Thursday, February 25, 2010

Painting Fun

Gorgeous, isn't it?  Viva likes the layered approach to paint!  My father and I recently discovered, courtesy of Matt, that the scanner will do color scans - not just black and white.  Brilliant!  Who knew?!

We've been doing lots of painting lately.  Having 3 children close in age is fun for many reasons, but one specific reason is the fun of watching their completely different approaches to the same project.  They all enjoy painting.  And once I had the brilliant idea to buy them some washable paints, and not just the acrylics I'd been letting them use, I'm enjoying letting them paint too!

Viva likes color, and lots of it.  When you give her stamps sometimes she uses them right and sometimes she uses the back of the stamp (see the big swatches of purple on the page!).  Sometimes she uses the paint brush and sometimes she uses her finger.  She will labor for a LONG time on her masterpieces.

Bentley likes a little more order.  And he doesn't like a mess.  He has to stop, while painting, to clean up his hands if they accidentally touch the paint.  His paintings don't end up quite as busy or cluttered as Viva, but they are still full of color.  

Jake?  Well... I was surprised at how much he enjoys painting.  With that said, he's still always the one that is done with the activity first!  If you give him a stamp he'll do 20 of the same shape.  All in mostly nice rows.  I think he appreciates order.  And simplicity on the page.  And, like Bentley, he does not like to get paint on his hands.  No finger painting for this kid!

Now that I know how to use the scanner, I'm sure more pictures will be coming!

Thankful Thursday

It's been a fun week!

Right now it's snowing big fluffy beautiful snowflakes, so we're thankful for gorgeous snow to play in (and weather warm enough to enjoy it).

We're thankful for patient Grandma and Great-Grandma (and Opa and Dad on occasion, but they're off at work all day!).  Hundreds (we must be getting close to 100, I swear it!) of games of Memory have been played.  A testament to the good nature of our house mates.  :-)

We're thankful for simple pleasures.  We've been reading a LOT of books, and playing a LOT (a TON even?!) of games - more than just Memory!

Still thankful for pancakes!

We're thankful for dates and family!  Bentley & Grandma Karen went to the museum to see the Star Wars exhibit and he loved it.  Matt & Viva went out to breakfast with Tyler at IHop.  We're lucky the kids have the chance to do so many fun one on one activities.

and coming up?  We're excited about Fur Rondy and the fun activities it offers to us Anchorage-ites.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


They are too cute.  I may be biased, but it's still the truth.

Why, you ask, did they engage with the camera so nicely?  I'm sure it had nothing to do with the Hershey Kiss perched so enticingly on the top edge of the camera lens, begging for their attention!  We had pictures of Jake hugging Viva too, but unfortunately Viva wiped those hugs/kisses off awfully quick.  It just wasn't as charming as the pics of Jake graciously accepting his kiss.  :-)

Twins.  At least twice as much work?  I think so.  Awfully cute?  They do have their moments... !

Monday, February 22, 2010


Apparently Jake has been paying attention in nursery.

The scene: Viva and Jake, playing with a building toy.  It has square, triangle, and hexagon shaped pieces.

Jake: Viva, I need some triangles!

Viva: No.  I got them all first.  I'm not sharing.

Jake: But Jesus says you SHOULD share!

Viva hands him the triangles.  And tells him:

Jesus says you should share your memory game too

(Note: Jake does NOT share his memory game... it is his favorite present from Christmas.  A memory vehicle set.  We're not allowed to play without him).

Jake: I will NOT share my Memory game!

So maybe he gets 50% credit for listening to the lesson in nursery?!

Update: so after nap Jake wanted to play Memory.  No surprise there.  This is what he said while playing:

This is my Memory game.  I got it from Santa for Christmas.  Jesus wants me to share!

so I asked him, when told about this conversation by Grandma, if he's going to share.  He said:

Jesus wants me to share.  I will NOT share.

Still at 50% credit... :-)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

3 at Play

Sometimes 3 small children means a lot of work.  I mean... we can't even get them all to stand straight without looking goofy... who's in charge around here?!

But sometimes they play together nicely (checking out their cars from Urompa!!):

Sometimes they sit around and act really silly together:

and sometimes we play games!

