Thursday, July 29, 2010

Mister Jake

What's your favorite color?  Black, brown, yellow, light blue, purple, pink...

What's your favorite food?  Noodles

What's your favorite book?  Bringing Down the Moon

What's your favorite show?  Super Readers

Who's your favorite person to play with?  Daddy

How old are you?  Three

What's your favorite toy?  Fire hydrants (huH?)

What's your favorite thing to do?  Play Wii

What's your favorite thing to do w/Grandma Karen?  Play pool w/Tyler (a mis-answer?!), make cookies

W/Grandpa Tim?  Plant seeds

What's your favorite thing to do w/Grandma Julia?  Read books

W/Daddy?  Play Wii

W/Opa?  I like him.  I like to go to the playground.

W/Ggma?  Ask her to read books

W/Mommy?  I like to look at pictures with her

What's your favorite treat?  Fruit Snacks

What's your favorite fruit?  Grapes and watermelon and oranges and apples

Vegetable?  Acorns (hmmmm.)

Cracker?  Graham crackers at camp fires

Favorite thing for dinner?  Watermelon!

Do you like church?  Yeah

What's your favorite thing to wear?  Jeans and my monkey shirt

What's your favorite music?  I like the Big Bad Wolf music

Quote I like from Jake, at prayer time: "We're thankful for all our blessings, and please help us to endure all things".

On sharing.  "Jesus says we should share, yes.  So THEY should share with ME" (to sum it up!!)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Princess & The Sword

Kara found this on the play table the other night:

The twins were given a set of Playmobil knights and royalty for their birthday a month ago. The set has six or more knights with armor, swords, battle axes, maces, etc. Viva was given sets that included a king, queen, prince, and princess.

So who do you think put the big sword in the little princess's hand?! We asked the kidlets at breakfast the next day. Viva was indignant. Of course, she did not do that! Bentley denied doing it. Jake readily owned up.

The birthday Playmobil sets also include a working catapult, trebuchet, crossbow, and cannon. The crossbow is a major hit with the boys. Jake shot it at Viva the other day while she was sitting on the toilet and the arrow ended up in the toilet bowl. Before we could properly respond Viva had fished it out and handed it to Jake. Aren't preschoolers delightful?!

The only real lack in the Playmobil sets that the twins own is not nearly enough horses for the armored knights. How far is a knight in armor going to get without a horse? I wonder if Playmobil sells horses only? I'll go google that.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Flowers VS Bugs

The children have a book titled "Bumblebee, Bumblebee, Do You Know Me?". The general format of the book is that on each two page spread there is an insect on the left page accompanied by a short verse about the flower which is pictured on the right page of the spread.

When I go through the book with the children they do quite well on naming the insects. Out of nine insects shown, they easily identify six of them: bumblebee, butterfly, cricket, ladybug, spider (not an insect, I know!), and dragonfly. They don't know the june bug, katydid, and leafhopper. Those are not bugs we see in Alaska and they are not common in books.

The trio does abysmally on naming flowers. The only sure i.d. they give is the sunflower. They do name the rose a rose, but they often call the tulip and poppy a rose, too. (These flowers come before the rose in the book.) Rose seems to be their generic term for pretty red or pink flower.

On a really good day the group can correctly identify the daisy and poppy, but the daffodil, tulip, iris, lily, zinnia and morning glory baffle them. Morning glories are rare in Alaska and zinnias are not currently sold by most nurseries, but daffodils, tulips, lilies, and irises are very common--we have the first three in our flower bed!

The score is bugs 6/9 known to flowers 2-4/10 known. That's sad. Flowers are much prettier and (in my opinion) much more deserving of full recognition. I've looked online for flower flash cards, but I could not find any.

I've told Mark there is a (dire!) need for a flower identification game for the iPad and he ought to create one. I'm tired of flash cards, memory tiles, puzzles and computer games that feature zoo animals, pets, farm pals, sea creatures, dinosaurs, even dragons, unicorns, and the like. Mark probably wouldn't make a fortune with a flower game, but maybe he'd make enough money to purchase a new camera to take more flower photos.

