Tuesday, March 31, 2009


I've written about how Bentley, then Jake, and finally Viva made Mr. Potato Head their favorite toy. It seemed like an innocuous enough toy, but I had not yet closely examined all their Mr. Potato Head sets. Kara had picked up second-hand a Star Wars set which I knew was a little odd, but not truly bizarre. I had purchased a Star Wars Mr. Potato Head myself a few years ago for a Chinese Auction. I also knew Kara had found a Mr. Potato Head farm set. I had not looked at it closely. Until today. It is BIZARRE.

How are children supposed to learn how the real world operates when we have cow faces and pig behinds on potatoes and carrots? That just isn't right.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Binky Babies


The twins, long long ago. Gosh. It almost makes me wistful. Almost, but not quite. Too cute, but more than a little work!

And it's not just me. Bentley thought they were a lot of work too!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Introducing... Biba!

Children have a desire to prove their parents wrong. It must be some type of physic instinct, telling them what they need to do, and when the need is urgent.

This morning Genevieve looked in the mirror and said "Biba"! After I just finished blogging about how she doesn't identify with herself? I guess all she needed was a little push. Next up? Hopefully a V sound. I'm not so sure about biba.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Mistaken Identity

Genevieve, my master mimic, can say just about anything you ask her to. Anything, that is, except her name. No Genevieve. No Viva. Nothing. She doesn't even try!

Jake & Bentley she has no problem with. Mommy, Daddy, Grandma, Opa, ... she has all those names down pat.

What's even odder? Whenever she sees herself in the mirror (often, as we struggle to do SOMETHING with her hair!) she points and says Jake. If you show her pictures that she's in she will often point and say Jake too.

Really? Is she not noticing all the pink, all the purple? All the cute skirts and dresses and hair bows? Does she really think she's just another Jake? :-) Must be some odd type of twin identity management issue...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Idaho Relatives

The problem with the small point and click digital cameras is that they always click a few seconds after you want them too. And sometimes they take a little while to "recharge" if you want to use the flash. Which you normally do, so the pictures aren't grainy.

Those excuses aside, here are a few shots of the many relatives we saw in Idaho. I know I've missed lots of them. (Family members: if you have some good shots, send them on please!). We had a great time though, and the kids enjoyed meeting lots and lots of awesome family.

I'm missing pictures of Nicole, and Carol & Dan - sorry guys!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Idaho Fun

We had a great time in Idaho, mostly due to all the fun times family provided while we were there. People picture posts up next!

The kids enjoyed being at the airplane, they always like a good airplane to watch:

Can you guess which of our kids was least sure about the idea of sitting still in a plane chair for hours? (It would be the same one who has only once or twice made it through an entire Sacrament meeting in her almost 2 years of life!):

They all enjoyed this cute little chair. Sometimes they fought over it!

Cousins Dallon & Todd were with us at Great-Grandma and Great-Grandpa's for the first couple of days. They had some fun outdoor toys, and we were captivated by the lack of snow on the ground!

When the kids weren't outside they were quite busy with the racetrack. It provided MANY hours of fun.

We went to the park a couple times. First time we forgot it had rained, and didn't think to stop Bentley before he went down the big slide and landed in a puddle. Oops.

Viva wanted to stay and hang out more (Jake was indifferent!), but Bentley said NO! His pants were soaking wet!

The trip to the park was saved by the chance to stop and watch a construction vehicle at work. Good fun.

To end on, a picture I love. Viva, after having already eaten a large breakfast, spotted the butter dish. She tried some, and then wanted to go back for more. Yum!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Penny Smashing

Kara's cousin Jess came to visit with her husband Ben and their young son Talmadge. (They really came to visit my mother, but since we all live together, we got the pleasure of their company, too!) Jess and Ben introduced us to the fine art of penny smashing. They like to collect smashed pennies when on vacation. They asked us where the local penny smashing machines were and after some deep thought I told them I thought maybe the zoo had one. Kara's cousin Anna googled penny smashing and located another three or four machines in the area and so this morning we took off for a quick trip around town to collect some smashed pennies before they caught their afternoon flight home.

First we went to Alaska Wildberry Products. This store is famous for its Chocolate Waterfall which is touted as the largest chocolate waterfall in the world. Wouldn't you know it, the waterfall was not working. Fortunately the penny machine was, so we smashed two pennies and visited the fudge counter.

While standing in front of the counter Tal dropped his penny and it fell between the cracks in the wooden floor. Good-bye penny! We had to smash another penny. This time Ben used a wheatback and it turned out pretty cool.

Next we went to the Alaska Railroad Depot. We quickly found the penny machine and smashed another two or three.

We drove a few blocks to the Alaska Mint and part of the group raced in to smash pennies while Matt and I circled the block in the vehicles. Our final stop was the Anchorage Museum. They no longer have a penny smashing machine. Bummer. They did have some fine artwork outside so we had a final photo op.

Jess and Ben had also collected three or four smashed pennies at the Alaska Zoo where they spent Friday morning with Kara and the kidlets and cousin Anna and her two little ones and Kara's friend Amrita and her twins. They said they had a grand time there, but it was VERY cold. Jess and Ben were not properly attired for the low temperatures here.

