Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Thoughts on Jesus

Jake tells me he doesn't much like Jesus. I, of course, had to ask why. Even though it was past his bedtime and he was supposed to be sleeping...

he doesn't like Jesus because Jesus made the night, and he doesn't like the night. He thinks we shouldn't have night, it should be all day.

I sympathize with him, but as a tired adult I'm very glad Jesus made day AND night time for us. And I guess I have some work to do with him on his relationship with Jesus?!

Summer Fun

We've had a GORGEOUS summer, and I just want to make sure it's "in the record"! We had some days of rain, sure, but over all we had blue skies and plenty of lovely sun filled days to play outside. Whenever camping was on the schedule the weather obliged, which I thought was very nice.

And check out our gorgeous green grass (and gorgeous children!) yesterday:

Maybe we'll get lucky and have an extended fall season too? Only time will tell, my fingers are crossed that the snow doesn't fly TOO soon!

Baby Lincoln at 6ish Weeks!

An update on Lincoln and his newest baby tricks:

1) smiles! I haven't managed to capture a great one with the camera yet; but hopefully soon. His biggest smiles are for Great-Grandma, I also saw him pull out some good ones for Bentley when his brother did "moooo" cow noises for him yesterday.

2) sleeping! Last night he slept for 8 hours! I don't know if he'll repeat this trick any time soon but I thought it was quite marvelous.

3) squeals! He still prefers grunts, but sometimes entertains us with other lovely baby noises too.

4) arm smacking! Sometimes he goes crazy with his arms, waving them all over the place. If you put your face close to his he wil reach out his arms and try to smack it. I think he's trying to figure out how close we are to him. :)

5) great faces. He has great expressions! I particularly love the look of disgust when we give him a pacifier and it's not what he wants. The combined wrinkling of the face and the gagging/choking noise convey his thoughts quite well!

Our little guy is very alert and likes to look ALL over during the day - sometimes it seems like he doesn't hardly sleep because he's too busy watching everything. I hope he doesn't think he's going to give up napping any time soon, because that's not going to happen!

and, of course, we have some new pictures of our baby champ.

Lincoln in hat:

Lincoln sleeping:

Lincoln looking curious:

Two tricks! Sleeping AND wearing a hat! :-):

Lincoln looking at me, because the click of the camera woke him up:

Coming up next? Pictures of Lincoln and his support staff!

Off to the Fair!

We made our annual trek to the State Fair this past weekend. This was Bentley's 5th annual trip, and Viva & Jake's 4th - I think we have a tradition here! We left Lincoln home to bond with his Grandparents and Great-Grandma, as we figured a day in the baby carrier wouldn't sound too fun to a 6 week old!

I had anticipated a 4-5 hour trip, but the kids were having a great time. We left a little before noon and didn't get home until a little after midnight. And the troops were great sports the whole time, wow!

We started out with the annual Lumberjack show. Then we had to head over to the rides (of course). The merry go round, the ferris wheel, the mini roller coaster... fun fun. Then we took in a Pirate show, and saw some farm animals/vegetables/flowers and tractors. Next up? The BMX bike stunt show. It was cut short due to rain on the ramps but nonetheless the boys were enthralled. The boys & Matt played some mini golf (yes, at the state fair). We wandered through the motor homes. We spent 2 hours watching Army bands perform LOUD music while our children danced like maniacs. We ate fair food, of course. I thought the fried cheese curds were delicious but no one else agreed. They favored the fried turkey legs and the funnel cakes and the kettle corn... :).

The evening ended with the fireworks and some flaming baton twirling.

It was a great time; but I'm glad it's only once a year. I'm exhausted just reliving it in my head!

Here's a picture of Matt & I at the Lumberjack show (I know... you're all looking for kid pictures! But this is my placeholder image, as the rest of the pics are on Matt's camera which is with him in D.C. right now):

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sunday Portrait

On Sunday the family goes to church. This past year we’ve had 9AM church which is trial given that the children are usually still in bed at 9AM. (Bentley not so much, but Viva definitely and Jake often.) The children have to be drug out of bed and put into their Church clothes. Viva has a great selection of Sunday dresses and the past six months or so the boys have been wearing their suits on Sunday. The trio is mighty fine looking. Right after church last Sunday (before the children went into the house), I had Mark grab his camera and we attempted to get a few photos. Viva pitched a crying fit when I let Jake have the baby first. It’s not easy working with three (now four) children five and under.

Here’s a sample of what we were able to capture:

Sunday Steak

On the way home from church this afternoon, Viva said ""Yippee! We get some steak tonight!" Bentley and Jake picked up her line and they started singing/chanting it in three part harmony. Sunday evenings are reserved for Grandpa Tim and Grandma Karen. Matt takes the threesome up the hill (they live a mile or so further up the hillside) to eat dinner with their grandparents.