P.S. There's a lack of children's books about flowers, too. This is just wrong, wrong, wrong. Flowers are BEAUTIFUL and many of them smell wonderful. What animal can you say that about?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Mister Bentley

What's your favorite color?  Four colors.  Light blue, yellow, black, and brown.

What's your favorite food?  Steak and big pretzels and plain waffles

What's your favorite book?  My favorite books are the wolf with the chicken soup, the fox one where the fox wanted to eat the pig, and the mightest (all books by Keiko Kasza)

What's your favorite show?  Dr. Who  and Batman

Who's your favorite person to play with?  Daniel

How old are you?  Four

What's your favorite game?  Trouble and checkers and princess monopoly

What's your favorite thing to do?  Ride my bike and go to the toy store

What's your favorite thing to do w/Grandma Karen?  Make cookies and I like to do my gun with Grandma Karen and shoot it at the door

W/Grandpa Tim?  I like to eat steak with him!

What's your favorite thing to do w/Grandma Julia?  Not play checkers with her because she's so good at it.

W/Daddy?  Play Wii and beat Daddy at checkers, try to be most evilest and beat him out.

W/Opa?  Play on his Ipad.  Go on walks.

W/Ggma?  I like her to read books for me and I like to beat her at Trouble (hee hee hee).

W/Mommy?  Nothing.  (said with a big smirk)

What's your favorite treat?  Cookies and Reeses and M&Ms and cookie dough

What's your favorite fruit?  Grapes

Vegetable?  Peppers

Favorite thing for dinner?  Bread with butter and steak.  Steak again!  Hee hee hee hee!

What's your favorite shirt to wear?  My Darth Vadar shirt and my Chomp! Chomp! shirt.

What's your favorite music?  The three little pigs and the big bad wolf.

Anything else you want to tell me?   I like to build things with guns.  

Quote from Bentley:

"Boys are the most powerful thing on earth!"

(I love his go boy spirit, but appreciate that Jake asked him - what about girls?!)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Miss Viva

What's your favorite color?  I love pink and purple

What's your favorite food?  Waffles

What's your favorite book?  The Disney one with Cruella de Ville and Snow White

What's your favorite show?  Huh?  (really, she just looked at me blankly)

Who's your favorite person to play with?  Jake

How old are you?  Three

What's your favorite toy?  I like the dollhouse in nursery

What's your favorite thing to do?  Paint

What do you like to paint pictures of?  I paint different things

Do you like the playground?  Yes.

What's your favorite thing to do w/Grandma Karen?  Play with toys

W/Grandpa Tim?  Get vegetables with him!

What's your favorite thing to do w/Grandma Julia?  Water her plants

W/Daddy?  Campfires

W/Opa?  Play games on his Ipad

W/Ggma?  Sit on her.  And paint her!

W/Mommy?  I want to paint (losing focus here!)

What's your favorite treat?  Candy

What's your favorite fruit?  Watermelon?

Vegetable?  Carrots

Cracker?  Huh?  Bentley likes wheat thins.  I like wheat thins!

Favorite thing for dinner?  Ketchup.  And I like salad..  That's it!

Do you like church?  No!

Why not?  Because they sing and talk but I don't like their singing or their talking either.

What's your favorite thing to wear?  Dresses.  Pink dresses!

What's your favorite music?  Uhhmmmm.  I like airplanes and princess songs.

Quote I like from Viva: (sitting at the table with her doll, and Great-Grandma suggests that she feed her dolly too)

"You know she's not real, right?"

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Making Muffins

The kids all LOVE to help in the kitchen.  Sometimes, lately, they even manage to be helpful!  :-)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Camping Night

We took the kids camping for the night (in a tent!) a couple weeks ago.  Bentley was QUITE reluctant about the whole idea, and we only lured him into compliance by offering big juicy steaks.  Viva and Jake were on board from the get go.

