Tuesday, May 31, 2011

First Camping Trip of the Year: A Success!

This past week Matt had Friday off, so he decided to take the boys out camping on Thursday night. They were quite excited (Jake in particular) about this adventure, with Jake declaring that it was going to be a "very special treat"! Bentley was a bit concerned about leaving the cat home alone (the cat normally sleeps with Bentley), but Jake persuaded him to go. I heard them in their room talking the night before the trip:

Bentley: "but I'm scared... !"
Jake: "why?"
Bentley "what if the bears or the moose get us?"
Jake: "there aren't bears or moose at camp grounds, Bentley!"
(nice one, Jake!)
Bentley: "I don't want to sleep outside!"
Viva: "you won't be outside, you'll take the tent and sleep in it"
(very practical, that girl)

Anyway. They made it out. I am always surprised how much prep time it takes to get everything together, but hopefully now that we got it all out once and in the same place... it will be quicker next time, right?!

They had great weather, sun and not a cloud around. The first campground they tried was full (Memorial Day weekend), but the next one was not! They set up the tent, threw rocks in the lake, ate some steak and smores, played some games, read some stories... and had a great time from all the reports I've heard back. They are excited to go back out!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Happiness Is...

gorgeous weather and hours outside!

We were lucky! Today was lovely and sunny, despite some not so nice forecast guesses from the weather man. It was perfect weather for the last day of a long holiday weekend. The kids spent hours and hours outside: watering plants, biking, basketball, soccer with Daddy, playing on the swing sets, trips to the playground, more than an hour in the kiddy pool, dinner on the deck...

the kids loved it. In the words of Bentley "it is the most beautiful sunny perfect day"! And their white white skin might have more than a hint of sun now (oops) - Viva in particular. I think she was a fish in a prior life. I had to drag her out of the pool long after the boys had gone in complaining they were cold (and no, the water was NOT cold!). She may not be a soccer player or a basketball fan like her brothers, but give her a bike or a pool and she's in her happy zone. :)

Give us three more months of weather just like today's was, please!

P.S. - our grass is greener than it appears in this picture! My camera dude was playing with his new camera today... !

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Girls Night In

On Thursday night we had a Girls Night! Where were the boys? Out camping with their Father, but that's the subject of a different post...

I thought it best to not send Matt out alone with THREE small children, so we settled on two as the magic number! Brothers it was. Viva had an afternoon and partial evening with Grandma Karen, and then we stayed up late with Grandma.

We asked Viva what she wanted to do when she arrived home at 9:15 and she said "lets make cake and have a party"! I told her maybe no on the cake, but she settled for grapefruit (which we had purchased just for her!) and some red vines (which we also purchased for her!). She was a happy camper.

She requested popcorn, she got it. She wanted a show, she got it! We watched the season premiere of the reality dance show we like (So You Think You Can Dance). Viva was tough. We didn't get done until after midnight and she, her milk, her popcorn, and chocolate chips hung in there like a champ! She was looking a little bleery eyed by the end but it was all good.

We headed off to Mommy's bed together, and slept in. Viva until almost noon. It was a fun evening! Did I miss the hard ground, smokey campfire, and mosquitoes? Hmmm... tough call. :-) (I am WORKING on becoming an outdoorsy person, but I am still a work in progress...).

Summer is HERE!

Yesterday was gorgeous! Temperatures in the 70s, and beautiful sun to go with it.

It made for some very happy children! We filled up the water table and the splashed around for a while.

Viva was happy getting water everywhere. She was out there for longest because she was first out on the deck! The boys eventually joined her, and it went crazy from there...

It started out with three children peacefully (relatively, if using pirate voices is classified under peaceful and calm?!) playing together. Occasionally splashing each other. Jake shrieking (rather) loudly when this happened. Then Grandma, who was below deck watering grass seed, upped the game with the sprinkler aimed up at the children. They took it better than I would have expected, but Bentley decided it would go even better if he was wearing his swimsuit while getting wet. He's a practical kid!

Three kids and three swimsuits later, they convinced Grandma to pull out the sprinkler and the slip and side and...

and Matt and I took off. Date night! :) Thanks Grandma & Opa!

The kids were hoping to get out the pool today, but it was a bit on the cloudy side and it didn't happen. We've got our fingers and toes crossed for a sunny Monday (and while we're at it how about a gorgeous June/July/August too?!).

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Dinosaur Madness

Today I had a vision (albeit brief) of a future where the kids entertain each other playing games! Doesn't this look idyllic?! It's more often Jake & Bentley that play a game, and it doesn't always end well. Jake & Viva was a new combination and it went surprisingly well!

