Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Monday, September 27, 2010

Kids & Names

I've recently noticed (and find it a bit strange but I like it!) that all of my kids use different words for me.

Bentley calls me Mom.

Jake calls me Mama.

And Viva calls me Mommy.

I like that they all have their own "take" on the name, and that it seems to suit their personality.  (At least in my head it does!)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Future Nurturer?

I think she needs to work on her technique, myself.

Good start though.  And he doesn't seem TOO disturbed by it!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Another Sunny Day, and another gorgeous photo (or two)

Good weather and well behaved children?  It brings our in house photographer outside with his camera!  We love our outside play time!

Like the badminton poses?  I like the shot of Jake in the air, although I'm afraid it gives the impression he's a bit more competent than he is!  The kids love to play badminton (no net, just tossing the birdie!) with Grandma and each other.  They're getting better at hitting it, I bet they'll go pro next year!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Band Aid Junkies

We're trying to cure the kids, but they're a hard lot to crack.  All injuries need Band Aids!  And not just a plain old skin colored Band Aid, of course... those kind don't have magical powers.  :-)

I'm okay with Band Aids for injuries.  That's a reasonable request.  But somewhere along the road?  Band aids crossed over the line into the category of tattoo type body art.  And that was getting a little crazy!  Particularly when favorite spots to adorn are knees and fingers, which lose band aids easily:

Crazy kids!  Good thing they make those band aids look so cute...

Saturday, September 18, 2010

For the Record: Summer 2010

This summer was amazing (and not completely in a good way).

We had a gorgeous May.

We're having a beautiful September.

In between?

In between we had a RECORD number of consecutive rainy days - days on record having at least a trace amount of preciptation, to be precise.  And most of these days weren't wimpy rain days, there were some real torrential down pours in there!  I know we made it to 28 days to break the previous Anchorage record, and then I kept keeping track.  I think I heard on the radio we beat Seattle's record of 33 days in a row too.  Amazing, right?  We're hoping this means nothing but blue skies in store for us next summer!

Despite all of that we made it to the park every Wednesday with our friends, except for one.  We're becoming hardy tough Alaskanites.  :-)

Friday, September 17, 2010

For Jake's future girl friend

Here are some pictures of our Jake for his future girl friend.  It's part of the hazard of having a twin sister... sometimes it just doesn't seem fair she gets all the new play clothes.  :-)

and my favorite (forgive me, Jake.  but I had to grab the camera...):

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Viva (doll child)

I was looking through my summer picture file and I realized (shamefully?!) that I have more pictures of Viva than the boys.  Oops.

BUT... I figured it out!  I'm always taking pictures of her new hair, new hair things, new outfits....

the boys just don't give me those options.  :-)  Do they wear hair things?  No!  Do they have new hair styles?  Nope.  It's the same basic comb it or not looks the same do day in and out.  Do they care about their clothes? No!  They want the same T-shirts day in and day out.  Jeans one day, jeans the next.  Favorite socks washed?  Lets get them right back on.

And so forth.

They're adorable, of course.  But they don't get me new looks to photograph!  They specialize in action stunts (not Viva's forte), and those are harder to catch on camera - I'm not normally ready for them!

So there you have it.  Justification for the plethora of Viva photos.  Add in her ability to make funny faces and she's irresistible to me.

So here are a few Viva pics.

Isn't she adorable?  It almost makes a Mom want to order 10 more just like her.


She's very cute, but she also has trouble listening. I tell her not to do something... she does it.  I ask her what I told her.  She says (always) "I don't know!".  Or sometimes "What, Mommy?!".  It's a good act, I'll give her that... she almost has me convinced she's deaf.  But she can hear well enough when she wants to!

Jake's Wit

Jake, this morning:

"Thank you for this candy, Mommy!,

and thank you for the rotten teeth!"

What a hoot.  Yes, he really said that.

I think he was watching a show about healthy food choices on PBS... so now he's scared of chocolate!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Friends (Brothers)

Yesterday I asked Viva who she likes to play with best.  Her answer?  Cassidy.  (which I think is a lovely answer, a girl needs a girlfriend!)

I asked Jake who he likes to play with best.  His answer?  Bentley!

