Monday, February 28, 2011

Sick Vive Face

This is Viva's sick face.  She wore it for three days straight this week!  She laid around on the couch, on the bed, back on the couch, back on the bed... when you talked to her she would just stare blankly back without even the energy to respond.    We are so glad she's feeling better now!

P.S. - check out her eyes up close!  Mostly green with "darts" of brown.  Love them!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Jake the Artist

Jake has found an activity he is passionate about lately!  He spends significant amounts of time with crayons and paper.  He will happily spend a good hour on a creation- first he goes crazy on one side, then he flips the paper over and does an awesome job with the other side too.  His drawings have become much more intricate this past month, he has been watching his older brother and is now developing his own take on Bentley's intricate line drawings!  Check it out:

I like his use of colors, how he fills in some of the little shapes, AND his gorgeous letters.  Check out the top of the page - he has M, A, I, P, K...  he has some Es, Ls, 8s, and 6s on the paper too.  And he can point to them and tell you which letters/numbers they are, they were very deliberate.  This impresses me because I haven't worked with him on letters at all!  And, to top it off?  He holds his crayons very nicely, exactly as you ought to hold a pencil.  What a kid!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Snow, Fluffy Snow!

When it snows the boys always start in right away "can we go out and shovel"!?

They love a chance to shovel. It must be part of that whole work isn't work unless someone tells you it is concept. I'm glad they like the snow and shoveling, since both are a rather to be expected part of Alaskan winters.

Here they are enjoying a snow pile after getting their work in.

Where is Viva, you ask?! She does go out with them. Sometimes!

Bentley and Blocks

Bentley has been spending more time building lately.  Building intricate drawings.  Building with legos.  Building 300 piece puzzles.  Building with blocks!  I like how symmetrical his gorgeous building is here!  And he looks pleased with it too.  :-)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Viva, Before Sick

Isn't she adorable?

Genevieve is starting to look a little older to me.  Must be the the fact she's closer to 4 than 3?!  Lately I've been thinking maybe she looks like me!  The hair color, the eye color, the skin color... it's something, right?!  We're still not completely certain who exactly it is she does look like... I guess herself!

Poor Viva has been sick the last two days.  She rarely gets sick - when her brothers get sick she's the one that manages to slip under the sick bug radar every time.  But this time she found a bug just for her - she's had a high fever the past two days and just lays around on beds, on the couch, back in bed... looking listless.  Poor kid!  I hope she is back to her perky self very soon!

Bentley's Ipad Art (from Vegas!)

Bentley & I have been exchanging art via the Ipad while he's on vacation.  Sweet, right?!  :-)  Okay... to be fair, Matt sent a picture too.  And I convinced Jake to send one to Bentley!  But what I have here to showcase here are the lovely pictures that Bentley sent me this morning!

A rocket:

A rainbow with a whale:

A rainbow with a lizard and a frog:

His drawings are looking quite realistic, I think!

Belated Valentine's Art

We had a good Valentine's Day season around here! We had our beautiful (and so very tasteful!) Valentine's Day tree out. One of the kids (wish I could remember which one) asked me if we cut it down outside. I had to ask if they've ever seen light pink trees outside... :-)

The kids did some clay heart ornaments, some beaded hearts, and some collage hearts. My workers were dedicated!

Patrick & Cassidy had a Valentine's Day party, and we made lovely hand print heart canvases. All except for Viva, that is. She told me she didn't want to get her hands dirty. Hmmmmm (that was odd of her!).  She decorated hers with all stickers!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Adventurer & Daddy Head to Vegas

Bentley and Matt are heading off on a grand adventure together tonight, they are going to check out the sights and a show in Las Vegas!  They get to stay at Grandpa Tim's place down there, which is nice.