I should have taken notes on their conversation while playing, as it was quite hilarious. Maybe next time. At one point Jake said "Viva you're a maniac"! And she asked him if he had a particular card and he said "I most certainly do not". :-)

I picked up a set of Dinosaur cards at a recent curriculum fair here in town. The boys are in love with them. You can play Memory (a long torturous version, depending on your skills!), Go Fish, Old Maid... we play Memory and Go Fish. The boys (and Viva somewhat!) are awesome with all the dinosaur names. Frankly all the dinosaurs look a bit alike to me... which leaves me at a distinct disadvantage when playing Memory with 47 cards (there is 1 TRex, and if you get him he is an auto pair even on his own!).

This afternoon Bentley was off at Grandma Karen's and Jake made his daily (or twice a day or three times a day?!) request to play the Dinosaur game. Viva decided to humor him. I don't think they've ever played alone together. I didn't expect Viva to stick with it, as she has a tendency to walk off during long games - a habit I'm trying to break her of. They amazed me, however, and played the entire game of Go Fish. With no tears. Jake did sound a bit irked a few times when he had to repeat (loudly) "Your turn, Viva"! But other than that it was all good.

Even more amazingly they set up a game of Memory when they finished Go Fish. And they both ended up with 12 pairs and happily declared they were both winners. I guess they decided not to include TRex in the totals, as Viva found him first and didn't pick him up. She told Jake "I don't like the big dinosaurs, I don't want him in my hand".

Works for me!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Helicopter Blades

Jake, the artist, produced this creative masterpiece a few daya ago:

First he selected some paper.

Then he cut it out.

Then he requested tape to finish his masterpiece.

Helicopter blades, he tells us.

He was quite proud and rightly so. A fabulous rendition of helicopter blades, I think!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Burger Delight & More!

We have, this spring, found a dinner that all three children can agree on. Not QUITE a miracle, as there are a number of foods they all like.... but still quite amazing as there are few meals they really enjoy!

My children love hamburgers! Bentley doesn't eat the bun with the burger, but he does eat both. Which is fine with me, as on some days I am the same way! Jake sometimes eats the burger all put together, and sometimes in pieces. Viva? She enjoys the full experience. It looks a little ridiculous as the burger is huge by the time she puts everything on it... and her mouth is little... but she makes it work!

She normally makes it halfway through the burger. But a few days ago she impressed us all and made it ALL the way through a big burger. Impressive for a 30 lb toddler, right?

Here she is, almost done with it:

Cute kid, but she took exception to having her picture taken while eating. It's tough to live with so many cameras always following you. :-)

Even more impressive than her burger? I told her she could have some extra chips when she was done with it, and she held me to it. I left her at the table with the chips and dip. She dug in, and when I came back to check on her I saw this:

In case you can't tell, that's Viva with her spoon and the dip container. She ate her chips up and then decided to finish off the sour cream dip by the spoonful. Yuuuuum!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Bedtime Circus Ringleader

It's 10:40 pm and those little people we keep around the home are supposed to be sleeping. Their father, recently returned from Vegas, did a good job of getting teeth brushed/stories read/prayer said/tucked in all by 9:15 pm. 9 pm is my *goal*, but it's a loose goal. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.

Anyway. Kids tucked in, reminded that church comes bright and earlier... so why are they still awake?

Exhibit A:

She looks harmless enough, but that innocent sweet look can be a bit deceptive She CAN be sweet, and she IS an innocent little child... but... she is also the RINGLEADER!

I hear her in there with her new favorite expression "hey boys"!... followed by suggestions of mischief. Hide and seek. Imaginary safari trips. Stories being shared.

I love that they are friends, I really do. But it's bed time!

I sent her father to fetch her and put her nose in the hallway corner. She was not the least bit repentant. I heard her tell him that it doesn't matter what we say, they will still play games and talk together EVERY night. Emphasis on every, said with more than an ounce of defiance.

As I've said many times, it's a good thing they're cute. (and it's strange how much easier it is to be calm about their late night antics when their father was the one entertaning them all day... !!)

Paper Airplane Mania

Opa recently downloaded an origami app for the iPad.  Bentley started coming home with paper airplanes from church.  I pulled out a Klutz book of planes & paper that I picked up for free at a garage sale a couple years back.