How sweet.  :-)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Jake, Still a Monkey

Jake, still a monkey.  An elusive one, at that.  Despite the fact he has been carrying (and wearing) his new winter monkey sleeper EVERYWHERE, it has been hard to capture him with the lens.  Jake wears the sleeper, then requests that it be washed.  He then carries it around as a shawl during the day, and as soon as dinner is over announces he's ready for bed (he wants to put the sleeper back on).  Morning time?  He doesn't want to get dressed.  Already dressed and it comes out of the dryer?  He doesn't care if it's 80 degrees in the house, he tries to put his monkey sleeper on OVER all his clothes.  This kid is dedicated to his new sleeper.

Hopefully this translates well to his adult relationships - he shows great ability to be committed at a young age!

Bentley's Animals

Bentley has been playing with a how to draw animals book that I found for him on Amazon, and I think he is quite good!

 It's amazing to me how quickly his art style is developing and changing.  He loves to draw/sketch, and will often spend a good chunk of time on intricate details for one of his drawings!  The medium of choice seems to be colored pencils lately, and every picture has a big story to go with it.  It's fun to see.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Swim Lessons

Yesterday the trio went for their first swim lesson. Kara signed them up a couple of weeks ago and then this past week she began preparing them with positive pep talks. Pools are fun! Swimming is fun! Rah! Rah! Rah! Viva was eager to get started. She said she'd jump right in the pool. (We told her to wait for the instructor.) Jake and Bentley informed their mother that they were not going. They weren't taking swim lessons. No, not them.

In spite of their denials, the boys got ready for swim lessons, got in the car, and entered the YMCA without undue hassle. We trekked into the women's dressing room and helped the kidlets put on their water shoes which then had to taken off when they got to the pool because water shoes are not an asset when trying to kick your feet and swim. Duh! To get to the pool we had to walk through the shower area where there were several, fat, naked ladies. Kara told me she noticed that Jake gawked a little, but he made no embarrassing comments. After the kids took a quick shower we headed out to the pool.

Showering and then waiting before getting in the pool is not a good way to stay warm, so we had to wrap the kidlets up in their towels. (None of the other preschoolers took showers.) Fortunately it was only a short wait before the swim teachers showed up. At this point we learned that the YMCA had added a second class of preschool swim and the twins were in one class and Bentley was in a different class. That didn't seem like a good thing at first, but it ended up being a great thing.

Because...Bentley's class only had four students in it and the other three had some water experience already, so the instructor had the children in the pool kicking and jumping and floating from the very start of the class. Bentley has had very little pool time, but he did great. He was a little hesitant at first and shivering quite a bit from the cool pool water, but he warmed up and did everything he was asked to. I was very impressed. I had not thought he would be so willing. Great job B!

Viva and Jake were not so intrepid. (Of course they are seventeen months younger than Bentley!) Viva got right in the pool, but then decided she didn't much like being in deep water. She was okay sitting on the edge of the pool, but she did not like going out into the pool with the teacher. Jake refused to get near the pool for the first five to ten minutes, but eventually he was coaxed to the edge of the pool and even into the pool a couple of times. After his first venture into the pool when the teacher returned him to the side of the pool he climbed out and made a mad dash for the locker room. Despite this poor beginning, he went into the water again a little later.

The twins were not alone in their reluctance. The entire class of six preschoolers were not happy to be in swim lessons. The teacher said it's the most difficult class she's had in her ten years of teaching. She invited all the moms to join her in the pool next week. What else could she do when she had a class filled with waterphobes?! I'm sure the twins will do better next week.

Bentley and Jake far exceeded my expectations for a first swim lesson. Bentley participated! Jake didn't cling to his mother or grandmother the entire lesson! Viva, on the other hand, didn't do nearly as well as I expected her to. I thought she'd enjoy swim lessons. Maybe the group mentality sucked her in? I think she'll loosen up. She was the one this summer who loved playing in the small wading pool.

Bentley never smiled, but he seemed to enjoy himself.

Jake being persuaded by his mother that pool time is fun time.

Viva was mellow as long as she wasn't actually in the pool.

Jake in the pool!

Bentley (far left) with his class and instructor (two kids clinging to each arm)

Viva and Jake watching the instructor do her thing. Too bad they wouldn't do their thing.

