (and really, why should they be all the time when Bentley isn't? It's just not fair!), but they lack good sense. I hear that's common in young children. :-)

So anyway. We were at the library. I wasn't even alone with the kids, I had the Grandma backup along. Even so they went crazy and I found myself feeling way way out of my league with my three small offspring. So I sent Grandma off on a mission (despite her protests) during nap time the next day to pick up the last two in stock wild thing containment devices.

Christmas has come and gone, the children have been out of the house and acting crazy since, and I still haven't used my leashes. Today in Costco I put them on the kids before they wandered, but never actually pulled the leash section out of its hiding spot. I'm still trying to work through my embarrassment issues. I used to laugh (in horror!) at children on leashes. They're kids, not dogs, right?! And shouldn't they be well mannered and controllable, particularly by their clever Mother? I think it's not too much to ask. But yet... sometimes I'm about ready to pull out my hair when we take them out in public. It always starts out well enough. We've just arrived and they're content to sit in the cart or the stroller. Then they start to get restless. It's either let them exercise their legs a bit or hear them exercise their lungs a lot. Tough call.

My husband, after a weekend shopping trip to Burlington Coat Factory, proposes that we simply keep them locked up in the house until they're 18. He hadn't been shopping with all 3 kids since when the twins were still in carseats, and I think he found the whole experience a bit much.

I don't think his solution is going to work. So keep us in your thoughts. Maybe the kids will suddenly start acting beautifully, all the time, while in public. Or? I'll summon up my "I don't care what you think" spirit and try out the leashes. Maybe I should just think of it as leashes are one step up from strollers, right? In a stroller the poor kids are completely constrained. With a leash? Some freedom. It's a kindness on my part!

*** Today, seeing the twins wearing their lovely leashes, Bentley was quite envious. He requested that I buy him one too. I wonder if he'll change his mind when he catches whole vision of what the backpacks are for? :-)

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Vacation: Last Few Pics!

Here's a last few "random" pictures!

Friday, January 02, 2009

The Not so Unique Jackson

I was reading an article the other day about the top baby names of 2008. Coming in at number 2 is Jacob, number 5 was Jack, and number 9 Jackson. Even with a nickname of Jake that's a lot of little boys with quite similar names. Bentley? I haven't met another of those yet. Genevieve? We've met 1 at the grocery store, but also pretty unusual. Jackson? I find a few on every street corner. What was I thinking?!

Disclaimer: I don't seriously think that finding other Jacksons all over the place is going to traumatize the kid. My Dad is a Mark and my husband is a Matthew, and they appear to be perfectly well adjusted.