What do all these have to do with each other?  It's not a concrete link, but put them all together and you get two little boys obsessed with paper airplanes and flying them.  They fly them both in and outside.  Inside we fly them through rooms, around corners, from the top of the staircase, bouncing off ceilings... !  We've rescued them from plants and the tall chandelier in the entry way.  :)

They fly them on the driveway and over the neighbors roof and over fences into yards with dogs (Opa went on a mission over to the next street to retrieve!).  They fly them at the playground and they go far and high.  They fly them into trees.  They love some wind to see how far they'll go.

Where do they get these beauties that fly?   They've talked Daddy into creating a few, he's a bigger fan of flying them - he tells me folding paper is not his specialty.  This is where Opa and the origami app that "rekindled" an interest in paper folding comes in.  Opa comes home for lunch and is often convinced to create new masterpieces. If not at lunch they give him a few minutes after he's walked in the door from work (maybe 2? maybe 3 minutes?!) and then show him new paper/new models they desire!

Luckily for them I found them not one, not two, but THREE new paper airplane "kits" at a garage sale today. The obsession can continue, for now!  It is fun to see how excited they get with this new pass time.  :)

For the truly dedicated of our blog viewers, here is a video (aka slide show!) of their recent trip to the playground to fly airplanes!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Viva the-not-shy

Viva, I believe, is my social butterfly and the least shy of the kiddos. I had further proof of this at church in the last couple weeks! Every Sunday, before the service starts, our church ward has a small child standing at the front of the chapel with folded armw - to model reverence/remind everyone to keep it down as they are arriving and getting settled in.

Once kids make it into Primary and out of nursery they end up on the rotation list and can expect to be asked to be the reverence child at some point. Bentley has given it a try before - he didn't last too long though, once people started showing up he couldn't take the pressure!

A few weeks ago we were early and the reverence child wasn't there, so Viva was asked if she wanted the job. She, of course, said yes. She stood very nicely with folded arms (although she did frown a little bit as the chapel filled up!). She did a perfect job. In fact, she was so determined to stand still and be reverent that she became stuck to the floor and when she was thanked for doing her job/told she could go back to her seat... she couldn't move! Her Father had to rescue her!

The following Sunday was Mother's Day. On holidays the primary kids often go up to the front to do a musical number. Bentley has opted out of this experience for the past year and a half - until this month! Viva lead the way, happy to go up with the group, and her brothers followed her. :)

I'm not sure they were actually singing, but there is always next time!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Peter Rabbit Fun

A week or two ago we took the kids to a local theater production for kids - The Adventures of Peter Rabbit!  It was very cute, I think it was the 4th one of their plays we've taken the kids too in the past year or so. Too bad the don't offer season passes!

This time we sat in the very front row - we let Bentley pick the seats and that's where he lead us. I'm happy to report they sat nicely without any talking for the entire play, they are turning into very good/polite event attendees. :).

The productions put on by this group use lots of little kids in them - I look at my three and try to guess which, if any of them, might want to be in this type of activity when they are a bit older. I still have no idea! Matt loved doing theater when he was younger (and I am sure he would still love doing it if he could just find 30 hours in the day instead of 24). I, on the other hand, was the child with my back to the audience during the entire Kindergarten play I was in. We'll wait and see who the kids take after!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

At the Playground!

I just posted some pictures of on the way to the playground, here's one Opa took of the twins AT the playground that I really like!

They love going down slides together.  Sometimes all 3 of them go down together.  The other day a friend was over and they had a four man pile up going down the slide at the same time on our playset.  :)

Off to the Playground they Go

Summer is here!

Well, if not summer, at least spring (or that time in between winter and summer we call spring in Alaska!). The kids often convince Grandma or Grandma & Opa or Daddy to walk over to the playground at the elementary school across the street. I'd say they end up there at least three or four days out of the week.

Here's how they are so persuasive - I think it's the cute factor:

Besides the cute factor it doesn't hurt that they LOVE being outside so much and take obvious joy in it. Plus the always present hope it will exhaust them and they will sleep more soundly at night!

Here they are 2 years ago, crazy!

And one more blast from the past on the way to the park shot because I can! No BOB yet this year for the walk to the park, they keep getting older on us.... :)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Brotherly Love (& the sometimes lack of it)

Grandma & Opa bought a new chair for their bedroom, a Opa bear sized chair! The kids (and the cat, on occasion!) think the chair is a lovely new addition to the room. Aren't these brothers cute?!
It's a good thing they are cute. Because they aren't always as sweet as one captured picture can make them appear. They engage in at least one *brawl* a day! Yesterday they were upstairs getting night clothes on and I heard a loud bang followed by loud screams. I grilled Viva for the scoop (those boys weren't talking!) and learned that Jake was sick of Bentley crying (over a story he wanted us to read and he blamed Jake for misplacing), so Jake pushed him into the closet door. Bentley, of course, pushed back and knocked his brother to the ground. And they can push hard!

