Monday, September 28, 2009

Future Tennis Player (or Badminton?)

To the uninformed, this may look like a magnifying glass.  Or, perhaps, you were simply wondering what on earth it is?

I, the misguided Mom, picked it up at the toy store a couple weeks ago when they were having their big anniversary sale.  I thought the kids would get a kick out of wandering around and inspecting objects up close.  They did, for a couple days.  They got big laughs out of looking at thumbs, food, and hair under the magnifying glass.

Today, however, this toy was commandeered and repurposed by my 2 year old boy child.  He discovered that when he combines this toy with a nice plastic ball he can achieve bliss!  He has quite the swing.  He pops the ball in the air with one hand, swings back with the other hand, and then, with grace, (no I'm not biased) he sends the ball flying.  Sometimes he even throws in a little swing of his leg for some extra pizazz.

I think he's going to make a great tennis player!  

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Some pictures I like!

Bentley, looking all spiffed up for church!  I wish I could convince him to wear dress shirts every day, he's too cute.  I guess I'll settle for once a week though!

Jake helped me make some brownie pops. He thought they were delightful.

I bought Genevieve some 60 seconds to dry nail polish.  She thinks it's very cool, but now she wants green nails (like mine), and not just pink.  I wonder if they make a green that dries in 60 seconds?  Something to look into...

Playground fun. Monkeys (climbing like crazy), brothers, and a nice big brother.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Jake's Adventure

A couple days ago Matt realized it had been a little while since he'd taken the kids out for some one on one trips. They've been on plenty of group trips, but he thought maybe they could use some extra time.

First up? Jake. His lucky *prize*? A hike. Unfortunately it's not quite as warm out now as it could be. I'm not sure Jake knew this when he agreed to go out and climb a mountain (not quite literally!). :-)

I love this picture. Don't worry - Jake told me he had a good time. But still, this expression is just priceless.

Here are some pictures my mini photographer took. I think he is quite the talent!

Lastly? One more of Jake. The colors are a bit off but he's still gorgeous!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Pyrah's Fall Festival!

We took the kids out to a fall festival in the Palmer area this past weekend. They were very pysched to see the pumpkins and the pumpkin patch. And, of course, the pumpkin patch is the one place I didn't get a even half way decent picture. Oh well!

It wasn't a huge festival, but the kids had fun. We checked out the pumpkins, picked one to bring home. We climbed on the farm equipment. We went through the petting zoo, played the bean toss and other fair games, played in the leaves (and the "wheat box" - think a huge sand box full of wheat), and we took a ride on a wagon pulled by a tractor. Bentley liked the pumpkins. Viva liked the game prizes. Jake liked the leaves (he was even eating them). It was all good!

Welcome, Fall!

Monday, September 21, 2009

2009 State Fair's been more than three weeks since we took the kids to the State Fair, but, I was a bit slow getting the pictures off my camera! But, although a bit late, here they are!

We went out to the fair on opening weekend, Matt was able to head out of work a little before lunch on a Friday, the weather was decent, so we went for it!

1st up we visited a State of Alaska display about fish. Then we headed towards the rides. A little bit too my surprise Bentley said he DID want to ride on them (the twins, sadly for them, are still too small). The first ride we put Bentley on was one for him to ride alone. He almost made it through the stage where all the kids get buckled in before realizing riding alone was not for him. :-) Instead he went on a mini ferris wheel and a "zoom you around real fast" (technical description) with his Dad. Jake was NOT pleased to be left out. He screamed and scowled. Viva was a little bored and cold.

Next up? We couldn't ignore the food, of course, since it was right next to the rides. The kids were creative and had fries, Matt was creative and had a burger. Me? I had my favorite, corn fritters with honey butter. Then we headed over to the Blue Bonnet stage to see a juggler. Jake had the biggest cheesiest grin on his face during most of this routine, he thought it was simply superb.

Our next stop was a favorite - the animals! Jake thought they were so great he kept trying to climb into the pens with them. Viva liked them from a distance - ie, sitting in the stroller.

After the animals we checked out produce, big farm equipment, fire trucks, and, last but not least, motor homes. The kids thought that was great fun. In fact, when I inquired that evening as to favorite fun at the fair, Bentley told me he enjoyed inspecting all the motor homes. I wouldn't have thought that was in TOP spot, but just goes to show I don't know everything. :-)

Lastly? A couple pictures of cute kids with their father!

*** Hmmm... I just reviewed this post and there's only ONE picture of Viva. Why, kyou ask? She was quite happy to sit in the stroller (more than just happy, more importantly, UNHAPPY when we made her walk). Just not quite the action shots I was looking for. So. Her loss!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Conversations & Odd Phrases

Viva is going through a princess phase (or is it a lifestyle?!). A particular favorite that she likes is Sleeping Beauty. She, however, pronounces this as Sleeping Booty. We love it! What I don't love so much? Her mispronunciation of wicked witch to a more unfortunate label... :-)

Bentley can be rather literal sometimes. Last weekend he was helping me carry some paint cans down to the crawl space. He looked like he was working hard so I said: "Bentley, are you okay there"?? He told me: "I'm just fine, Mom, it's this can of paint that isn't. It's a bit too heavy"!

Bentley & Jake, obsessing (the norm around here) about the jean supply (it's a very sad day when they have to wear other pants - they would like to stay in jeans 24x7).

Bentley: "Jake – you only have one more pair of jeans and then you’ll have to wear other pants!"
Jake: "No, I wear Daddy’s jeans"
Bentley: "you can’t wear Daddy’s jeans, they’re too tall for you"
Jake: "oh... ! Mommy, do laundry!"

Jake, excited at the prospect of wearing underwear like Bentley, calls it... : "wonderware"!