As I finished putting up the tent Bentley told me he was quite surprised at how big the tent was - so maybe part of his reluctance was from some odd idea of being stuck in his tiny play tent with the other 4 of us all night?!  :-)  We took a walk to the water, read some books, played some ball, cooked some food on a fire... and survived a night of sprinkles without getting wet.  It was good fun, and the children have agreed to sign on for another trip - so it must have been a winning experience, right?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Train Time

The boys haven't built a train track and played on in for quite some time. They've been busy doing summer activities and playing with the twins' new birthday toys. Last week Jake said he wanted to build a track, but ended up only taking out five track pieces and then getting distracted. Bentley was building his own tracks by three years old. Jake has learned to rely on Bentley to build for him instead of doing it himself. But, then again, Bentley wasn't building them entirely on his own at three. I had to give him quite a bit of help. I haven't done that with Jake. I need to work with Jake.

Yesterday Bentley started building a very elaborate track. He was in our bedroom working all on his own. He decided to use the 8 way turn table piece. He laid track out in all eight directions. He didn't have time to finish the track. We let him keep it up overnight even though that means we have to try to avoid stepping on bridges and tunnels when we do a visit to the bathroom in the middle of the night in the dark. It can be quite tricky.

Today I encouraged Bentley to finish his track so he and Jake could play on it and then we could take it down. I gave him a little bit of guidance in connecting the track lines together, but not much. He wanted to finish it himself. He's a good track designer. For a test we put the battery operated engines on the track to see if they can negotiate it. Percy and Lady did great. A+ on track design!

Maybe this winter we will move the train track downstairs to the TV room so the boys can build a track and keep it up for a week or longer.

P.S. I think Viva spent a couple of minutes checking out the track and then she read books. Trains are not her thing.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

PJs & Umbrellas

This morning while Kara was taking her shower I took the children downstairs to eat breakfast before getting dressed for church. As we walked by the front door I noticed it was raining softly outside. It was perfect weather to take a walk down the driveway with umbrellas to collect the Sunday newspaper. Young children love umbrellas, right? I dashed back upstairs to locate the umbrellas. We had two stashed in our travel box. Mark had to go out to his car to collect a third one.

Next I had to convince the children that it was okay to wear their pajamas outside for a short time while they walked down the driveway. If you can't run around your own yard in your pajamas when you're three and four years old, when can you?! Live a little!

Then I almost blew the deal by putting their water shoes on them instead of their tennis shoes. Water shoes make more sense in the rain, but, unfortunately theirs weren't dry from their last pool playtime on Friday. Viva didn't care, but Jake and Bentley protested loudly. "They're cold!" Wimps.

Finally, I got them out the door and headed down the driveway. At that point Bentley noticed there was no newspaper at the end of the driveway. Matt had collected it on his way to morning church meetings because more often than not when it rains, the paper gets drenched.

So the umbrella caper ended abruptly with no treasure collected. I had bribed the boys with the promise of a treat which they couldn't earn. Some days are like that.

I'm not sure why there is no photo of Viva, she was the first ready to go. The Bentley photo was taken after he discovered the theft of the treasure.

After my above complaint about no photo of Viva, Mark surrendered this one that he took, but did not like well enough to include in the original batch of photos he gave me. It seems that though Viva was first out the door, she never left the porch.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Finally a Sunny Day!

This summer has not been a hot one. May had some nice days, but no scorchers (even by Alaskan standards). Then along came June. There were some nice days, but we didn't pull the pool out. We thought we had plenty of summer left to enjoy pool days. Hah! The weather deteriorated the last couple of weeks in June and July so far has followed the same lousy, mostly cloudy (with little rain) pattern. Global Warming?! Bring it on. We in Anchorage would love some hotter than average temperatures. Heck, we'd settle for some average temperatures.

