Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thankful Thursday #12

It's been a busy busy week! This week we are...

thankful for great relatives (again!!!). Our visitors from last week were with us through Sunday, and we had a great time with them. We're lucky to have so many family members to visit with!

loving Grandma (Mom!). We had the chance to celebrate her bday on Saturday, the kids were very excited about it - they are very into birthdays now.

enjoying some downtime. The drizzly weather has been a good excuse to move a bit slower. We're sleeping in (Viva is the master of sleeping in) and enjoying all our indoor toys. :-)

VERY excited about forward progress with getting organized. Okay - so - maybe the kids aren't excited. But I'm thrilled at the prospect of getting the garage cleared! Our shed is almost complete (needs to be painted), and my Dad has been working hard to install some shelves in the garage and in the closets to get us organized. Thank you!!

Car Belly

When you can't find a man purse, consider strategic use of your onsie. Jake is, hands free, able to carry around 10+ cars using this method. Awesome! For those times when you can't put even one of your favorite cars down, due to fear that someone might try to take it.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Computer Time

Scoot over, make room! When it's time to watch train videos, look at pictures of themselves, or discover strange new things on YouTube... the kids love Opa's lap. Rather than take turns they prefer to just all pile on at once. Good thing Opa's a good sport!

One of the recent strange You Tube discoveries:

Want the longer version? Of course you do! Just search for the gummy bear songs on You Tube. The kids (and my husband!!) are strangely intrigued by this odd little creature. :-)

Peek a Boo

A cutie playing peek a boo with the door!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A weekend with Daddy!

The Friday before last I left from work in the mid afternoon. Bentley had called to tell me he had everything ready to be packed in the car for our first camp-out, and that we should head out. My plan was to drive out to the Wasilla area and pitch a tent by Finger Lake. A fun campground within an hour's drive that seemed like a great first start. Unfortunately, as we packed up the car, some part of reality set in when the blankie made an appearance and a comment made "that he wouldn't want to forget that!" After nearly an hour's negotiation and reassurance that I wasn't taking him to the woods and dropping him off, we'd come to a bit of a new mission plan. First, we were going to the store for candy, fishing stuff, and postcards.

Unfortunately, two stores later, and nearing 7PM, it was looking hopeless to go camping... especially as my little camper reminded me that we could only go to the campground for "one minute dad, and then we'll go home". So, we went exploring places with the camera instead. We drove up the Knik River and stopped at the Eklutna tailrace for some snacks and to watch the fishermen, then went about 8 miles past the bridge and took pictures at some raging river by the headwaters.

Bentley thought it would be great to go see some farms - especially barns, so we crossed the river and went to the farms by the Butte. It was pretty neat to see the reindeer, bison, and moose, and Bentley enjoyed snapping pictures from his seat in the car.

Since it was almost 9PM, and we were feeling pretty hungry (since we couldn't make a fire to cook our dinner packed in the back), we went to plan B: McDonalds! 45 minutes later and we were back home from our adventure.

Day 2: Viva's day out.

Not as exciting as Bentley's, but she conned me into a trip to the mall on Saturday. Our little Fashionista really liked Best Buy's music instrument section, Zales Jewelry, the AT&T Cell Phone Store, and Old Navy. She found a new outfit and figured out a way to pay for it (El Banco Centrale Daddio)

We went and checked out Earthquake park and went for a short walk in the woods. She was in a good mood and felt like being a baby model while we were there (she thought the wind did wonders for her hair).

Then she twisted my arm into letting her go watch planes land at Point Woronzof, and we walked down to the beach. (I'd never been down there before). The wind was pretty chilly at that point, but we did our best to smile for the pictures.

Day 3: Jake's day out.

Well, Jake and I had less than 2 hours for our day out, but we went to watch float planes at Lake Hood, check out the airport freight traffic, and go to Point Woronzof. There were no big cargo jets landing for us, but we did get to see one of the ocean liners pull out from the harbor and head down the inlet. Jake thought it was a big boat! However, he was less than enthralled with the wind.