Bentley is the possessor of our new collection of smashed pennies. I doubt that I can pry them out of his clutched little fists. He is a big fan of penny smashing. The twins haven't yet caught the vision.

I think I already own one or two smashed pennies, but I'm not sure where they are...I took a break and I found them! I have one from Niagara Falls, Canada; one from the Empire State Building; and one from Skagway, Alaska. Jess was with me when I smashed the last one.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Trip Preview

Kara and Matt and the awesome trio return from Idaho this evening. They are probably on the plane as you are reading this. (Well, that assumes you are reading this on the day I posted it and not a few days later!)

I thought I'd give you a little preview of how the trip went. Kara has been sending me emails from Idaho. (Roaming charges make using her cell phone prohibitive.) Here is some of what she wrote me.

Day 2: Viva is being very nice (as we predicted).
Day 3: Viva had bacon and biscuits and gravy and eggs and hash browns and grapes and part of a muffin for breakfast.
Day 4: The relatives are very impressed with her ability to eat, eat, and eat more!
Day 4: We went to one hour of church. Viva had trouble handling even that. Mostly because she had no toys with her, I'm sure! She found another little troublemaker in the hall though and they sat next to each other and played with the troublemaker's mother's jewelry. She wore the pink dress today and it was a hit with all the relatives.
Day 6: This morning Viva wasn't being closely supervised and she grabbed a big hunk of butter off the butter dish with her fork. And she ate it! Yum yum. She must have liked it because she tried to go back for another hunk. Sheesh. I swear you're going to think she's a couple pounds heavier.

Day 2: Jake is NOT being charming yet. He doesn't get more than about 12 inches from Matt or I without shrieking and he didn't take much of a nap today. That, combined with his lack of sleep last night, is not necessarily making him show his best side!
Day 3: Jake has warmed up some. First with the guys, but now he's being nice to everyone (mostly).
Day 4: Jake kept me up all night, he was really raspy and sounded like he could hardly breathe. Today he has a runny nose.
Day 5: Last night Jake spit up his milk all over my clothes and my skin and my shoes (uuuuuuck) because he didn't feel good. YUCK. Then he stayed up ALL NIGHT LONG screaming at the top of his lungs. Nothing made him happy. He looks quite tired today, but I find it hard to feel sorry for him since he made sure that NONE of us were able to sleep last night!

Day 2: Bentley is [nice] on and off. I'm trying to convince him to be a LITTLE more polite about his picky eating habits. To politely decline food.
Day 3: Bentley had part of a muffin for breakfast. (See Viva Day 3.)
Day 5: Bentley has been very cute. He does a good job of saying sorry and thank you and (once in a great while) he throws in a please to wow me. The thank you(s) are nice but I am not sure about the sorry or where he got it from. If he's behind me and I trip he says sorry.
Day 5: Bentley picked up a few phrases from his cousin Dallin. "That's the deal, Mom." he'll say to me, as if we've already negotiated something, when we haven't!

The Trio
Day 4: Viva kept climbing OUT of her playpen and into Jake's playpen. Which made Jake really livid. And Bentley kept shrieking at them both to lay down and sleep RIGHT NOW!

Kara reported that the relatives spoiled the children. Good job Idahoans!

PS Hopefully Kara took some great photos that we can add to this post when she returns.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Ants in the Pants

Have you ever played Ants in the Pants? It's one of those classic childhood games like Cooties and Mr Potato Head.

It's a very hard game. The ants are little plastic critters that jump when you push on their tail end. The goal is to get the ants to jump into the pants. The problem is that you cannot control how far or how high the ant will jump. The quality of the game pieces is such that they are very unpredictable. Your odds of getting the ant to land in the pants are about 1 in 25. After hours of play your odds are still 1 in 25.

Bentley really likes Ants in the Pants. He will try again and again and again to get the ants to land in the pants. He is not discouraged when his success rate is zero. I am. I want to give up flicking them and instead simply fling them at the pants. Bentley doesn't approve when I do that.

Bentley likes to line the ants up like this:

Yes, I know exactly what you are thinking. No, the boy is not autistic. He just has an affinity for order. He's going to make a fine mathematician.

***** ***** *****

I just checked to see if you can still purchase Ants in the Pants. Our game is twenty years old--from when Kara was little. Hasbro still sells the game, but they have made it easier. The ants look exactly the same (so they will be just as hard to flip, I'm sure), but the pants now have a back board on them. Our pants are like a bucket (only pant shaped) and often the ants just fly right over the pants. The newer version of the game has a dog wearing the pants. The dog acts as a backboard (like a basketball backboard) and helps the ants to land in the pants. This should improve your odds significantly of getting an ant into the pants.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Our Bedroom--Yet Another Play Room?

Our bedroom is at the top of the staircase at the beginning of a long hall way that leads to the other upstairs bedrooms which include the children's bedroom, their parents' bedroom and their family's private family room. Every morning, every evening, and every nap-time they march by our bedroom to get down stairs or to return upstairs. They usually open our door and run into the bedroom to check out what's happening. It matters not if we are in the bedroom.

