Friday, September 30, 2011

Digging Potatoes

Every fall the grandchildren go up the hill to Grandpa Tim's to dig potatoes. Grandpa Tim is a dedicated gardener. You have to be to garden in Anchorage. It's hard work. The growing season is short. Our extra hours of summer sunshine here in the north help grow super-sized cabbages and pumpkins, but the lack of heat makes it impossible to grow any hot weather crops (beans, most corn, melons, peppers, etc.). You can grow tomatoes, but it requires extra work and the payoff usually isn't stellar.

I've tried vegetable gardening. More than once. It was not a happy experience. The moose eat the peas and trample the carrots. The slugs leave a slime trail on the broccoli and drill holes in the kohlrabi. The potatoes suffer from potato scab. I stick to flowers now, but I applaud Grandpa Tim for keeping at it with food crops. He grew up on farm and he takes his gardening seriously. This is great for the grandchildren.

Jake and Bentley mined for potatoes twice this week with Grandpa Tim. Both Bentley and Grandpa Tim commented on Jake's overexuberance with the shovel--dirt and rocks go everywhere. The boys had a great time.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Idaho Fun

Viva had an awesome time on vacation with her Dad - she didn't miss the rest of us at all! In fact; I'm not sure she spared us more than two thoughts the entire week. She was too busy enjoying new people and new adventures and having a grand time of it. Good for her! (although... she could have lied and told me she missed me a LITTLE bit, right?! :)).

As always, a picture is worth a thousand words. So here are a few.

The big birthday bash for Grandma Darlene's 80th!

4 generations!

Climbing trees with Grandpa Tim.

Big vehicles, with big wheels! (an afternoon with cousin Chris and his wife, Sam!)

Jake says he's ready for a vaction with Daddy. When Bentley was just back from Vegas Jake wanted to go to Vegas... Now that Viva is home with Idaho stories Jake says Idaho! I told him to boldly go somewhere new; we shall see.

Grandma Darlene asked Viva to come back soon. Viva told her that she would, but not next year. "Why not?" inquired Grandma Darlene. Viva told her she's already booked for 2012 - she hopes to head back to Mexico! Funny kid, she has her plans down!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

New PJs

It's that time of year when we put away the children's summer sleepers and haul out the winter ones. Of course, given their young ages, they keep growing out of one size and new ones have to be purchased. Not so much for Jake, who gets mostly hand-me-downs from Bentley, but he's okay with that.

Some years we are more willing to look for great sales than other years. This year was a "let's just buy them at Costco and be done with it" year. Viva didn't really need any new sleepers because Kara had purchased some princess nighties online last year and she had picked up a few sleepers at garage sales. (It's hard to find good used sleepers because they often lose their softness after many washings.) Even though Viva had enough sleepers to get from wash day to wash day, I bought her one new one because it was purple and pink with ballerinas on it--just perfect for our Viva!

Jake got two new sleepers. One had a firetruck on it and one had pirates. I also bought Bentley two new ones: one had a T-Rex and other had rocket ships. Bentley liked his new sleepers until he saw Jake's pirate sleeper. He wanted one like that because "it was scary." (Isn't that what we all want in a sleeper?! Something that will induce nightmares?)

Since Bentley needed more than two sleepers (he had zero to start with), I went back to Costco and purchased another three sleepers. One was footed. Kara hates footed sleepers, but the boys still like them. Bentley asked for me to dig out the winter sleepers a couple of weeks ago so he could have protection on his feet.

Protection from what? The dang cat! Sometimes in the middle of the night Rameses wants to play and so he will attack Bentley's feet while the poor boy is sleeping. Since Bentley usually doesn't keep his feet under the covers, Rameses' sneak attacks can result in scratches on B's feet. We've given Bentley a squirt bottle filled with water to chase the cat off. It only kinda works. The cat will leave and then come back. He's a young cat and loves to play.