On Monday we finally had our first sunny day of the month. I wanted to haul out the kiddie pool, but I was overruled. Oddly enough, it was the grandchildren who first said "No, thanks!" It's been so many months since we had out the pool that they can't remember it. (Which in Jake's case is just as well because he refused to get in the pool last summer. I think we only had it out once, maybe twice.)

In the evening I finally convinced Jake and Viva to put on their swim suits and water shoes and head outside for some fun in the sprinkler. (Bentley was visiting with Grandma Karen, so it was just the twins and I.) They were quite skeptical of the idea of running in the spray from the sprinkler and for the most part they avoided getting wet. I finally trapped them on the swing set in the infant swings and then I put the sprinkler near the swings. This plan got mixed reviews. There were shrieks about water getting in their eyes. These kids take showers regularly, so what's the big deal?

Tuesday was cloudy. Again. Then today we had more sun and I convinced Kara to locate the kiddie pool. We also found the fancy dancing spikes water hose. I hooked a hose up to the sink in the garage and ran it out to the driveway so the water was warm. All three children had a good time running in and out of the spray, although Jake held back more than the other two. I then filled up the kiddie pool and gave them bubbles to play with. They had a great time.

Bentley seemed to enjoy himself more than the twins, but when I asked if he wanted to do it again, he said no. Huh? The twins are all for more pool time. I think Bentley will change his mind when it comes time to play, but I'm still baffled by his no vote.

We're keeping a hot weather watch. The pool is currently draped on great-grandma's car so we can easily access it. Next time I'll try to get photos of the kids in the pool. Or better yet, a short video. We tried to get a video the first night of the twins running through the sprinkler, but since they avoided getting wet, the video was a no go.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Summer Day Adventure with Daddy

The kids and Matt took advantage of a sunny Saturday (which are not as common as they ought to be this year!) to head out on a walk and park adventure downtown.  The kids pictures are always interesting.  The fence, the clouds, the grate... I love it.

The kids pics:

A few pictures of the adventurers:

Friday, July 09, 2010

Walking on Air

I love this picture Opa took, of Viva skipping along the road in her purple glitter shoes.  Look closely - no feet on the ground, guess the magic princess shoes make you float?!  :-)

P.S. - I feel this picture is a bit deceptive.  It gives the appearance that Viva is quite the active little girl.  I wouldn't say she doesn't run, but she certainly has no where near the energy level of her brothers!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Jake "through the years"

Jake was the cutest little baby.  Still is pretty darn cute, if I do say so myself.  Despite the bruises and bumps and scratches that always seem to show up on that little man!

3 weeks old, soooo precious!

3 months!

I love babies in hats.  I'd feel that the hat is obscuring hair (which shows personality, you know)... BUT, for months, Jake had NO hair!  He was a baldy (or almost baldy) baby.  So hats are okay.  Here he is at 4 months.

Another hat picture, he was the perfect Christmas model at 6 months old:

8 months old, cute without a hat too.

The face might have food on it, but I love this gorgeous 1 year old grin!  And those big brown eyes!

He looks cute from any angle.  Still 1.  :-)

18 months old.  More hair, same big eyes.

2 years old.  Looking so mature, right?!

2 and a half:

Now?  Now he's 3!  Why holding combs?  Excited about the hair cut, I guess!

We love our Jake!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Viva "through the years"

Now that the twins have reached the ripe old age of 3, I thought it would be fun to look at how they've changed! The chair shots are nice, but hardly the pictures that do them anywhere near "justice" in showcasing their cute factor...

Just six weeks old, pretty in purple:

3 months old, with some pink AND purple for variety.  Doesn't she look like a doll?!

6 months, gorgeous smile.

8 months old, and more hair!  I couldn't pick just one.

Moving right along, 1 year old!  Hair to style, sitting skills, walking skills... what a year.

18 months!

My 2 year old!

2 and a half...

and now, 3!  It's so fun to see how they grow and change.

We love our Viva doll!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Painting Masters

Styles don't always change.  Jake is still a minimalist and Viva still favors pink and purple.  Bentley?  He did a lovely cover the entire canvas type of approach.  :-)