Bentley is VERY excited.  Matt has been in Barrow this past week and Bentley has been chomping at the bit to pack for the past... month?!  I finally told him we could get started earlier this week.  He's had a list in his head, and was not willing to rest until everything was packed and in its place.  He has a new Star Wars backpack, which he wanted to pack with 40 lbs in weight.  We had to help him shift some of those treasures to Daddy's carry on.

Earlier this week Bentley was wearing a lovely brown fleece sweatshirt he's only worn once or twice.  This despite the fact that he picked it out at the store and Grandma purchased it just for him!  He came out of his room and said "Look, Grandma!  I'm wearing the shirt you bought me.  I am wearing four shirts I don't like this week so that all of the ones I do like are clean for me to pack".

Sweet, eh?  He's quite the thinker/planner.

Bentley tells me he doesn't love planes (the rides are too long!), but he is looking forward to the time with Daddy once they get there.  He told Matt that he's not allowed to do any work the entire time they are there (good luck with that one, little guy!).  He wants to go see shark reef and go see the acrobatic show "where the people stack up on each other"!.  I asked him if there is anything else he wants to do, and he said "of course, but I don't know what yet because I don't know what there is to do".

I'm sure they'll have a great time.  We'll miss him, but look forward to all the pictures he tells us he's going to take!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day!

The boys won't wear pink frilly dresses for me (which is okay!), which means Viva is the star of the day.  :-)  Here she is modeling one of her new spring dresses.  Just because it's cold out doesn't mean we can't pretend spring is on the way, right?!

Matt & I went to the symphony and dinner for an early Valentine's date since he is in Barrow this week.  Apparently the kids questioned Grandma as to why we were out on a date since we're already married!  Silly kids.

On Saturday the boys took their Dad shopping - Bentley had told me earlier in the week that he and Jake had several ideas on what they wanted to get me for Valentine's Day, and they wanted to shop with Matt.  I'm not sure what got them talking about gifts as it isn't something I've brought up, but I can't complain.  They came into my room at 9 am on the dot to give me gift #1: a lovely drawing, which I will scan and write up the story for soon!

Today we're taking Grandma along and heading out to look at big kid beds, then we're off to McDonald's playland where Grandma is treating them to lunch and play time.  I tried to convince them they don't want to go, but it was to no avail.  They say it is SO FUN there.  :-)

Coming soon?  The lovely required pink and red artwork from the year!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Thursday, February 10, 2011

My Five Year Old!

Bentley is great fun, and a delightful 5 year old:

He is logical.
He is loud!
He is good at being quiet too.
He can be sweet.
He pays attention to detail..
He has focus.
He likes to reason things out.
He likes things to be fair.
He has a good memory.
He is a great older brother.
He is easy going (some times!).
He is loving.
He adores his cat.

He is a fun conversational companion.
He is persuasive.
He likes to bargain!
He in independent.


Bentley at 5 is a better eater than Bentley at 4!  It is still more often than not that he won't even try a new food, but I think the list of foods he eats now is definitely longer (and of a more rounded variety!) than a year ago. 

He definitely has a great vocabulary that has come a long way since the days where I could count (and worry) about the lack of speaking he chose to do!

He is great with numbers.  He writes them and recites them and can add them and is working on subtraction.  He can write his name and some other letters, but isn't too interested in reading yet.  That's okay with me though - he knows all his letters and the sounds most of them make, when he is interested then we'll work on putting them all together!

He loves to draw and paint and do activity books and craft projects.  He creates some very detailed pictures for us, and they all have stories to go with them!

He is a fast runner (which he constantly demonstrates), and lately has been working on his indoor hurdle skills.  Perhaps gymnastics are in his future?

He loves to advise (a kind word?!) his brother and sister and help keep them out of trouble.  He can be a great helper, and when he starts a project he always sticks with it until the end.  He has a great attention span and dedication.  I love that about him!

We know we're biased, but even so, we know he's perfectly brilliant and perfect for us.  We love you, Bentley!