We got a few more pictures, then headed home. Jake, having skipped his nap to make the trip, fell asleep for the car ride home, the ride to Grandpa Tim's house for dinner, and slept through 1/2 of the movie while we were there. He made up for his downtime by shooting pool with Bentley, Viva, Tyler, Grandpa, and Allie.

We're going to see if we can have even more fun this next weekend!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Personality & The Pool

Way back when, a long time ago, the sun was shining here in Anchorage. We've only had about a week of rain but a week can seem like a long time, you know!

At the beginning of the summer we found some outdoor water toys at Kohl's - Uroma, who was visting from Florida, bought them for the kids and we were set. Next up? Waiting for the right perfect sunny day.

We found a day - it wasn't too hard, we had a beautiful July for the most part. That's when the trouble started. I pulled out the swim suits, and Jake & Bentley about had a meltdown. Put on their swimsuits? And go OUTSIDE? And do WHAT?!

They were not interested. They are not always fans of new experiences. Genevieve? She's the easy going one. She said "Sure, sign ME up!!". We threw on her swimsuit and took her out to the pool.

She climbed right in and splashed around. She was a great sport, although some of her smiles in the pictures look a BIT strained. This is Alaska, you know - it was sunny but there was a bit of a wind! :-) Once Bentley saw that Viva was heading outside he offered to hold the hose for her and work on filling up the pool. Sweet brother, yes?!

After observing Genevieve for a while Bentley did, eventually, ask to put on his suit and try out the pool. She was a brave leader and inspired him.

What about Jake? We tried, hard, to get him to enjoy himself. He screamed and screamed and let tears stream down his cheeks until we put his clothes back on (we had been trying to convince him to try the swim suit!). After he calmed himself (it was quite the trying experience) he dragged a chair over to the pool to observe the festivities. Maybe next time he'll join in? We'll see!

* Note: the hose was hooked up to the hot water from inside, so it's not like we were even trying to create an authentic cold tap water pool experience for these kids! Sheesh!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Hello, Channel 2!

*** Shameless self promo to follow!!! ***

A friend and I have started a couponing blog together. It's pink, so it's cool. You should check it out.

So Nichole (my friend) is the motivated type (I admire that!) and she scored us an interview with the Channel 2 news station up here, NBC! On Monday they came over to my place to interview us, and we were on the 6 pm, the 10 pm, and then the 7 am news. Even the radio! Anchorage isn't huge, but Channel 2 still gets 40-50 thousand views every evening. Kinda scary! :-)

If you really really want to see the clip, you can check it out here.

Anyway. Back to my kids. The focus of this blog. I have to have a tie in to them to make this post work, right?! All of the kids made it into the segment (even if it was just their backs!!!), but I think Viva did a lovely job wrapping up the segment with a peekaboo with the camera. Isn't she a cutie?!! And modest to boot. :-)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thankful Thursday #11

This week we are...

grateful to Daddy for being so fun with the kids! They've all had opportunities to go out on "dates" with him in the past week, we've kept him busy. More on that in an upcoming post!

grateful for visits from fun family! My Grandma's sister Marlene and Marlene's son Brett have been here visiting this week. They've been fun guests to have, and the kids always love new company to play with. We're lucky to have guests that like (or are polite!) to play! Aunt Jean & Uncle Harold showed up on Tuesday night, and we're enjoying having them to visit with through the weekend!

happy (at least I am) that the kids are becoming *so* (just kidding) self reliant. They can take off their own clothes, throw them in the laundry hamper, go grab new diapers... when they want to be they can be very helpful. And that's a nice thing!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Bentley's Grand (ended well) Day Out

A couple weeks ago (June 22nd), while cousin Ben was visiting, Bentley, Ben, and I (Daddy) had a chance to go to Seward for a train and boat excursion. To start the day, we had to get up and out of the house by about 5:30AM. That's pretty early. But arriving at the train station, Bentley perked up as he saw all the people ready to get on the train with him, with all sorts of ideas about the things we'd see. They let us board around 6:15 AM, and the lurch forward occured right on time at 6:45. We were off for an exciting adventure on the train, which I'd never done, and a chance to go watch for whales.