(Please note that in the above photo Bentley is standing on his tiptoes. He is taller than Jake, but not by four inches.)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Jake's Paper Projects

Jake has been working hard the past few weeks creating paper masterpieces. Using tape (plenty of it!) and paper, he created a gun with eight or so batteries. Batteries?! Sure, why not? He cut out a large comb and then asked me to put it on cardboard. I did. He used it for a couple of days.

One night Viva called from Idaho and she was very upset because she had lost her purple hairbow on the plane. I assured her (like her father already had) that we would purchase another one. It wasn't a big deal. (Kara had anticipated just such a thing happening and so she didn't pack any of our favorites from Viva's hairbow collection.) What does this have to do with Jake? Well the first thing the morning after Viva's call he made her a new hairbow--from purple construction paper. It's quite pretty, but I'm not sure about his plan to tape it on her head.

Jake's ultimate paper project is his knight's outfit. Bentley has been trying to figure out how to make a suit of armor from paper but has been stymied. Jake's approach to design is more hands-on. He just starts cutting and taping and creating. He may one day have an paper art show of his very own! (Does that mean we have to keep all his creations?! He's very prolific.)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Friday Night at the Bookstore

What is one of our favorite places to visit? The bookstore! All three children love to visit bookstores as do all the adults in the house. We were all very sad when Borders closed earlier this year. Every time I drive by where their store was I'm reminded of our loss. We still have a Barnes and Noble in town, but it's not close to our home and their prices aren't that great, so it's not a store we visit that often. Matt has taken the children there when he has one-on-one daddy time and they love it.

The book store we visited on Friday was a used book store, Title Wave. It's huge and--best of all--I have oodles of credit there, so we can shop "for free". Mark and I took the boys there after dinner. I told the boys they could each pick out two books and then I left them with their opa while I went looking for mysteries.

I think we were tat the store for forty-five minutes or so. Mark will tell you it was longer, but we got there after eight and the store closed at nine. I stressed Bentley out by waiting until the last minute to check out. He was convinced they weren't going to let us get our books.

What books did the boys choose? Bentley wanted (yet another) drawing book. This time he chose a dinosaur drawing book. His second choice was a nonficiton book about reptiles. Jake also chose an animal drawing book (following his big brother's lead), but with a monkey on the cover. He told me it showed how to draw girl monkeys, too. (I think the monkey had a purple bow in her hair?) His second choice was a book about dinosaurs. We have lots of books about dinosaurs, but opa said he picked that book after being talked out of a book on football. (Huh?) Jake is rather random in his book choices. When we go to the library he's always the first one finished picking books...wait...maybe that's Viva. Maybe Jake is the slow one--always changing his mind? Whatever! The three kidlets love books and we love that about them.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Gorgeous Fall!

It's almost the end of September, and we've had a GORGEOUS month! No frost yet, beautiful colors on the trees, and lovely sun. It has been nice and the kids have been loving the extra nice weather time outside.

Lucky us!

The boys, headed out for a walk with Grandma and Opa tonight:

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Zoo Fun!

We have a annual zoo pass, but I am not always great at using it. This fall I am trying to do a better job of getting over there - the animals are nice, yes, but even more than that we like all the trails the kids can race along to burn off energy!

We made it this past week, and two weeks before that. Now the trick will be to keep up with the good intentions once the snow flies!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Off to Idaho!

Matt and Viva set off for Idaho on Wednesday morning. Great Grandma Darlene turns 80 on Monday they are there for the festivities! Daddy sends me iPhone photos as proof he still has Viva - I need the photos because the sweet girl isn't too interested in talking to us on the phone... She looks slightly crazed in the pictures, I will warn, but that's just what happens when Daddy is in charge! Looks like they are having a great time, we can't wait to hear the full scoop from Viva when she returns and we can easily command her full attention. :)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Some Days...

All the pictures are *out takes*!

We did Lincoln's baby blessing at church today, I tried to convince the kids to look cute and pose together when we got home. Their idea of posing was different than mine. Some days are like this!

(Bentley asked to hold his brother - didn't he do a good job?! :)).