Grandpa Tim is a meat and potatoes guy. He likes to cook and one of his favorite meals is steak on the BBQ. This is fortunate for Bentley because one of Bentley's very favorite meals is rare steak and Grandpa Tim cooks a great, rare steak--the bloodier the better, the boy tells me. He won't eat steak that isn't bloody.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Fungus Fair Fun--Or Not

Mark and I took the trio to Girdwood with us to check out the annual Fungus Fair. The name implies that attendees will have a good time: FUNgus Fair. Unfortunately while rain is excellent for growing mushrooms, it rather killed the fun factor on our trip.

Mushrooms are a new interest of Mark’s so he wanted to check out the fair and maybe make a few contacts to help him identify some of the mushrooms he has photographed over the past two weeks. The fair is a relatively new event (4th year) at the Alyeska Day Lodge. There were 40 or more samples of local mushrooms to view, books and t-shirts for sale, and lectures to listen to. The trio checked out the mushrooms and then became bored while opa checked out the books. We listened to part of a lecture and sampled some pickled mushrooms. Viva said the one sample (served on a cracker) tasted like pizza. I do not agree with her. It was tasty enough, but pizza flavored?! No.

There wasn’t a lot to do at the fungus fair, but we hadn’t really expected there would be. We lured the trio to Girdwood with a promise of a visit to the playground there—a few different parents have told me that the Girdwood community playground is nice enough to be worth the 40 minute drive up the highway. I did not think the playground was that special.

Unfortunately although it wasn’t raining in Anchorage, it was in Girdwood. The children opted to play in the rain, but it was rather wet and therefore the slides were not useable. I tried to dry one off, but it was still quite wet. Only Viva went down. She doesn’t care if she gets wet.

We tried to purchased cookies at the Bake Shop, but opa had no money in his wallet and the shop did not take credit cards. Seriously?! Turns out it was just as well because when I asked how much the cookies were—thinking I might be able to scavenge enough coins out of my parking meter stash in the ashtray—I was informed they were $3.75—EACH! Insane. I told the children they could have cookies when we got home—as many as they wanted. Jake ate seven. (They were small.)

Next year Mark and I will go to the fair on our own. Or maybe we’ll skip it. Unless the lectures are particularly fascinating (which seems unlikely), we can find lots of mushrooms to look at much closer to home.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Vive and Lincoln

Since the big brothers got a picture post, here is one of Viva with her brother. Viva is a good helper, she fed him an entire bottle earlier today! She is also always willing to sit with him if I ask her to watch him, and she likes to help give him baths. She's a great big sister!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Our New Reader!

Bentley finished an 80 lesson reading program (Headsprout Early Reading) on the computer. It took him just 11 weeks. (He started May 9th and finished July 25th.) At first he did two lessons a day, but towards the end he only did one. He worked hard. Most days he was excited to do it, but there were a few days he had to be encouraged.

Kara purchased this program for Bentley because he wasn't interested in learning to read with us when we tried the Bob Books. He was quite eager to do Headsprout Early Reading. Now Jake wants to have his turn at it. Viva tells me that I have to find her a princess reading program. The Headsprout program is okay, but it's not phonics based, so now we have to work on giving Bentley a solid phonics foundation.

Bentley's able to read short books with simple words in them, although he can occasionally sound out a four syllable word. He doesn't always like to sound out unfamiliar words, but after a few more months of solid reading practice he'll be so good at it that he won't notice he's doing it. That's our goal!

When Lincoln was born and he and Kara were still at the hospital, I drove the trio over there to visit them. The children brought with them books from home to share with Lincoln. I was quite surprised when Bentley read one of the books to the twins and I on the drive to the hospital. This is the first book (other than the ones that were part of the reading program) that Bentley has read himself: "One Duck Stuck".

We are all excited to have another reader in our home. We have so many books that need to be read and enjoyed. We need more readers!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Pretty Baby

Because it has been TOO long since a baby picture.

Isn't that a lovely smile? Lincoln doesn't smile ALL the time yet, but once in a while we get a grin out of him. I have even seen him grin at his siblings. Brave boy; encouraging their attention!

Bentley the Brilliant Author

Bentley has started writing his own short stories. The first two are below, for your enjoyment. :)

The tree was very big so the bear couldn't climb the tree and then a snake came to the bear and he killed the bear.

:) Very nice story, right?!

Gus and Vee were playing baseball at the park and the ball went high up in the sky.