I love it. These children come up with some great conversation!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Triple Trouble

Don't these kids look crazy?!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Bentley: Cool Kid

This kid looks GOOD in sun glasses!!

Trains Still Rule

I purchased Bentley a wooden train set almost two years ago. I bought the cheaper Melissa & Doug basic train set and then carefully selected a few quality Brio and Thomas pieces and trains to upgrade the train set.

Bentley wasn't yet two at the time, but he liked playing with the trains and track from the moment we opened the boxes.

At first we had a track layout that we adults set up on our fireplace ledge and it stayed up in a single conformation.

Well, that was the plan, but in reality the layout was changed regularly because of twin trouble.

Two years later, the train set is still a big hit with the boys. Since we moved into our new home we keep it in our bedroom and Bentley and Jake come in at least once a week and set up the track on the floor. Sometimes Bentley asks me to help him and sometimes he does it all on his own or with some help from Jake. (He doesn't always appreciate Jake's help.)

Because Bentley insists that the train track go around the circular chair in our little alcove, the layout is usually around 40 feet long. To make set up and clean up quicker, I have invested in sixteen pieces of 14" straight track. I love those pieces! I need to buy even more of them. Forgot those short little 2" pieces, 4" pieces, 6" pieces and 8" pieces. 14" track is so much easier to build with.

I want more T-switches, too, but at $8/piece, I cannot bring myself to buy them. Besides, if you saw what the boys do with the switch pieces, you'd urge me to save my money. Four switch pieces in a row do not make the track easy to navigate, especially when you have a train that is fifteen cars long.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

She's Our Princess

What is it about little girls that makes them so...girly!? Viva is our little princess--and she will tell you so: "I a princess!" The boys are not referred to, nor do they refer to themselves, as little princes. It just doesn't have the same ring.

We have lots of cute photos of all the children, but Viva's photos are special. They have that certain--royal?--look. It's a look the boys just can't pull off.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Peg Fun

I purchased Tall Stacking Pegs (made by Lauri) for the grandchildren last spring. I did not find them at a garage sale, but purchased them for full price at an upscale children's store. OUCH! At first the children were not that interested in the pegs and I was disappointed. It's so much easier to shrug off a dud $3 (or less!) garage sale purchase than it is to shrug off a $40 misbuy at a boutique store.

But then they discovered that you can put the pegs in long, long stacks and use them as swords or anchor them in the holes in their play table. Suddenly peg play became a regular event.

Pegs are one of the few toys that Viva joins the boys to play for an extended period of time. The kitchen and its toys are another. Viva does not like playing very much with the cars or trains or airplanes. All three like puzzles.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Outdoor Fun w/Daddy

In the last couple of weeks the kids have been enjoying a lot of outdoor adventures with Daddy. The above pictures are from Potter's Marsh and Campbell Creek. Bentley's getting good with a camera (he took the picture of Matt!). They've also been to the zoo, gone plane watching, checked out Saturday's market, Home Depot workshops, ... busy little kids and Dad!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

B's Bedtime Litany

Every night the parents put the grandchildren to bed. They dress them in their pjs, they brush their teeth, their father reads them books, they say family prayer, they tuck the little ones into their beds, they give them a final drink of water, and they give a back rub or two--and then they turn the final good-nights over to me.

I, too, give a back rub or two, give them a final, final drink of water, fix their blankets just so, steal a few match box cars (two/bed is ENOUGH), and, most critical, I listen to Bentley's nightly litany.

He says he's asking me a few questions, but really it's a list of demands that goes like this:

Grandma Julie,

--leave the light on (i.e. in the bathroom)

--leave the door open to the wall

--leave the alarm off

--no airplanes or helicopters coming?

--ask opa to think about if he will come and check on me and if he can take me to his bed

--be in your room

Every night B carefully lists all these concerns and I must listen attentively and respond appropriately or he gets very stressed. Toddlers and their (sometimes odd) routines!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Lost Treasure Found

We moved into our new home nine and a half months ago. Since our move we have stored hundreds of boxes of stuff on the floor of our garage. There were boxes and boxes of office supplies, canning supplies, houseplant supplies, Christmas decorations, children's clothing, Legos, kitchen items, tools and hardware, electrical cords, decorative tins, baby gear, sports gear, water gear, camping gear, winter gear, old financial records, personal history records and lots of junk, too. The task of finding a place to store these items was so daunting that we did nothing with these boxes for months.

With winter approaching we needed to store them away or give them away or throw them away so that we could park cars in the garage. What a novel idea--a garage that houses cars. First we had a shed built and we moved lots of items into it--snow tires, lawn mowers, hoses, rakes, shovels, saws, coolers, a hammock, a bird bath, gardening supplies, camp chairs, the wet vac, sports gear, and our supply of propane.

We hauled (yet another!) load to the dump. We said good-bye to suitcases, a trunk (from my college days!), old electronics, junk lumber, batting scraps, and other smaller treasures. We tried to free cycle much of it first, but no one wanted it. Kara did free cycle four metal shelfing units, a trundle bed frame, six peacock feathers (cat toys!), a box of magazines, and a stroller. We hauled off lots of boxes to the thrift store, too.

During our long hours of sorting through boxes, we found a few lost treasures. As Kara noted in her last post, she found Viva's black boots. The best find, however, was the children's sunglasses collection. It's been MIA for nine months! They were very excited to get their hands on it. Jackson wore a pair of sunglasses to a friend's birthday party yesterday and Bentley wore a pair to sacrament meeting today.

Here's some shots I took of them trying on the sunglasses.

Mark was busy elsewhere, so I used the little camera which is not great, but it captured the moment.