So, if you haven't ridden a train before, you might not know that there's a lot of rocking motion involved. And the Alaska train goes right up against a series of landscaped block walls that invite your attention as they whiz by.

6:46AM "Daddy, are we going really fast?" "Yes, Bentley."

"Will we go faster?" "Probably, when we get out of town."

6:48AM "Daddy, my tummy doesn't feel very good." "Don't watch out the window, you'll be ok."

6:49AM "Daddy, I think I'm gonna be sick...." "Are you gonna puke?" Hands go to the mouth. Daddy dives for the plastic sack in his backpack, opening it just in time for the second volley aimed at his pants.

6:50AM "It's a good thing you only had milk to drink, huh? Let's go lets go lets go - run to the back - there's a bathroom!"

Luckily, trains have big bathrooms, otherwise this could have been significantly worse.

And we repeated that for about 2 hours. Poor Bentley (yuck), poor Ben (who me? No, I'm not with them), poor dad (I grabbed spare clothes for the wrong person).

Luckily the train wasn't too full, the people onboard were very nice, and Bentley eventually settled down and watched out the window as we passed through some of the most amazing scenery Alaska has to offer!

Along the way we saw some huge eagle's nests, big glaciers, the neatest tunnel/bridge system with cascading waterfalls, and my favorite: the cargo train wiped out by an avalanche a few weeks prior. I had no appreciation for the power of an avalanche until we saw the flatbed car wreckage and cargo strewn across the landscape.

Seward gave us the opportunity to feel an earthquake as we were standing at the harbor... at least it wasn't a big one, otherwise that might have been too much excitement for one day.

We went out on the wildlife cruise, which gave us the opportunity to prepare for more motion sickness, but luckily all went well. Bentley enjoyed getting to see the Humpback whales and puffins. We saw a couple of seals, and at one point there were sea lions. Our lunch out on the island was great! Ben and I had steak and salmon; Bentley was pleased to eat 5 rolls. That was A-ok with me, considering there was 2 more hours on the boat and another 5 hour train ride!

The remainder of the boat ride was rather uneventful... we hit some rougher water with 6-8ft waves outside of Resurrection Bay. I say uneventful because neither Bentley nor I remember it. It was naptime for the two of us!

Back in Seward we stopped for cookies and icecream - always happy to support the local eateries! Our train ride back to Anchorage went well - and Bentley was excited about it when we arrived back at the Seward depot. However, around Portage, Bentley said, "I'm all done with the train. How do I get off?" So, our adventure lasted an hour or two longer than Bentley wanted, but it ended well. What a day!

Mug Shots

Although not the regular photographer, when trying to surprise Opa sometimes I give it a shot. We did wallets of the kids for Father's Day, here they are lined up in their mug shot glory. :-)

Take me to... the ballgame, of course!

We took the kids out to see a baseball game on Monday night. We had a free coupon so we thought... why not? A survey of 3 toddlers, at the end of our adventure, let us know it's an experience worth repeating. They lasted through about 4 innings - not bad, right?

Sure... Viva was mostly entranced by the dancing chicken mascot. And Jake was in it for the kettle corn. And it took Bentley a little while to understand what was going on. And the Mom about had a heart attack every time the toddlers wanted to move on those tall bleacher stand seats. But it was all good. We'll be back (once in a while, at least!).

Riveted by the game.

One of those great hold the camera out and smile shots - at least we have part of Matt's head there!