Of course... sometimes we don't play nicely together.  But more and more often I'm seeing extended periods of time where everyone gets along, and interacts in a kind manner (imagine!!!).  Siblings.  Built in playmates. Always having someone there to entertain and amuse you.  It's a beautiful thing!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Viva Doll

Jake is gorgeous, and Viva?  She's my doll!  I love how she glows in this picture.  :-)  (She's busy playing Bentley's game, Blink.  She's a bit slow sometimes but she's getting better at it.  I'm impressed at how many games these little people can play.  Grandma is the best game player in the home, she's very patient!).

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Jake, Gorgeous in Any Color

Don't you think he has the model moves down?  He's a natural!  (Note: to view Jake even larger, which of course you want to, just click on the picture!!).

Thanks for the fun picture, Opa!

Thankful Thursday

This week we are thankful for...

Opa's iTouch, of course!
Warmer weather.  Although it needs to start getting a BIT colder now so the Iditarod can come together nicely for all those dogs that have been working so hard training!
the Olympics.  They've entertained us so far.  We're impressed with all the skills those Olympians have!
Grandma Karen, back in town.  The kids are thrilled to resume their *dates* with her.
Daddy back in town.  He's traveled 2 out of the past 3 weeks and it's nice to have our "routines" back to normal (can it be the normal if it's not the norm?!)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

iTouch Love

This picture of Viva is one of simply dozens that Opa has taken lately, where Viva is engaged in the same activity.  Drawing on the iTouch.  Viva runs to the door EVERY day when Opa comes home, be it for lunch or dinner, and says "I want your iTouch"! (sometimes with a please!).  Opa, being quite indulgent, always shares.

I've been working with Viva on presentation.  I'm trying to convince her to start with a "Hi Opa!", and maybe then go to a "How was your day?!", before a smooth transition into "I love you, could I borrow your iTouch please"?!  We're working on it.  Viva though, when she wants something, is passionate about it.  For whatever reason drawing in the iTouch is one of her favorite activities.  So she does a 100% great job of ensuring she's 1st to the door to request it (thus always beating her brothers and ending up first in line for use).  I'm quite i impressed with how well she remembers her goals ALL the time, and is always ready to act when Opa shows up at the front door!

Bentley and Jake, I should note, both also enjoy the iTouch.  But not with the dedication that Viva does!  Stay tuned: coming soon - a drawing from the master of the iTouch.

(P.S. - Opa and Daddy have both already conjectured as to just how much Viva *needs* an iPad.  Hmmmm... what comes after love?  Addiction?  Viva would be addicted to the iPad!)

(P.S.S. - I should note, again, how very kind Opa is.  Mommy and Daddy both have iTouches, but neither of them share with the little people.  We just don't trust them (or feel as sympathetic towards them?) as Opa does.  Or maybe we're just not as nice?  In either case, they're lucky to have Opa!!)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Pancake Love

Jake, a few weeks back, said he wanted pancakes.  Pink pancakes, to be exact.  Since then?  It's a daily request.   (He doesn't get them EVERY day but he does ask every day!!!).  Breakfast, lunch, dinner... he thinks every meal is enhanced by pancakes.  Pink pancakes.  Why pink?  Probably has something to do with the book Pinkalicious, although Jake assures me he does NOT want to turn pink (the girl in the book does by eating too many pink foods... ).

This pancake fixation is lovely thing, as both Genevieve and Bentley also eat pancakes.  Do you know how rare it is to find a breakfast food that all 3 agree is a great option?  Very rare!  Bentley, almost a year ago, gave up waffles.  It was a sad day for me.  It probably coincided with when I went out to the store to stock up on 10 packages of waffles.  That's how it goes, right?  It's all okay as Viva then took up the waffle torch.  But Bentley won't touch them anymore.

Cereal?  Only if it's without milk for Bentley.  Jake and Viva will eat it with milk.  Chex, cheerios, and corn flakes are the favorites.  But do all 3 of them want cereal on the same day?  Not likely!  

Yogurt?  Jake enjoys but not Viva and Bentley.   Muffins?  Bentley and Jake adore but Viva not so much.  Fruit?  Unless it's grapes or a berry Bentley won't touch it.  Sausage and bagels?  Crowd favorites but never for everyone at the same time, of course.