Jackson Goes to Dinner

(a guest post from Daddy):

Last night, I had the opportunity to take Jackson to dinner. We made the plan on Sunday that we would go out, but when I got home, tt almost didn't happen!

It took considerable effort to get him out the door. Jackson has a lot of fears. At first, he was afraid that it would be too dark for me to see the road and we would crash. Then he was afraid that no one else would be able to eat dinner and they would be hungry. Next up, that mommy would miss him. That no one would play with Bentley. That Grandma would miss him. That he'd never be able to go to bed. That we'd never come home. Eventually it just devolved into a crying, screaming, hysterical child... who got sent to his room.

After beating down his door, he decided that if Daddy played with everyone for at least 15 minutes, then it would be ok.

That was resolvable!

One last stop measure he threw in was, "we just went on an adventure! We threw rocks at the water!" I had to remind him the last time we did that was in October. He couldn't beat that, so we were on our way. To where? Well, every minute on the road Jake gave a new suggestion of a place he wanted to eat at. Not helpful. Kara had suggested Lonestar - the kid is a fan of steak, and it was Tuesday so kids eat free - so I headed in that general direction. About halfway there, Jake was a much calmer child, simply watching out his window for the aliens that he was sure were going to abduct us. ("Daddy, do you see any blue lights coming to get us yet?!")

Once at the restaurant, he was all smiles for the hostess and the waitress! Never ending peanuts, bread, crayons, and a word-search (which I didn't know he could do) were the perfect combo to making this Jake very excited to be there.

Somehow, he even knew exactly what to order: Steak and fries and a milkshake! And when the food appeared, repeatedly all I heard was, "Cut my steak." "More steak, please!" "I like these fries!" "This was a good idea." "Here Dad, you can have a little of my milkshake." It was all about the food.

He almost ate it all, except for a few bites that he wanted to make sure that he could share with Bentley and Viva, "in case they like it and want to come here too".

Our adventure ended happily. As we left the restaurant, Jake assured me with "that restaurant was really cool. Didn't you think so, Dad? I'm glad we went to this restaurant."

A grand adventure for sure!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011


Mark made this fine photo collage of the trio playing Hullabaloo.

They play Hullabaloo on their own. They get the game out. They set it up. They play. They put the game away. That's not true for most preschool games and that's fine; We like to play with the kidlets, but it's nice for them play on their own, too.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Two Things about Jake

I wanted to share two things about Jake. Jake loves order. He wants his world to proceed on schedule without any glitches. (He gets this trait from his mother.) He feels most secure when he is at home and when his home is well run. He likes to keep his favorite things in a safe location. He likes his peeps to stay home. When we leave, he wants to know when we will be back. He insists that we are well stocked on his favorite foods. When supplies start running low, he repeatedly asks us "When will you get more bananas (jam, milk, etc.)". He doesn't trust us to do our job without supervision. Yes, our Jake boy is orderly.

The second thing about Jake is that he still hasn't opened five of his Christmas gifts. He unwrapped them on Christmas Eve, but he won't open the packaging on them and play with them. His received a Yahtzee, Jr. game and his Mom has offered to play it with him, but he refuses to take the plastic off the box. We gave him a small pirate Playmobil set, but he won't open it up either. He received bug spectacles, but again, he shrieks if you attempt to take them out of their packaging. Why am I surprised at this behavior? It's a corollary to his hoarding. Fortunately, his little quirks only make us love him more.

Monday, February 07, 2011

B's Other B-Day Parties

Of course, we had to have a birthday party for Bentley when his dad and opa were home. He and great-grandma shared a birthday dinner and cake. The past two years we've made them separate cakes, but because their birthday was on a Monday Kara had already made Bentley two birthday cakes and two more cakes would have been more than our household could eat! (Family came over on Saturday and there was yet another birthday cake--for great-grandma.)