The cat lives in our bedroom suite, so they visit with her.

Then they might climb on the bed and take a few rolls or even jumps. I know many (maybe even most?) grandparents discourage bed jumping, but it will come as no surprise to regular blog readers that we are indulgent in this area.

After climbing on the bed it's time to check out the books. We have two shelves of children's books in our bedroom because I believe you cannot have too many books in a home. The children have a large selection of books downstairs in the dining room and even more upstairs in their family room and a small collection in their bedroom and a collection in our bedroom.

Besides children's books we have the train set in our room. Bentley likes to come in and set up the track. Jake likes to run trains on the track, but he is starting to build track layouts, too. Viva has little interest in the track or trains. She occasionally tears the track up. The boys will play for a half hour or even longer building and running trains on the track.

The other big draw to our master bedroom is the Jacuzzi tub. The children like to take their bath in it. Jake hates it when we turn the jets on, so we have to wait until he's all done bathing before we turn them on.

The children also like to sleep in our bedroom. Bentley has a special pillow which he insists we keep on the bed at all times right in the middle between opa's pillows and my pillows. Jake has visited us at night a number of times since we moved in. Viva is a very infrequent visitor. She usually sleeps all night in her own bed; when she's restless she visits her mom and dad's bed.

So there you have it, we inhabit the master bedroom suite, but it is not our private domain. Children do not recognize the concept of privacy.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

So Adorable; So Much Work

When you view a photo like the one above, you have to admit the twins have the adorable factor in spades. Which is good because they need to be super adorable to keep us blinded to the amount of extra work it takes to care for twin toddlers.

Some people think twins are twice the work of a single baby. Au contraire--they are four times the work, at least some of the time.

There's the escape factor. Let's say it's nap time and you are trying to convince two toddlers to climb the stairs. On good days they scamper up and life is easy. On difficult days they double team you. One distracts you while the other escapes back down the stairs. When you go after the miscreant, the other toddler changes direction, too. Unless you have enough energy to carry both toddlers at once, you are forced to carry one while dragging the other one up the stairs. It's not an easy feat.

Then there's the fact that every toddler has one or two annoying habits that you can't get them to abandon. Jake loves to turn off and on the lights. He drags chairs over to access the light switches. Because he spends so much time at this hobby, Viva has acquired a liking for it, too. In fact, she's now worse than he is. She loves to turn on the living room fan, too. Grrr!

Viva has her own annoying habit. She loves shoes. She sneaks into the mudroom whenever she can and grabs shoes and hats. Jake follows her example. He really likes his mother's shoes. (Kara has the nicest shoes in the house so he has good taste.)

Instead of one toddler with one annoying habit we have two toddlers both doing two annoying habits which equals four times the trouble. Twins can be exhausting. Like I said, it's a good thing they are so adorable. It keeps us in thralldom to them.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Just Because

Here are two photos of Viva just because she is so cute.

The boys are cute, too, but Viva is EXTRA cute; she's a girl. She deserves more blog space than she's been getting lately. Just because she's clever enough to keep away from the boys when they are acting odd, she's lost out on blog coverage.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Jake's Favorite Things

Jake's favorite things are Bentley's things. As I mentioned earlier this week, he snitches Bentley's underwear and pull-ups. He adores the little Matchbox cars, most of which are technically Bentley's. As long as Jake doesn't take B's current favorite(s), they share well.

Jake still likes silky blankets, but lately he hasn't felt the need to carry them downstairs. In fact, he hasn't even felt the need to sleep with them. He throws them out of the crib most nap-times and bed-times in a fit of temper over being put to bed. It's an odd little ritual that gives him a quick spurt of satisfaction, but in the long run his actions have to hurt since when he finally gives up and lays down, the blankets are out of reach.

Jake loves the Pixar-Disney book that was Bentley's favorite book when he was Jake's age. It features stories from the Cars movie and the Nemo movie as well as other movies. It's a very heavy book, but Jake hauls it around and spends long stretches of time turning the pages. I loathe this book since it has way too many words per page. I refuse to read it to Jake or Bentley. It's a daddy book. Matt bought it and he enjoys reading it to the children. Jake also favors car and truck books. Oh joy, more hours of identifying excavators, back hoes, and tractors.

Jake is fascinated with Bentley's puzzles. This is unfortunate since they are off limits to him. He throws a fit when I redirect his attention to the puzzles for 2 year olds. He's not old enough to do 45 piece puzzles no matter how loud he screams. One day I let him hold the box for the puzzle and that made him happy for quite a while.

Yup, Jake's favorite things are Bentley's things. Jake adores Bentley and Bentley's stuff.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Iditarod Start

Last Saturday Matt & I took the kids to see the dogs take off for the great Iditarod race.  Bentley remembers going last year, with Grandma and I - so it was fun to be able to go to the same place again.  If we hit 3 years in a row can we call it a tradition?  I hear little kids love those.  :-)

Saturday was a busy day!  The boys also all went downtown to check out a model train show that is a part of Fur Rondy.  Bentley went downtown to see the trains last year, too.  So another tradition in the making?  I wonder how long boys stay obsessed with trains?  I'm sure I'll find out...