Don't worry, rest assured, I don't humor them by *cooking* 3 different meals.  But if it can be taken out of the pantry or freezer with ease, I don't mind if they have different food choices.  That being said?  I'm thrilled with the pancake love... we'll see how long it lasts!

Here they are with their beloved pancakes.  (Syrup and whipped cream, if you were wondering, for Jake and Viva.  Bentley, of course, prefers his plain.  I sneak the butter on for the calories.  Don't tell him!!!).

Sun glasses are always in style.  And very practical.  Put on the glasses or close the shades?  We prefer to bask in all the sun we can get.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Jelly Beans!

One more think we're grateful for...

Hmmm... this picture could mean so many things!  There's our photographer we're quite grateful for.  And these delicious Jelly Bellies, of course.  And the fact that we have access to Costco and can get them in bulk for a great price.  All lovely things to be grateful for.  Aren't they gorgeous?!  We're addicted.  In a healthy way, of course.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Things Worth Fighting For

The boys have three items that they regularly fight over the possession of--The Light Blue Plate, The Backhoe Socks, and the Fire Truck Memory Tiles.

The Light Blue Plate is a cheap, plastic, picnic plate. It's part of a double set of six. It's unique only because the other light blue plate is missing. Every time the dishwasher is unloaded and the light blue plate goes back into the kids' plate and bowl drawer, Jake and Bentley fight over it. The first to open the drawer and see it, grabs it, and then loudly proclaims his possession of it, which causes the loser of that round of I've-got-the-blue-plate to become upset.

It was tiresome enough listening to the boys argue about who had used it last, but when Bentley started insisting on waiting until Jake was done eating on the plate, so the plate could be washed, and he could then use it for his meal, I decided to take action to stop the insanity. I relocated the plate to the back of high cupboard.

My mistake was trying to put it back into circulation this morning. I thought maybe they'd missed it enough that they'd be willing to take turns and wait to use it until the next time it appeared in the drawer, but no the same nonsense ensued, so back out of circulation it is.

The second, equally ridiculous, argument centers around The Backhoe Socks. A few months ago I purchased five pairs of socks for the boys that had construction vehicles on them. I have no idea why the backhoe socks become THE PAIR to wear. My favorite pair is the gray dump truck socks. Two of the pairs have three or four different vehicles--including a backhoe--on them. Why don't these pairs merit favorite status?

Every Monday when the dirty laundry is washed and put away, the battle to be first to grab the backhoe socks recommences. Bentley or Jake will grab them and announce they are wearing them tomorrow which forces me to intervene and ask who wore them the previous week. Although I can't recall who had the august honor of wearing the backhoe socks the previous Tuesday, they generally agree with each about who triumphed the previous week. So why do they fight?!

The battle over the Fire Truck Memory Tiles is the worst of the three fights because we play a couple of games of memory every day. Every game he plays Jake passionately wants to win the fire truck tiles. It's easy enough to insure that outcome when just he and I are playing, but if Bentley is playing with us, it gets ugly. Bentley doesn't see why he should surrender the fire truck tiles to his younger sibling, although he sometimes does agree to swap them out. Other times he won't and then Jake throws a tantrum.

The vehicle memory tiles were Jake's Christmas gift and he's not above pointing that out once or twice or even ten times during the game. I've tried manipulating the game when we're playing with Bentley so that Jake gets the fire truck tiles, but Bentley gets suspicious and gives me an assessing look and then becomes as belligerent as Jake about owning the tiles. Kara says I can't lose the fire truck tiles. (Perhaps I can bribe Viva to lose them for me? She's not attached to them at all.)

Sharing is fun to do, fun to do, fun to do. Oh, yeah.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Thankful Thursday

We're thankful for...

snow!  We've had some beautiful new fluffy snow and the kids have enjoyed the warmer temperatures that make it fun to be outside and playing in it.

animal crackers.  I listened to the kidlets requests and bought them some at Costco, and they're going CRAZY over them.

paint.  Mommy doesn't let us use it too often, but it's very fun when she does!  We've done stamping and ceramic painting his week.

new experiences!  It was fun to go bowling with our friends this week.

