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!