Monday, July 20, 2009


We have three LSFs (Little Snot Factories) in our home. It's gross when they are in full production. I find myself wanting to flee when aid is required. I just don't have the stomach for it. Gross, gross, gross--that is all the detail I am going to give you.

The other morning Jake, who is the champion LSF in the house, came into my bedroom, climbed on the bed, and then left product on my favorite blanket. He laughed as he did it. I took the blanket straight to the washer. I just bought a new spread for the bed and I'm very leery of letting any of the LSFs near it. It's difficult washing a king-sized spread. It's also difficult keeping three toddlers off the bed.

Sometimes they shut down production at night and you think the worst is over, but then in the morning mid-way through breakfast they start in again and you know it's going to be another day spent chasing LSFs trying to protect the couches and cloth chairs, not to mention your wardrobe. There's nothing like looking in the mirror and seeing...well, you know what smeared all over the shoulder area of your shirt. Gross.

On Sunday we kept the LSFs home from church so they wouldn't contaminate the nursery. Not everyone is so considerate, but we try to do what's right. It was a good decision because not only were they LSFs, but they were cranky LSFs.

Unbelievable. I started writing this post this morning, but was interrupted. (Living with toddlers life is one constant interruption.) Just a few minutes ago we had the most unbelievable LSF incident. Kara complained of stepping on something wet in the mudroom and when we investigated further...a puddle lying in wait on the floor deposited by our champion LSF. See why he's the champ? He has an unbelievable production rate. GROSS! GROSS! GROSS! I am not paid enough to deal with this....well...when not in LSF mode I do enjoy getting hugs and kisses and cuddles from the grandchildren.

I am NOT posting photos of LSFs.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Yard Work

We love to be outside at our place!

Enjoying the swings on the playyard:

Trike riders:

Watering work:

Relaxing after the hard work of play:

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Far-Away Grandma

This is one of our pics from Grandma Vicki's visit. She's a hard lady to catch on camera, but we caught this one when they were "on the run". :-)

We all had a great time with our visitor. Grandma came to stay for part of last week and the kids kept her busy non stop. Showing her all their favorites activities outside, their favorite games and toys inside, millions of books to read, and some fun new art projects to try that Grandma brought with her. Long walks and a visit to the zoo wrapped up the whirl wind trip!

Here's Viva modeling her cat face that she made with Grandma Vicki, it's a close up or you could see she also has a cat tail!

Bentley and his Faves

Right now Bentley insists on sleeping with his blanket, 2 dogs, and 2 M&Ms guys. Sometimes he throws a few cars into the mix. Sometimes he carries his "stash" around all day with him. That's a lot of comfort objects for 1 little kid! :-)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Thankful Thursday #10

Woohoo! We've made it to #10. Double digits of thankfullness. :-)

This week we are...

thankful for simple pleasures, enjoying puzzles and crayons. Enjoying relaxing at home and just hanging out!

happy to help. All of the kids are very eager to help water the plants outside. It's a daily highlight for them. :-)

enjoying the slightly darker nights. It's only been a month since summer solstice, but it seems quite a bit darker during the night, and thus easier to sleep.

going to enjoy fish! Matt enjoyed a Kodiak fishing trip earlier this week and brought home lots of halibut and salmon. The kids will love it!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

More Words of B

Bentley provides me with some funny conversations on occasion. More than just once in a while, actually. He cracks me up (not normally intending to, I'm sure) on a daily basis. I love 3 year olds!

As we're driving down the road to get home, passing Fred Meyers (which is more than 1/2 mile from the house still):

"Mommy, let me out here. I want to walk the rest of the way home." (Yeah, right!! Crazy kid)

Chastising his little sister who is jumping on the bed:

"Viva, you better stop that right now. You are going to break the bed, and then you will have to sleep on the floor. Mommy will NOT buy you a new bed if you break this one."