Should I (could I?!) prevent all rough housing? I don't think it is possible. I didn't have brothers, and don't really have prior experience with small male siblings (or big ones, for that matter), but for the sake of sanity and my belief I am a decent parent I am going to have to stick with the "boys will be boys" motto. As long as they are loving AND tough, all on the same days, it is all good. All's well that ends well, right?!
P.S. - check out the cute matching shirts they have! Mementos Bentley brought back from Vegas. I know, we've featured the shirts before, here, but taking a picture of two is so much easier than three!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Puzzle Ball

The puzzle ball Bentley received for his birthday continues to be a big hit around here! Bentley pulls it out and plays it on occasion, the cat wishes he could roll it easier, and Jake spends quite a bit of time trying to master it.

Jake is not there yet. He concentrates hard, but somewhere along the way the ball drops (literally) in the maze. And then poor Jake snarls. He really does! The poor kid gets so frustrated! But, to his credit, he keeps coming back to it despite his frustrations along the way. He is not a quitter!

P.S. - this 2nd picture is a deceptive one.  I was holding the camera waiting for the moment when he scrunches up his face and shrieks with frustration (which always makes me tense and wait for him to throw the ball or something... !), but instead of looking stressed this time he smiled and threw his hands up in the air.  So I clicked anyway.  :)

Molasses Cookies = yum!

We are chocolate chip cookie lovers at our place. We have four or five different recipes we use, most of them involving the addition of some type of oatmeal or other breakfast cereal which allows me to falsely assign more nutritional value to the cookies than they deserve!

Once in a while we branch out to chocolate cookies with chocolate chips, or sometimes peanut butter with, you guessed it, chocolate! For some holidays we live on the edge and make sugar cookies without chocolate!
This past week I tried out some molasses ginger snap cookies with raisins in them. I do a biweekly lunch with a good friend and it sounded like the right excuse to try out a different recipe! I figured the kids wouldn't touch them, as they have scorned spice cookies in the past.

Instead.... they gobbled them down! They used words like delicious and yummy and "give me more"! Just goes to show they can still surprise me, I guess!

And today? They requested more of those same cookies. So off I go to please my mini keepers!

Monday, May 09, 2011


This is a back dated post. I'm writing it Jan 17, 2012. I was looking through all the old posts today to find out when Bentley started learning to read and the first post I could find about Bentley's reading lessons was in late August! He had finished the Headsprout program four weeks before that, but neither Kara not I had posted about B's reading until that late date. That's sad.

Leaning to read is a big deal. We should have made an announcement when he started his reading lessons. We didn't, but I can make it seem like we did. Here is the official statement that Bentley started the Headsprout reading program on (or around!) May 9, 2011.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

The Ballet: Take Two!

A few weeks ago Jake & I went to the ballet - it was mostly modern ballet, a collaboration of our local dance company with a company from Oregon.  Why did we go, you ask?!

Good question!  Way back when Viva checked out the Nutcracker with Grandma Karen and really enjoyed it.  Thinking my princess might enjoy more ballet, I found her a Native Fairy Tales ballet to go attend in Jan with her father on a date.  Here they are, about to head out the door:

Cute, right?

Jake was a little miffed about this.  He wanted to know why he didn't get to go to the ballet.  I didn't really have a good answer, so I dutifully headed back to the Performing Arts Center web page to find a ballet date for Jake & I.  Pickings were slim, so "Intersections" it was!

Jake was excited.  I talked it up and he talked it up all week before our big date, and I even convinced him to "dress up" (a button up shirt , not just a tshirt - fancy, right?!).  On the way into the theater I reminded him that once the curtain came up we could not talk AT ALL!  He rather indignantly told me "I know that, Mommy"!  I was uncertain how this experience would go, but he was angelic.  Not a single peep out of him, he paid close attention and clapped at all the right times!  

At intermission I asked him if he had seen enough of the dancers or if he wanted to see more.  After first trying to abdicate responsibility for the decision to me ("you decide, Mommy!  I dont' know!"), he then took ownership and told me he wanted to see "more, more more!".

We enjoyed our sparkly orange juice and cookie then headed back for the 2nd half where he was once again very well mannered.

The verdict from Jake?  He told me to find us some ballet to check out.

He did, however, clarify his feelings on ballet while on the phone with Uropa & Uroma: he enjoyed WATCHING the ballet, but he has no intention of DOING ballet.

I am sure his Dad will be relieved to hear it.  He has visions of karate I believe.


Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Musical Beds

All three children had slept in their beds for the past 15 nights so Sunday night they qualified for a night out of their beds. So...around 4AM Bentley came bursting through my bedroom door followed soon after by Jake who B must have woken up.

B had a minor bloody nose, so I helped him take care of it and then he requested that I go get his blanket from his bed. He usually brings it, but in his mad dash he must have forgotten it. I went into the bedroom and collected it. Poor Rameses was sitting on B's pillow waiting for him to return.

When I got back to my bedroom Jake requested that I collect a second blanket for him. Two blankets? Whatever, it's 4AM, I wasn't going to argue with a 3 year old. I went back to the children's bedroom. Rameses was still looking around waiting for B's return. Poor kitty. I petted the kitty, collected the blanket, covered Viva up, and returned to my bedroom.

This is when the fun started. B went to sleep. He's good that way. J squirmed and turned and was impossible, so I asked if he wanted to go sleep with his mom since his dad was in Barrow and she had a big bed to herself. He thought that would be a good plan.

I carried him down the hall and deposited him on daddy's side of the bed. Only to discover that in the last half hour Viva had abandoned her bed for her mom's bed. She was sleeping when we showed up, but...that changed.

Viva and Jake tormented their mom for the next forty minutes until she gave up on sleeping in the same bed as them and left. Her absence disturbed Jake. What's the point of sleeping in mom's bed, if there's no mom? He came back to my bed to complain.

"Mommy's not in bed." he told me "Ridiculous!" I told him. "Of course she is." (It was 5AM where else would she be?) "You didn't look hard enough!" I took him back to his mom's room to prove it to him. When I got there we discovered Viva crying in bed because she was all alone. All alone?

Just where was mommy? In Jake's bed. The twins trailed me back to their bedroom where Viva went back to her bed and Jake climbed in with mommy. Rameses tried to share Kara's pillow, but she wasn't as accommodating as B. I went back to my bed to sleep with B and opa.

Not the best night's sleep, but darn those kidlets are CUTE. Seriously! Totally worth a few missed hours of sleep. Tonight, however, they have to stay in their own beds. Except maybe Viva who didn't actually get a night in mommy's or grandma's bed. Technically neither did Jake, but he did get a night with mommy.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Three Charmers

Ipad Art from Opa.  :)  (Just click on the picture to view it larger!).

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Bentley's New Suit

Cutest 5 year old ever:

And his blast from the past:

My, how they grow!

When the kids were "little" (they are SO big now!) I would get excited about dressing them all up for the holidays - Christmas, Easter, special occasions.  Now the boys are getting a little bit bigger and more passionate about their clothing choices - it can be a challenge to dress them in MY idea of nice clothes.  For the most part I've given up and accepted their dress code of jeans and t-shirts; this isn't a battle worthy of fighting!

It's sad though - as they are awfully cute when all dressed up!  This past Sunday was Easter.  I had quizzed Bentley on if he wanted a suit, and he (of course) told me no.  His church dress code consists of sweaters and cords, all of the lovely button down dress shirts he owns languishing sadly in the closet.  Jake has a suit (as seen in the Easter photos), because he inherited one from Bentley.

Easter morning: Jake woke up in a more docile mood than normal, so I decided to go for it and throw the suit on him over his protests.  I figured he was too dazed to protest.  It worked!

Unfortunately, Jake looked SO good (this is my take on it?!) that Bentley took notice.  He asked where his suit was, and almost tears ensued when I reminded him that he didn't own one!  Why spend the money if they won't wear it, right?!  He told me that he really really wanted a suit, that he wanted to pick it, and that he intended to wear it every Sunday.  This all said in almost tears!

I am no fool.  I jumped on this yearning.  Bentley and I went on a shopping date Monday to suit him up.  He was a very cute shopper - he had definite opinions on the different styles and colors of suits.  He tried them all on, checked them out in the mirror, and picked what he wanted.  Then he told me he needed just the right tie and shirt to go with it all!  He looked at all the choices and made a lovely choice - then we headed home where he modeled it all for the family and we put it in the closet for today.

Luckily (I had a FEW fears!) he woke up today still very excited about his new church gear.  Apparently he told everyone at church that he met up with about his new suit and how he picked it.  And he still intends to wear it every week he tells me.  He looks very spiffy and grown up!

Extra perk?  Seeing Bentley get all dressed up this morning inspired Jake to wear HIS suit again too.  I love it!

and 1 more pic w/Daddy (maybe I can convince Bentley and Jake to pose together sometime? that would be crazy, but the planets may align!):