Home Depot workshops with Daddy.  The kids look forward to it every month.  Just as much for the fruit snacks and drink pouches as the activity, I suspect... this month they made a car parking lot!  Now if only they could agree which cars go in it.

short drives.  It's nice to live in a location where we don't regularly travel more than 15 minutes to get anywhere. (I'm sure the kids are grateful for this too, even if they don't know it!).

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Bumper Bowling

Today Kara took the kidlets and met their friends Maria, Daniel and David at the mall where they bowled. I went along to help with crowd control. Bentley, Jake, and Viva have played Wii bowling, but they'd never set foot in a bowling alley before. It was an adventure.

The smallest size of shoe the alley had was a size 8, which was fine for both Bentley and Jake, but not so great for Viva. Even with two pairs of socks, the shoes were two or more sizes too large. Fortunately she was sporting a particularly cute hairdo today, so no one had any cause to look at her oversized feet.

Daniel and David are old pros at bumper bowling so they led off. Then Bentley, Jake, and Viva gave it a try. Viva scored a spare her first time out. She then scored another one and a third one! She was doing quite well, so I'm not sure why her mom decided to introduced her to the ramp (see photo). She quite liked the ramp, so she chose to use it for the rest of the game and she did not do as well, although with three spares at the start of the game she had a lead that none of the boys could overtake. (Viva is the only one who used the ramp.)

The bowling balls the kids used were six pounders. The boys could lift them quite easy and Viva managed it, too, but it was more difficult for her. The kids enjoyed bowling and were eager to take their turns. For the first half of the game things went pretty smoothly, but then they discovered the reset button on the side of the ball return and that was pressed a couple of times. In addition to that, the automatic scoring function at the alley had some problems. It scored a spare for David even though two pins were left standing and Bentley was credited with a strike with three remaining pins. Very odd.

Bentley says he's going to get his dad to take him bowling on their next adventure date.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Jake by another name

As mentioned before, I'm sure, Viva likes to go by princess.  She doesn't understand she can be Viva AND a princess, so whenever you ask her if she's a Viva, or if she's pretty, or if she's smart.... you just get "no, I'm a princess!".

Bentley is happy to go by Bentley.  That's cool with me.  I like the name.

Jake?  He doesn't mind the name Jake, but he also goes by monkey.  I found him a monkey shirt for Christmas, as he is THAT positive that a monkey is what he is.  Today he reached the next "level" of *monkiness* - he has convinced his nursery leaders at church that he is a monkey.  Here's the proof:

Apparently when they put his name on the paper he objected to it just saying Jake. Now they know it should say monkey too...

:-) Silly kid!

** Addendum, to show monkey boy himself!

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Cheap Entertainment

The kids love bubble wrap.  They'll jump and jump as they try to pop all the little air bubbles.  Bentley and Jake are quite good at it.  Viva?  I won't say it's BECAUSE she's a girl, but it is hard to deny the fact she's not quite as good at jumping as her brothers.  But she enjoys watching them!

Friday, February 05, 2010

Pink Girl, Laugh Boy, and Mr. Picture B

From the picture *vault*, just a few I like....

Crazy kid, taking a picture of himself on the computer screen!

The good lookin' Jake, with our pink Valentine's Day tree.  Cool, yes?

Viva, happy because she's wearing her favorite colors... light pink, pale pink, and some hot pink on her socks for good measure!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Thankful Thursday

This week we're thankful for...

4 year olds!  They're quite fun.
extended family.  It was fun to have a big party on Sunday.
the arts.  We saw Seussical the Musical with the kids on Friday.  They enjoyed it.
Dr.'s & immunizations.  We've come a long way in the medical field and we're thankful for all the resources that help keep us healthier.
new books!  Library books, gifts from family... we've been enjoying all our fun new books this week.

4 Years, 5 Pics

I've been looking through pictures of Bentley, so here is a pic from 0, 1, 2, 3 and now 4!  The kid still has the same expressions, but his face is really starting to grow up.  It's all boy and no chubby toddler now.  Scary and good, all at the same time?  ** Okay.  I lied.  It's 6 pics.  Because a newborn pic doesn't really cover that zero birthday, but it was too cute not to include too!

We love you, Mr. B!

The 4 yr old!