The photos are awful. I'd delete them, but they are all we have. The kids were wearing goggles. I had a view of their backs more often than not. The light was poor and I was trying to keep the camera away from any potential water spray so I stayed a ways back. Next week since we will be in the pool with the twins, we won't be taking any photos, which given this week's gems is a blessing for all of us.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Messy Girl

Genevieve is my only child who doesn't mind getting her hands dirty.  Here she is, using her green smoothie as paint to decorate the table.

This is something that wouldn't even occur to her brothers.  Hands in food?  Yuck, no!  Wash those hands, right away!  Geneveieve?  Says this is FUN.

It's very bizarre.  Before having children I imagined all children were crazy messy little creatures.  I pictured the spaghetti and meatballs all over and being eaten with hands.  I pictured finger painting activities engaged in with wild glee.

Not so much.  Bentley and Jake do not like messes.  Bentley is the most opposed, but Jake isn't a big fan either. Geneveive is my go to girl for messy kid activities.  I'm glad I have one of them.  :-)

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Uncle Ty's Mimic

Bentley is into baseball caps lately.  He's also into wearing his baseball caps backwards.  Why?  He tells me that's how Uncle Ty always wears his hat.  So of course he has to wear it the same way!

Summer Biking

This summer the bikes were a BIG hit around the home! We started out in May with a bike for Bentley and trikes for the twins. Jake wanted a bike like Bentley's, which really ended up meaning Bentley got a new (garage sale!) bike and Jake got Bentley's bike. Viva, of COURSE, then wanted to join the party. Some cute matching helmets later they were the biking trio!

Jake tells me that soon he and Bentley will be big and fast enough to go out biking with Mommy & Daddy. I asked him why he didn't include Genevieve in that statement? He told me that it's because she's "Not so good with biking yet. She can't even brake."

Sadly enough, the kid is right... she does seem to have a few problems with getting going and with braking. But that's okay! Bentley? As you can see, in the first picture, he's a blur! Jake is right behind him, although not QUITE as fast yet - but getting there! Our driveway is perfect for bike riding and when the weather has cooperated the kids have certainly enjoyed it.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Getting Out

After a beautiful day of sunshine yesterday, nature decided to return to the rainy weather. After sitting inside most of the day, I thought the 1/4 mile walk to the mailbox would be good exercise. Jake wanted to stay behind and help his father, so Bentley, Viva and I headed out. Bentley took off on a run and Viva tried to keep up. The picture collage shows the true exuberance these two had for the short outing. A great way to expend some energy and get some fresh air!

Friday, September 03, 2010

My New Favorite Photo

Every couple of months I force my grandchildren and my spouse to work together to get a new great group photo. This is not easy to do. The children are easily distracted. The photographer is often less than cooperative, too. When I told him I was dragging my father's moose antlers over to the other side of the driveway because it was a better photo backdrop over there, he grumbled. I ignored him. When we started taking photos, Viva was difficult--she has a hard time standing in one spot. I persevered.

The photo is great! I might even take the image file to Costco and have a canvas print made. Last summer we had the three kids on a rock. This year it's three kids with moose antlers. Next summer...?

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Fun In Idaho

A guest post from the father dude.  When I get back to it I plan to find some pictures on his camera to add to the post!

Earlier this month, Bentley went to Idaho with me for the family reunion and celebration of my Grandparents' 60th wedding anniversary. We had quite the adventure during the week we were gone, and we had the chance to see quite a bit of Highway 95 along the way. To kick off our adventure, we flew down on a red-eye flight to Seattle, where we had the chance to go to the Alaska Airlines Boardroom with a pass from Grandpa Tim. Not only was the boardroom a great place to watch all the happenings of the tarmac for 4 hours while we waited for our flight, it also was the source of a pancake breakfast. Nothing like push-button simple pancakes at 6AM! Our flight to Lewiston was mostly uneventful, though we had a chance to check out the farms and harvest crews as we flew low from Pullman to Lewiston.

On our first day there, Wednesday, a bunch of my cousins and their families came down to Lewiston. It was great to see Chris, Sam, Kyle, Kim, Nicole, Carey, and Toddy. Bentley and Todd worked pretty hard for the afternoon on their golf and frisbee techniques, and managed to
get a bunch of us in to play along. Nicole and Kim made sure that Bentley was well fed (with brownies and mac&cheese) for his first night there.

Day 2, Bentley decided he wanted to go to the local park, so he talked Gram and I into walking down the street to the big playground with him. He was quite a climber and had fun with the other kids at the playground.

