Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Birthday Fun: Take 2!

Next up?  The actual birthday!

Because Viva & Jake celebrated their birthday on a Saturday this year, I thought it made good sense to start off the morning with the cake & icecream & presents, and then go from there.  Why make 3 year olds wait all day for the fun part if they don't have to, right?!

Viva wanted a pink cake, and Jake... well, Jake kept changing his mind.  Sometimes he wanted a brown, a blue, a red, a blue and red, a pink, a black... he just couldn't decide.  The day before the birthday he seemed pretty settled on black though.  So I decided to give it a go.

Unfortunately... black is hard!  I bought black powder, and started with a dark chocolate cake base, but was leery after I read the label on the food coloring that warned of permanent stain to teeth/skin if too much dye was used.  So I tossed that plan, and decided to just go for dark brown.  The 3 year old didn't seem to notice... or maybe he was distracted by the peanut butter cups on top of the cake?  Either way it worked!

We enjoyed our cake for breakfast, and then moved on to presents.  Then, of course, time was spent playing with the new presents!  After nap time we took the kids out to see Toy Story 3 - our first family movie with the 5 of us!  Popcorn and candy galore, of course.  The kids were all VERY good and enjoyed it, it was a fun way to end the evening!

3 monkeys:

The birthday girl (in her new birthday dress, isn't she cute?!  too bad it wasn't WARM so she could go with one of the warm weather models... ah well!):

P.S. - more pictures to come when the other 2 camera cards get uploaded!

I can't believe Viva & Jake are 3.  Or maybe I can.  Sometimes they certainly act like 3 year olds.... :-)  However they act, of course, we are so lucky to have such precious children to celebrate!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Birthday Fun: Take 1!

The twins are 3, it's crazy!

On Friday night, the 25th, we headed up the hill to have a birthday evening with Grandpa Tim, Grandma Karen, Tyler, and Un.  G&G were heading out of town early Saturday morning, so we figured we'd kick off the birthday weekend early and celebrate with them!

We had some good meat (always a highlight with the kids), and watched one of their new birthday gifts - 101 Dalmations!  A fun evening, I only wish I'd remembered to actually put the recharged camera battery back INTO the camera before heading up for the evening.  I got one picture and the camera died.  Oops... !

Monday, June 28, 2010

More of Bentley's Art

last week during Sacrament meeting, Bentley drew this picture with colored pencils:

Nice, right?!  He tells us it's the Old Lady who swallowed the fly.

And here's a more abstract picture, another masterpiece from the Ipad:

Friday, June 25, 2010

Good-bye Twos :-(

No more two year olds. Today is the last day we will have two year olds in the house. It's sad. Two year olds are delightful. They are excited about each new day and have lots of good ideas about what to do. They have awesome vocabularies and pick up new words with incredible ease. They like to cuddle and hug. They like to be read to. They like to be the center of attention. They like to help (sometimes).

I know Jake and Viva will be great three year olds, but I'm still going miss the two year olds.

Here the twosome is in the last hours of their twodom:

F.Y.I. In these photos Jake looks significantly taller than Viva. That's not the case. Usually they look very close to the same height with Jake just a little taller. During this photo shoot Jake had his hair spiked (giving him additional height) and Viva was slouching a little.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Two Monkeys and a Cheetah

Mark and I took the grandchildren to the playground this evening. As usual Bentley ran the entire way there (a half mile), Jake struggled to keep up with his big brother (his running form needs help), and Viva rode in Bob (no sense in wasting energy!). When we got to the playground, Bentley asked to detour to the high school track and do two laps. He hit the track running and was soon a quarter track ahead of Jake, who was trying to keep up. Viva, to give her credit, did climb out of Bob and put her little feet on the track, but she lost interest in the enterprise after twenty steps. Unfortunately for her, the rest of us had moved on and she had to do almost a half lap (under much protest) to rejoin us. Bentley did a lap and started on his second. He was distracted then by Viva (3/8 of a lap completed) and Jake (5/8 of a lap completed) leaving the track. He cut his proposed run short and rejoined the group. He didn't complete two laps on the track, but he did the equivalent distance by the time we got back to the playground.

The little ones then demonstrated their monkey talents. All three of them love to climb, love to slide, and love to swing. They are ready for the jungle.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Father's Day

Okay... so they may not all be looking at the camera BUT they are all smiling.  It's something!