Bentley went into the Dr. for his 4 year check up and some immunizations today.  I was hoping I could convince him to eat some stones yesterday before the weigh in, but when we proposed yesterday morning that he spend all day doing nothing but eating he cried.... I guess that's his idea of a nightmare?!

So he clocked in at 29.8 lbs.  *Sigh*... someday he'll be over 30, right?!  Bentley chose not to say a single word while at the Dr.'s office.  Not even a cry or whimper during the shots.  I asked the Dr. if lots of 4 year olds are that bashful... he said yes, there are a lot of shy 4 yr olds, but it's select few (special ones?!) that don't even slip up with a "lets get out of here" at the end.  So Bentley is special!  I mentioned this to my Mom, apparently I was so stubbornly quiet at my FIVE year visit that I had the words reticent (according to my Dad) and resistant (according to my Mom) put on my charts.  Years later my leg specialist noted in his files that I was his most recalcitrant patient.

So I wonder where Bentley gets the stubborn from?  Hmmm...

Back to Bentley though!  Although I think the word fearsome may go well with four, sometimes the word fun goes quite well too.

Bentley loves being outside.  He loves to run and jump like a crazy person.  He loves hide and seek and board games and puzzles.  He loves reading time and coloring time and trains.  Monster trucks and building toys.  Sticker books.  His favorite stuffed animals is a round cow that goes all over the house with him (along with the beloved blankie, of course)!  Sometimes he likes to work on his writing, but so far no interest in reading.  That's okay though - I'm not at all convinced that reading earlier provides any real benefit to small children!

He likes to get his own way (don't we all?).  He's very articulate.  He likes to police his younger siblings on occasion.  He likes to take pictures.  He loves Opa's iTouch (Opa is the one out of three of us kind enough to share with the small creatures...).

What does he eat?  Not much!  Bagels and cereal, sausage and hot dogs and pepperoni (yes, I know... nitrates).  Steak and chicken.  Pasta and rice.  Peppers and carrots.  Milk.  Crackers.  Peanut Butter.  Blueberries and grapes and strawberries (nice seasonal choices, right?!).  Sugar... cookie dough, jelly beans, and M&Ms!

Looking at this list his likes/dislikes haven't changed much in the food department in the past year.  ALTHOUGH - he has added several proteins to his "foods I like" list.  So that's good!

He's curious.  He asks good questions!  We had a long conversation about the temperature and snow and rain and spring yesterday.  He's a good helper.  He says I love you every night (and says it first!) - I love hearing those spontaneous declarations of love!

All in all?  As has been the case for the past four years, he's still 100% delightsome and precious and we're 100% lucky and thrilled to call him ours!

Monday, February 01, 2010

Happy Happy Happy Birthday Day

Today Bentley turned 4!  I can't believe it, to be honest.  He told me he wanted to turn 6.  Or 11.  So I guess I should be happy he's just 4?  But it seems kind of old to me... and it means 5 is coming next.  Oh my!

We had a lovely, albeit busy, day!  Bentley shares his birthday with Great-Grandma, who turned 80 today - 20 times older than Mr. B!  So, of course, what to do?  A big family party, of course!  I worked on cakes yesterday since we had church before the party today.  A chocolate layer cake with a caramel ganache for Great-Grandma, a rainbow cake for Bentley (thanks Sam!), and a "spare" cake to share - a berry trifle.  Bentley helped me with his cake on Saturday:

We had originally planned to do Great-Grandma's bash, and then after the big family party do Bentley's cake a little later.  Bentley didn't like that plan, as he really wanted to share his cake with everyone.  How could I object to his sweet intentions?  I couldn't!  He talks big but then he hid under his share once everyone started singing happy birthday.  Bashful?  Maybe!  But he sat back up to blow out candles!

And the cake!

Bentley had a heap of presents, he must have been a good little boy?  That, or he has many people who love him!  Thank you to all!

A fun day, and a perfectly perfect little boy.  We can't wait for the next year of fun!  We'll end with some pictures of the birthday boy with some of his adoring fans.

Coming up next week?  Some more cake!  Grandma Karen is in Hawaii right now so we're going to take cake up to celebrate with Grandpa Tim, Grandma Karen, and Tyler when she gets back later this week.   More parties can only be good, we think!

Again - happy birthday to our favorite FOUR year old.  We love you!