Not quite as dramatic as the first story, but also a nice one. :)

Time with the Big Brothers!

Hiking Buddies

Matt, for years and years, has been dissapointed that I'm not the ideal hiking buddy. I have a bad hip and am not normally (read as 99% of the time) up for the *fun* of a long walk or hike. Which is a shame, because my husband loves both of those activities!

Jake and Viva are okay with a walk, as long as BOB (aka the stroller) is involved. Bentley? Not so into it lately.

But last weekend Matt found the right wording to convince the boys to head out with enthusiasm. Instead of using words like "walk" or "hike"... he used the word run! Bentley was bouncing with joy to get out the door for the chance for a good run on the trail. And Jake? Jake is always up for whatever his big brother wants to do. So off they went.

Hopefully (for Matt) the enthusiasm continues!

Raspberry Season!

Raspberries are one of the few fruits all three kids can agree are delicious (if Bentley wasn't in the mix I'm sure the list would be a lot longer!). Earlier this year we got some great raspberries in at Costco, and the kids all really enjoyed them. Now it's picking season, and the combination of picking their own AND being able to eat them makes it even more fun to the kids.

Unfortunately the moose also like raspberries, and in the blur of new baby fun we didn't check our raspberries as soon as we should have. So some of them are already past their prime. Ah well, there's always next year.

And as for this year? We still had fun picking, here's Bentley proudly displaying his harvest:

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

One Month Old!

Another picture. Because I can. :)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Jake's Obsession

Jake continues to cut and cut and cut. We have piles of little pieces of construction paper that Jake has cut. First it was book marks. Now it’s money. It drives his mother crazy. Truthfully, it drives us all crazy because Jake has a habit of giving away his bookmarks and money and then checking back in to see if you still have them. He expects you to show them to him, so you can’t just tell him they’re safe. He gets quite upset if you can’t locate them.

It’s even worse when he finds his own storage place for his paper treasures. He still expects you to be able to find them for him when you have no idea where he put them. He has a meltdown every few days over missing paper. He’s a little OCD. I’m not sure how to deal with him sometimes. Help him find the paper? Encourage him to get over the loss? Run and hide?

Saturday night is a prime example. Jake made bandaids. He took small strips of orange paper and added tape to make them little rings—or bandaids as he informed us. He made ten or so and then cut the rest of the paper into short and long strips which he informed us were money. Then he handed out his treasures. Great-grandma received a few bandaids as did I. I set mine aside. A short time later he informed me that he wanted them back tomorrow morning. Later he clarified that it wouldn’t be early in the morning, but part way through the morning.

At bedtime, he verified that I understood that I was to keep watch over the bandaids and return them in the morning. He asked about great-grandma’s bandaids and if they were safe. I assured him they were. I did not go and verify this which turned out to be a mistake, but seriously who has time to babysit a pile of bandaids?!

After church Sunday morning Jake asked for his bandaids. I produced mine. Great-grandma had lost hers—which is odd since she doesn’t move around much. I don’t think Jake made it clear to her that she would have to give them back. I told Jake great-grandma has used her bandaids. Yes, I fabricated a story. That’s how difficult it is to deal with Jake!

Things were fine until Jake started in on his money. Where was his money?! Well, I asked him, where did you leave it? He didn’t know. Kara thought maybe it was upstairs with his hoard of bandaids. I located two baggies filled with paper scraps. I tried to convince him the money was in one of the bags. No go. There weren’t any (or enough? or the right size?) orange scraps.

Then Jake remembered that he’d left his money on the kitchen floor when he went to bed. His mom had put it away. Eventually we got his mom to check on where she’d put yesterday’s art projects. She found the money. Jake calmed down.

A short while later he handed me a stack of blue money. I immediately went and found an envelope and put the money in it and labeled it. I am not going to be responsible for the next meltdown. And I’m not going to lie again, either.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

4 Weeks Old!

Our Lincoln is almost 1 month old, he hit 4 weeks yesterday! He is up almost 3 lbs in one month; he is on a mission to skip right through my 0-3 month clothing collection. Lucky for him my 3-6 month collection is quite extensive. :)

He's not much into baby talk, but he does grunt well. I've been telling him that he needs to add some better baby sounds to his vocabulary, we'll see if he takes his Mom's advice to heart or not.

Lincoln is still an expert roller (from tummy to back). We joke he can crawl because he can scoot forward about a foot if you leave him on the floor. It does take him some time though! He is also becoming more engaged with his toys. He can hit them (perhaps accidentally, but it still counts... right?) and will spend half an hour staring at his play mat on a good day. Staring, staring, staring... taking it all in. His brother Bentley cheers him on and tells him what a great job he's doing. Sometimes he even grabs his arm and helps him punch the toys!