Why so many cakes? On Sunday evening (the 30th), B celebrated his birthday with Grandpa Tim, Grandma Karen, Tyler, Tom, and Ashley. Kara made a cake to send over with him. Then there was his party with his friends Monday afternoon. And, finally, Monday evening his and great-grandma's party with Matt and Mark. Lots of cake!

For dinner Bentley chose macaroni and cheese. Kara made roast and potatoes for great-grandma. We served a nice dinner on our fine Fiestaware. It took a while to clean up the dishes. Bentley was getting very impatient to open his third and final pile of gifts.

Great-grandma was quite impressed with the number of presents B had to open. He had gifts from Grandma Vicki (at least three), a gift from Greta (a family friend of Matt's), a gift from urompa (a galactic grabber that was a big hit), six or more gifts from his mom and dad (small gifts, nothing extravagant), and three gifts from his opa and I.

Great-grandma had two gifts (chocolate and a Kindle reader). I'm sure Bentley will share his gifts with great-grandma--she was asking for a grabber just the other day. She said B's was a little short for her. I bet she'll enjoy the games he was given--and the magnifying glass, too. Who can't use a little magnification when trying to read?

Here's a few party photos. There are none of great-grandma because she requested no photos be taken and since it was her birthday, we had to honor her request.

B's Big B-Day Party

To celebrate his fifth birthday Bentley had a birthday party with his friends last Monday. This is a first for him. In the past he has only had family parties. He invited eight young friends--four of his play buddies (Patrick, Cassidy, David, Daniel), three church friends (Rachel, Siyena, Seth), and his cuz Felicity. The party was an hour and half long which is plenty long enough for preschoolers.

Kara took Bentley on Saturday to Party World and let him pick out some party supplies. He picked the colors orange and purple, but a lot of supplies didn't come in purple so he opted for dark blue in that case. He picked out paper plates, cups, forks, napkins, balloons, goodie bags, a Happy Birthday banner, swirls, a game, and two large rolls of crepe paper.

On Sunday evening with the clock ticking down, Kara and I started to decorate for the big event and discovered that the crepe paper sold at Party World is lousy. It rolls instead of twists! We could not use it. Fortunately, my friends Lisa and John (who live nearby) offered us their supply bag of crepe paper and combined with our stash of leftovers we were able to do a good, but not over-the-top (as was the plan), job of decorating. Bentley was happy, so we did our job.

Monday morning Kara baked Bentley's birthday cake--rainbow colored with no frosting--while I took Jake and Viva over to Party World to pick up the helium balloons for the party. It turns out that it is not easy to fit fourteen helium filled balloons and two toddlers in an extended cab truck while keeping a clear view of the side view mirrors. It was a harrowing drive home.

Monday afternoon the party guests arrived and the fun commenced. They first did a little coloring and decorated party hats with foam cut outs. Then they played Pin the Tail on the Donkey--only half of them agreed to give this game a try. None of them came close to getting the tail on the donkey's hind end. (That was Kara's fault because she didn't line them up in front of the donkey.) They didn't seem to care.

It was back to the table to do another craft. This one involved clay hearts that were decorated with beads and sequins. The children all worked diligently except Jake and one other boy who was happy to be at the party, but not interested in doing any crafts.
The children really enjoyed a bean and bead game. They had 30 seconds to find pony beads hidden in a large bowl of 20 year old red beans. Some guests asked to have a second or even third turn. Jake and Viva spent a good half hour after the party sorting through the beans. Bentley was the game tester the evening before and it was a big hit with him, too.

Cake and ice cream were served. Well, cake for everyone, ice cream for everyone except the birthday boy. Bentley opened his gifts. Finally it was time for the big event--the bull piñata. Out came the blind fold and the bat. Surprisingly--given the earlier donkey game--all the children were willing to put a blind fold on and swing a bat at the piñata. The bull was strong as ever. The blind fold came off and the children each took another turn at bat. The bull was still in good shape with a crack or two on its legs. Bentley was then given five hits on the piñata, then Daniel, then Seth. Five year old males can hit pretty hard, but commercial piñatas are quite sturdy. Bentley finished the job. Kara ripped the cracks wide and the children dived for the goodies. (I heard Bentley tell Grandma Vicki on the phone that he got 39 pieces of candy! Viva had maybe seven.)