Day 3 was our big drive to Boise. Bentley had never done a long car trip before - I think the longest was maybe 100 miles in South Dakota, whereas this was about 300 miles. It was a beautiful day, and Gram and Grandpa shared stories about some of the places we were going past, from the train trestles to the old family farm in Grangeville. While B got to see lots of neat things on this drive, I think the two highlights may have been getting postcards of bears and potatoes. He did great - no one got puked on (though he wouldn't eat much the whole day), and my favorite quote was, "Ok daddy, I waited a LONG time and listened to all your stories. Now can I use the iPad?"

Days 4, 5, and 6 are a bit of a blur to me - and moreso probably to Bentley. For a boy with no nap, very little food, and a stubborn attitude about not wearing shorts even though it was 90 degrees, he did great! He helped with the setup and take-down for the party, had a lot of fun with more family who came for the party, and couldn't get enough badminton and croquet in with all the other kids who were there. We didn't get to bed before midnight most nights, and we were back up by 8 or 9AM. Uncle Mark and Lucretia took good care of us - even made sure that Bentley had a color book - and Jake the beagle did his best to substitute for Jake the brother. Unfortunately, Bentley doesn't like dogs.

The party on Saturday was excellent, thanks to all the effort put in by my cousins, aunts and uncles, and other family members. Beforehand, Bentley had a chance to go swimming with Uncle Tyler and Grandma Karen at the hotel pool, which he thought was pretty fun. Ihad a chance to visit with my cousins at the party and be the unofficial photographer. I missed the best action shots when the sprinklers went off while everyone was outside visiting, but I think I got the other important events. (No, Bentley did NOT enjoy getting soaked by the sprinklers).

Congratulations Grandpa and Grandma!

Steve, you're welcome to put in an arbor, lawn, and treehouse at my place if you're looking for something to do next summer! Tenille, along with some of the aunts and other cousins, put together a delicious Sunday brunch at her house. Bentley had a great time with her kids playing Wii, watching movies, and doing a whole lot of other stuff, since it had finally gotten too hot out to play. It was so much fun he didn't want me around. I heard "Go away dad" at least once an hour when I went to find him.

We finished off our Idaho visit with a trip to the Boise Zoo with Tenille, Geoff, and their kids. I wasn't aware that Bentley had such a fascination with the "creepy" things rather than what I consider the "cool" animals. He wanted to see snakes, bats, bugs, and reptiles. Apparently giraffes, lions, and monkeys just aren't as impressive. He liked them, but they really didn't capture his attention. We topped it off with a trip to Rocky's Cafe (I think), which was featured on Man vs Food. I had never heard of 2lb burgers before, but now I've seen one! It's huge!

My uncles took us to the airport later that evening, and we flew home after finding another large batch of postcards at the airport store. No major calamities on the way home, though I only had four hours between arriving home and taking off for Barrow to be at morning meetings. At least Bentley got to sleep in!

All in all, it was an excellent trip and we made a lot of happy memories with family in Idaho.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

High Tech Learning

Our household has "gone Apple".  Opa & Matt have been Mac OS users for a while, and I've had an iTouch for about a year.  When the iPad came out, however, we went a little crazy.  We have a few of them in the house (I'm ashamed to count them), we are in love.

And when I say we, I mean more than just the adults.  The toddlers want to know why they don't have their own.  Do you know how many applications there are for kids out there?!  Our model, above, is working on her letter recognition (a program Opa found and modified for them).  Everything is more fun on a shiny touch screen... !  There are great mazes.  There are flash cards.  Memory games.  Drawing programs.  Math programs.  Fishing competitions.  Etc etc.

My question?  I know it's "common" knowledge that too much TV time or computer time rots the young brain.  And we're pretty good with the TV, and the kids don't ever use the computer.  But WHAT is an iPad?  I know it has much in common with a computer, but... it actively engages them.  Is it the same as drawing with pencil and paper from a creativity perspective?  Not as messy, and not QUITE the same - I know.  But it sure seems different than my laptop.  It talks to them.  It can repeat what they say.  So does it develop the brain?  I say yes.  I hope so.  :-)

(P.S. - don't worry.  They do still engage in other activities besides iPading, despite what their father may believe.  This is simply one of their many favorite activities!).