He loves people and being held. He likes staring at faces. And, of course, his favorite activity? Eating. Or sleeping. Or maybe eating WHILE sleeping? Hmmm...

He's a good looking sleeper:

Yes, yes. That's more sleeping baby pictures. But he spends at least two thirds of his time sleeping!

We're looking forward to seeing what the next 4 weeks bring, it's hard to believe how quickly babies grow. So we're taking lots of pictures and trying to enjoy every minute of it.

We love you, Baby Lincoln! We're so glad you're here and a part of our family.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Checkin' Out Great-Grandma

Great Grandma's view every morning:

Ok. So this isn't her view EVERY morning. Often he falls asleep on her so the view is slightly different. :-) He spends an hour or two of quality bonding time every morning with Grandma after she eats, and often more time through out the day.

Lincoln and Great-Grandma are good buddies. He likes people to hold him. She is available, and a perfect holder. She talks to him, she pats him, she holds still and lets him sleep. She feeds him. She cuddles him. What's not to love, right?

I (& Lincoln!) are lucky to have the perfect baby holder in residence!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Lincoln & Jake Boy

I just realized I didn't have any pictures of Jake & Lincoln posted yet! So here we have it:

When Jake came to the hospital to meet his brother for the first time he said:

"Wow, this baby is sooo cool!"
followed by:
"Is this baby real?"

Love the first part, not sure where he was going with the second!

Sometimes he calls Lincoln "my baby", as in "Mommy, I hope you and your baby sleep well!". Sometimes he calls him "our baby", as in "Mommy, our baby is the best baby ever." Whichever it is, it's all good. He likes his brother and I'm glad!

Another funny Jake quote on Lincoln- when we were heading out to a birthday party a few days ago he asked me:

"When we get back will Lincoln be all grown up?"

We're still trying to explain aging around here. As evidenced by the fact that Viva recently asked Great Grandma when she's going to be a baby again. Reverse aging. Cool.

Fun with Grandma Vicki!

Grandma Vicki came to visit this past week. We were so excited! The kids had a long list of "kid tricks" and games they were waiting to show her. They enjoyed new books and activities that she brought from her "magic" suitcase full of goodies, they read LOTS of stories, played outside (when the weather permitted), taught her some of their favorite games, built puzzles, colored together, and even gave her some time to hold baby Lincoln!

Come back soon, Grandma! There is never a shortage of fun times to be had around here. :)

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Napping Time

Outside of occasionally rolling over, and gazing intensely at people, Lincoln spends a lot of time sleeping. He is very good at it. So here are some shots of him sleeping!

Do you think I may be obsessed with taking pictures of my sleeping baby? Maybe. But can you blame me? He's cute! And, to my credit, I am restraining myself. I have many more but I'm only sharing a few. :-)

P.S. - do you notice all the different people holding baby? I think Lincoln picked our home to come join because he knew he wouldn't lack for warm bodies to hold him while he naps. Lucky kiddo!

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Baby Feeders

Lincoln's older siblings like him, which is good. They don't really hold him too often though. They have a sudden strong desire to see him after they are tucked into bed at night (they prey on weakness, and know I won't refuse the "please, can we kiss our baby good night, Mommy"?). They like to walk by and pat him on the head. They like to grab his feet/hands and kiss them. They'll sit next to him on the floor and entertain him. But hold him? Not so much.

BUT! Yesterday I had finished making Viva & Jake sandwiches, and then Lincoln woke up demanding a bottle. I told Bentley that I would make him lunch as soon as I'd fed the baby. Bentley said: "How about you go make me my lunch, and I'll feed the baby?!".


He looked just a little anxious. But he did great work.

Once he wanted to feed the baby it became in *cool* thing to do, and Viva gave it a shot too:

Luckily our baby is easy going. As long as the food shows up it's okay with him if a little person is the one providing bottle holding service. :-)

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Happy (belated) Birthday, Grandma!

I'm a bit slow, but as briefly noted by my Mother she had a birthday about 10 days ago! We had a fun day together, and were able to share the evening with Ruth & Sean who were still visiting. Poor Grandma had to help me with her cakes and decorations, but some years are like that - right?! In exchange she has an awfully cute new grandkid so I figure it all evens out. :-)

We had angel food cake and a flourless chocolate cake. It was quite good. I can say that, because that's the one I had her working on creating.

Happy (belated) birthday, Mom! I found a lovely quote that sums up how I feel on the great big world wide web the other day:

"The only thing better than having you for a Mom is my children having you for a Grandma."

We are lucky to have so much great time with Grandma Julia!