In his bathroom, after using the toilet:

“Mom, this toilet paper thing isn’t working for me,”
“when this roll is gone I want you to go buy a shelf and put the shelf here" (points right next to the toilet)
“why’s that Bentley?”
“I can’t reach it very well all the way over there on the wall!”

In the bedroom, at night time, Jake screaming because he's displeased about going to bed:

“Jake, lay down and go to sleep. After you go to sleep 2 times you can go sleep with Grandma, just like me!”
Viva pipes in “me! Me! Me!!”
“No, you get to go sleep with Mommy. That’s how it works”

Some of Bentley's favorite expressions inlude:

at a lull in the conversation: "What else do you want to talk about?"
on the phone we often hear this conversation stopper: "That's all I'm going to say now"
every night at bed time I hear: "No airplanes or helicopters coming, right?" (We guess that he saw a video on youtube that he perhaps should not have?!?!)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Friday, July 10, 2009

Belated Father's Day!

Yes, we did celebrate Father's Day this year. No, I'm not the world's most on top of it blogger. :-)

By the time we get home from 3 hours of 9 am church the kids aren't always willing to pose. But we did catch Viva with her Daddy!

We had Tim & Ty down for dinner. Matt picked the menu - spaghetti & apple pie. I was thinking I was on track (I made the spaghetti sauce the night before in the crock pot!), but then around 4:30 when I went to start on the pie I was reminded that you normally peel the apples in apple pie. 16 of them. And I am not the world's fastest peeler - it's just not one of my kitchen skills. :-) Luckily Great-Grandma helped peel and my Mom helped chop. It's great to have helpers!

Here is one of the pies. If you look closely you can see the little apple cut out on the top of it. Cute, yes? :-)

After dinner Bentley introduced Grandpa Tim to his favorite Wii games (including Kung Fu Panda, I believe). We had a fun evening enjoying all the dads in our lives and it was great to have so many of them with us - Uropa, Opa, Grandpa Tim, & Matt. We appreciate you guys!

Barbecue Time

This past Sunday we had the chance to host a family get together! Some of my Grandfather's relatives (and thus relatives of all of us!) were on a family vacation to Alaska, so we gathered up the local tribes for an afternoon to get together with them. There are a lot of us - the picture below was taken after a number had already left!

The kids had a great time running wild through the house (okay - just the main floor - but still!) with the older kids, and it was a good chance to catch up with everyone we haven't seen in a while. It was a gorgeous day so we were able to make full use of our back deck, too!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Thankful Thursday #9

This week we are...

so excited to have Grandma Vicki visting us. The kids are having a blast and have upped their energy level about 200% so they can show her how fun they are! :-)

glad we live in Alaska. As always. Why in particular, this week? Because although we are enjoying our heat wave, it is nice to know that this is just one season of the year. Turns out all I need is a little heat to remind me I (and Matt, and the kids - all of us get grumpy when we get hot) wouldn't do well in Arizona.

happy that Grandma Karen is back in town! She was out of town dealing with a death in the family for the last month, and we have missed her. Genevieve was ecstatic to see her last Friday, Bentley went running out the door on Tuesday, and Jake? Even Jake wants in on the action - we'll see if he follows through when we give him another chance at a play date sometime soon!

proud to be Americans! Grateful for all those who serve our country and help protect our freedom!

having fun connecting with friends new and old. We saw cousins Felicity, Tiernan, and Danarra, who we haven't seen in ages, and the kids had a great time in the sprinkler. I connected with an old friend from homeschooling who brought over some new young friends (aka her children) for my kids. We had a blast and hope to get together again soon. We've also had fun at the park with Daniel & David. We're now at 8 straight weeks of Wednesday at the park - we're on a roll!

to wrap it up - we are still loving summer and so thankful for all our many blessings. Life is good.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Super Fantastic!