Happy (belated) Father's Day, Matt!  We miss you when you're in Barrow, and the kids are lucky to have such an involved and fun Dad.  Thanks for being you!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Bentley's in Florida

Opa went on a weekend trip to visit his parents in Florida, but he's still thinking about us!   He found a Bentley shop and sent us a picture!  :-)

A "Monkey with Hair & Glasses"

Hmmmm.  According to Bentley, this is a drawing of a Monkey with Hair & Glasses.  This is some artwork he drew on the Ipad.  Stay tuned (with bated breath?!) for his colored pencil drawing from church this past Sunday... !

You can see this drawing has a lot of detail work!  The monkey was the grand finishing touch, but there's lots of background detail he created before adding Mr. Monkey.  :-)  

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Where you find the kidlets on 1st Saturdays...

The boys, enjoying a game of mini foosball together. 

The 1st Saturday of every month the kids (all 3 of them!) head over to Home Depot with Daddy and do the building project of the month.  I'm not sure if they're more excited about the fruit snacks or the building projects, but that's okay!  They have a good time with their Dad and always come home with something new!

This month's project was the foosball game above.  Last month they made a little flower planter box for Mother's Day.  Other months have produced fire-house shaped piggy banks, hang glides, a bean bag game setup, a butterfly house, and more!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Pile Up!

Because that's what siblings are for, right?!  To be there for you, and cushion your falls?

I think Viva needs to re-eval going down the slide first.  Not sure if it's working for her!  The kids all like to go down head first and then land in a heap.  They were all smiles, promise!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Back to the Barons Fair

Every June in Anchorage there is a Renaissance Fair, The Three Barons Fair. I haven't been for years, but due to Matt being out of town, I was elected to take Bentley to the fair. Matt had taken Jake last weekend for some one-on-one time (Jake needs lots of that right now!) and Jake had come home extolling the grand adventures to be had at the fair. There was sword fighting, rotten tomato throwing, a puppet show (which I think they missed), and a fish pond wherein Jake won a great treasure--a very small, very cheaply made frog that he highly esteems. Bentley wanted a frog of his very own.

So, in order to fulfill Bentley's yen for a penny frog, I was convinced to take him to the fair. He talked about it all week and on Saturday morning, he eagerly inquired of me, "It's sunny, can we go to the fair?". So off we went.

Well, it wasn't quite that easy because we decided to take Jake and Viva with us because Kara had outdoor chores to do. It's never easy get three children ready to leave the house. We took Bob (the stroller) with us because one adult cannot safely keep track of three young children without some restraints.

We arrived at the fair around 1:30 which wasn't the best time because all the good parking was taken. I ended up parking three or more blocks from the entrance. As we approached the fair I saw massive dust clouds being stirred on up on the fairgrounds and I was a little apprehensive. My respiratory health is not at its best right now (I'm recovering from a horrible hay fever season), so those dust clouds made me rethink my decision to attend the fair.

However, it's not like I could turn back. Bentley was on a quest. I paid to get us in and then started down the first thoroughfare. In just a few minutes we came across a couple of Lords preparing for a sword fight and prime viewing was still available! This is important if you have three little people with you. Bob was maneuvered into a good spot and we waited ten minutes or so while the Lords finished getting all their gear on. It's a very time consuming process. Finally we watched a five minute sword fight. Bentley took a few photos. We missed the puppet show because it was during the sword fight. :-(

After the sword fight we were off to find the fishing pond. We trekked quite some distance asking vendors if they knew where the fishing pond was. It was a good hour before someone told us they thought there was one at the other end of the fairgrounds. I pushed Bob loaded with the three tykes over to the Green Court and we scoured it for a fishing pond. No luck, but we did find a booth selling apple slices covered in caramel and M&Ms. Bentley would not try one, but Jake and Viva enjoyed the treat.

Periodically during our search for the fishing pond, Bentley would quiz Jake about where it was. I pretty much ignored those conversations because I wasn't going to rely on a toddler for directions. Jake told us it was in a tent. We finally located the fishing pond outdoors in the last corner we looked before quitting the search. It wasn't a fishing pond at all, but a froggy pool. Jake verified this was the place!!

I purchase $2 worth of tokens so all three children could dip for frogs. We wait for the pool to clear of prior customers and we step up. Guess who had to go the bathroom REALLY REALLY bad?! I'm not sure Bentley was able to fully enjoy his frog pool experience, but he didn't complain. We had found the froggy pond and nothing could mar that accomplishment.