The party was over after the piñata. Kara and I had to scramble to hand out goodie bags, crafts, and balloons to each guest as they left. Bentley was happy with party. Mission accomplished.

Kara will be adding some party photos to this post, so check back later to view them.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Viva's Favorites

I tried interviewing Viva, but half the time she was a bit ornery with her answers.  Grandma suggested I try again another time, but I think there's a small part of Viva she is always feeling a bit ornery.  In a lovely spit fire kind of way, of course!

Favorite breakfast: peanut butter and jelly
Favorite fruit: strawberries
Favorite vegetable: carrots
Favorite treat: cookies
Favorite book: Pinkalicious
Favorite activity: Coloring, eating
Favorite toy: tree houses (I have no idea where that came from)
Favorite game to play: nope (her whole answer)
Favorite place to go: the bouncy house (a theme with the kids... could be because we went yesterday)
Favorite color: none, thank you (she's ornery)
What do you want to be when you grow up: a scientist! A doctor! A princess!

Viva, after hearing Jake say he can count to 39, says she can count to 69. I have my doubts though. Bentley questioned her and she changed her answer to 3. Which is a safe answer, yes.  But it underestimates her abilities!

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Jake's Favorites

Next up?  Jake!  Here he is playing his favorite game.  Perhaps his favorite because it belongs to him and only him?  I don't know!

Favorite breakfast: bananas
Favorite fruit: bananas and apples and oranges
Favorite vegetable: he couldn't name a vegetable. He kept naming fruits.
Favorite treat to make: cookie dough
Favorite book: Monkey with a Toolbelt
Favorite activity: Build with blocks, resting at night time
Favorite place to go: where it's not too cold
Favorite game to play: Memory with 2 fire trucks.
Favorite color: green
What do you want to be when you grow up? A monkey that does not fly airplanes

Jake tells me he can count to 39. He's pretty good with very basic addition, he can identify number groups easily!

Jake claims his favorite activities are building and resting, but I would argue his favorite activity is cuddling!  He is a great cuddler.  When he isn't busy being a high strung three year old, that is!

Friday, February 04, 2011

Bentley's Favorites (according to him)

Here's the FIVE year old (well, almost five in the picture...), in costume for cousin Felicity's birthday party!

I did some interviews with the kids.  I'm not entirely certain I agree with all their answers, but here is a look at their world according to them!

Favorite breakfast: bagel with butter
Favorite foods: macaroni and cheese, granola bars, corn flakes, red steak
Favorite fruit: grapes and oranges
Favorite vegetable: peppers
Favorite treat to make: cookies and brownies
Favorite book: Where the Sidewalk Ends
Favorite Activity: Play Wii, play with my golf set, playing swords, painting, coloring, looking for stuff in find books, puzzles, games (he listed a lot!)
Favorite Toy: my grabber I got for my birthday, and my general grievous stuffed animal
Favorite game to play: go fish and blink
Favorite color: black.  no, wait.  all the colors in the rainbow
Favorite place to go: the bouncy house and the toy store
What do you want to be when you grow up?  Daddy!   (awwww... that was sweet!)

Thursday, February 03, 2011

High Fashion

The model makes some interesting style choices when putting together outfits on her own.  I think it works though, in a pink kind of way!

Viva is still in love with dresses.  She wears them at least 4 days out of the week, and I think if she had her way it might be every single day of the week.  But once in a while I suggest pants so I can see her wear some of those shirts I bought her back before I knew she loved dresses so much!  I've always known I love the idea of litttle girls and dresses, but to have her choose to wear them with no prodding?  I love it!

Don't worry though.  Remember she is tough.  She also eats bugs.  :-)