With a lot of help from our family the children's swing set is up and ready for use! Since we moved into our new home in November, the swing set was left at the Altmans' previous home. It took a lot of work to get it to our new property. Matt's dad and brother and Kara's cousin Ben (our houseguest at the time) spent a few hours helping Matt deconstruct the swing set, load it into Grandpa Tim's truck, and then unload it and haul it down the hill. Thank you Grandpa Tim, Tyler, and Ben!

Unfortunately, the swing set still had to be put back together before it was ready to play on. So, Matt had to organize a second work party. Here are a few photos from that work session last night.

Matt recruited Cousin John, Cousin Dan, and opa to help him out. Dan's wife Anne came with Dan, but she (like Kara and I!) didn't help out with the hard labor. Every work party needs a few cheerleaders, right?

The children were very excited to see their swing set being put back together. They were ready to get playing long before the work crew finished their labors.

Finally it was PLAY TIME!

Thanks John and Dan (and Anne for lending us Dan)!

Monday, July 06, 2009

Sunday, July 05, 2009

4th Fun Downtown

We took the kids downtown (which is really in North Anchorage - so why is it called downtown?! this has been puzzling me for years and years) to watch the big parade yesterday.

It was a zoo. We parked far away from the action (far away in Kara speak probably isn't really that far - but I'm not a walker!). It was okay though. Who needs strollers when you can hang on to a Dad?!

We had a pretty good view. We had to wait a bit for the parade to start. The kids were quite excited!

We saw lots and lots of cars and motorcycles. Old cars, new cars, super fancy cars, ... we saw some floats, some clowns, some dogs and reindeer and even a few donkeys.

Afterwards we checked out some of the many gorgeous flower displays that downtown has. Aren't they pretty?!

It was a fun time!


I couldn't resist capturing this beautiful prediction of a perfect summer week. I can't recall the last time I saw such a lovely little forecast. :-)

What's more? The past week has also been absolutely gorgeous. Not QUITE as warm as predicted for the next couple days, but very nice indeed.

Summer. It's awesome. I like to tell myself we appreciate it *more* in Alaska because it's one of our two seasons, not just year round sun. :-)

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Thankful Thursday #8

This week we are...

repetitive. I'm sorry, but it's summer time in Alaska! We're still very enamored of the warm weather! We've had some gorgeous sunny days this past week. On Tuesday the kids spent 3 hours outside. On Wednesday almost 5 hours. Today? Today's not over but we were out there for almost 3 hours again already.

thankful for military bands! We listened to the Top Brass band at the library earlier this week. Good music and great friends = a fantastic time.

happily enjoying all the new birthday toys this past weekend brought into the home. Bowling balls, dinos, play food, ... it's a toy fest around here.

artistic! We've been coloring almost every day. I'm happy the kids are easily occupied by art time. :-)

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Viva & Prayer

Genevieve is a big fan of church.

Or, to be more exact, she is a big fan of the church nursery.

Every Sunday we wake the kids up early, dress them up fancy, and head off for 3 hours of church. First hour is Sacrament meeting, and the kids (and Grandma or I) go to nursery for the second 2 hours. We go because Jake refuses to go alone - refer back to the post all about Jackson. He's a sensitive soul, you know!

This Sunday we walked into the chapel and Genevieve said:

"No! Nursery!".

I figured it might be another long 1st hour.

Our 70 minute Sacrament meeting has 4 prayers in it.

The 1st one went okay. Genevieve was silent.

During the 2nd one she said "Amen!". "Amen!". "Amen!". "Amen!". Loudly. While the prayer was still being said.

During the 3rd one she said "Again?!".

At the end of the 4th one she said "Amen!!! Now nursery!!!".

She's cute. A little impatient, but cute.

Of course... her great attention to the prayer and participation doesn't extend out of the chapel. We are still trying to teach the kids the value in kneeling nicely and paying attention during prayer. Example enough doesn't seem to be cutting it. We'll get there though!

More Ben

Just because. I think Viva is missing her extra eating companions (Ben, Uroma, Uropa!)!