The three frogged and then they collected their loot--jewelry because there were no penny frogs left in the prize stash. Thankfully Bentley was a good sport about the lack of frogs. We quickly headed for the bathroom. We had to bypass the porta potties right next to the pond because the stench was so great I could not hold my breath long enough to help Bentley. We were told to seek out the porta potties at the other end of the fairgrounds. We raced over there and they were much nicer. I had Jake and Viva hold the door wide open while I assisted Bentley. (There weren't any other people around, but I doubt I would have done it differently even with a crowd. I had three toddlers to keep track of, what else could I do?)

Since we had finally located the fishing pond/froggy pool, we were now free to check out the rest of the fair. We saw pirates doing a skit, but I didn't stick around long since the skit was mostly about drinking. It was in an open air tavern that we could see into. Viva asked to stop and listen to a quartet of singers. She really liked them. Fortunately she didn't understand the lyrics. Renaissance fairs tend to be a bit bawdy, but still family friendly.

We missed the tomato throwing because I wasn't consulting the schedule and my clock at the same time. We enjoyed a fairy tale told in skit form. We ate French fries (even Bentley!) and drank a strawberry smoothie that was so cold we didn't finish it. Also, I had no desire to revisit the porta potties. I thought about buying a funnel cake, but didn't.

The trio asked if they could jump in the bouncy house, so I paid $9 for 5 minutes of fun. They were allowed to stay in a little longer than that and it was sufficient time to satisfy them, so it was a win.

Bentley was still going strong after three hours, but Jake and Viva were starting to falter. It was long past their nap time and Jake does not do well without a nap. And then disaster struck. Jake lost his prize from the froggy pond. It was a bracelet that was much too large for his toddler wrist, but he insisted on wearing it. It's not surprising he lost it. He also lost his cool. I spent a few minutes looking for the bracelet in the last few areas we had been, but it was a fruitless search. It was time to go home.

Did we have a good time? Yes! There was more to see and do than I expected--and we missed out on quite a few events. The only real downside was the dust clouds. Would I go back? Yes. We need to catch the puppet show and rotten tomato show and try that froggy pond again when B's bladder isn't distracting him. We need to buy a funnel cake! It was fun to see all the folks dressed in Renaissance outfits. There were quite a few families who were part of the festivities. Maybe for Halloween the kids could be knights and a lady (or Renaissance princess!) and then they could wear their outfits to the fair next spring.

I took my small camera along because sometimes the children like to take photos. For whatever reason they weren't in the mood while at the fair to take many photos. Maybe there was too much to take in and they didn't want to be distracted. So, most of the photos were taken by me--although why I should want to admit that, I don't know. Matt's photos last weekend were much nicer. Did he have a better camera? Better lighting? Less dust? I know! Two less distractions. That was his edge.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Jake the Mighty Monkey

Or is it Jake the Knight?  Either way, he's something else!

Yesterday Jake headed off to the 3 Baron's Fair with his Daddy.  Matt says it was a big hit, with plenty of swords and axes and manly fighting... :-)  Jake came home and wanted to fight with swords ALL EVENING!  In fact, he woke up this morning and the first words out of his mouth where "lets play ax and swords"!  Normally the first thing he says is "I want peanut butter and jelly", so it MUST mean the battle chess and fighting "demos" made an impression on him.... :-)

All the pictures Matt took of Jake show him with an intense look of concentration.  What a kid!

Friday, June 04, 2010

Memorial Day Campfire

On Monday night we took the kids out to build a campfire at the Eagle River campground.  We cooked some brats, ate some junky camp type food (yum!) and watched Daddy eat some smores - the kids and I ate too many brownies and cookies and chips, we didn't have room for the smores!  Other than the 4 or 5 separate trips up to the outhouse Matt got to make with the kids, one at a time (they were torturing him deliberately, I think!  and we were parked about as far from the latrine as possible...), we had a great time.  The kids like fire, dirt, leaves, rocks, and sticks.  Well... Jake, at least, likes sticks.  He carried a rather large one around.  But he didn't hurt anyone so it was all good!

We'll be back, later this summer, I'm sure.  Maybe next time we'll walk down and check out the river too.  Add that in with some fire and all the other camp site goodness and I'm sure the kids will be blissful... :-)  Maybe one of these days we'll convince Bentley that bringing the tent along would be fun?!  Jake & Viva are on board, but Bentley & Mommy need a little nudge.

You have to love Alaskan summers.  It was after 9 pm when I took some of these pictures and it was still beautifully light out!