Friday, September 16, 2011

Ballerinas and Skeletons

Despite the seeming lack of connection between ballerinas and skeletons... I think these two look pretty good together!

Lincoln's outfit glows in the dark. How lucky is he?! :)

Meal Time Buddies

Bentley has taken to eating some of his meals next to his brother. He drags a chair up from downstairs, and sits and talks to Lincoln while he eats. He tells me he doesn't want his brother to be lonely - he's an awesome big brother! Lincoln often smiles as soon as he sees his brother show up, he knows how lucky he is to have Bentley!

Lincoln at 2 Months!

Lincoln had his 2 month check up with the Dr. today, which comes with 4 immunizations (ouch, poor kid!). He's still gaining well - he's already at 13 lbs 4 ounces which puts him in the 90th percentile. Matt and I aren't used to having a fast growing baby! He's 23.6 inches long, so growing right along height wise too. Go baby, grow! But not too fast - we enjoy cuddling with our little guy.

The Dr. was impressed with how strong he is, and how well he can track movement with his eyes. He also favored the Dr. with some big toothless grins to show the Dr. how sociable he is. :)

In other "Lincoln" news... he still sleeps, eats, sleeps, and eats. He favors us with lots of beautiful grins (he has smiles for his siblings too!) and even provides some conversation once in a while. He's working on grabbing things with his cute little hands.

And that's that! It's been two quick months already, that's for sure. We can't wait to see what our little guy is doing in two more!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Our Young Gymnasts

Since Viva finally got to take a ballet class, it was only fair that the boys get a chance to do something, too. On Thursday Kara took them over to try out a gymnastics class to see if they wanted to sign up for the semester.

The class is limited to eight boys aged 4-6 years. Only two of the four regulars showed up on Thursday afternoon, so the instructor to student ratio was four-to-one. The other two boys were 5 or 6, so Jake was the youngest. Kara watched the class and she said that both Jake and Bentley had a great time. She was a little anxious when she saw Bentley take on the balance beam--he raced down it and jumped off without any hesitation. Hmmm, I hadn't pegged him for dare devil. Kids are full of suprises.

The boys loved the instructor, a young man. They loved the high activity level of the class. Their favorite activity? Hide and seek. I didn't even know hide and seek was part of a gymnast's training! I'm not sure it really was their favorite activity. It was the last thing they did before the class got over and children that age have short memories. They both came running out of the class asking their mom to sign them up so they could come again next week.

The dress code for the class is no jeans. Kara had to drag out the boys' shorts which they did not wear at all this summer. They only wear shorts when they go on vacation to somewhere really warm. Surprisingly, they didn't give us a hard time about wearing them. Kara is going to take them shopping this week for sweat pants.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Wet Fall Fun

September has not been very sunny. The vast majority of the time it has just finished raining, it's raining, or it's about to rain--in other words it's WET. There are puddles everywhere. This doesn't prevent the children from going outside (they love their umbrellas and rainboots), but it makes it hard to trek in the woods or go down slides.

The children have found some great wet activities. Yesterday Jake opened his last unopened Christmas gift. It was a remote control amphibian vehicle, the gator. It was designed to float on water. We don't have deep enough puddles for the vehicle to float, but we do have a puddle on the driveway that it can drive through. Bentley spent an hour yesterday driving the gator around. When he took it outside today I asked him why Jake hadn't tried it out yet. He told me that Jake was concerned that he wouldn't like playing with it. You can see why Jake never gets around to opening his toys, can't you? (Kara will tell you that I have this same problem. I have a hard time using new purchases. It's not a good habit to have.)

After both boys played with the gator, Bentley decided to "write" on the porch. This is a new activity that he discovered last week. He got the badmitton birdie bottom wet and then wrote words on the porch deck. I suggested he use something other than the badmitton birdie as I didn't want it damaged. His mom gave him a foam brush. Today when he started painting the porch, Jake asked for his own brush. I gave him one and he delightedly "painted" the porch boards for quite some time.

After a while Bentley decided that fun as it was to paint the porch with water, perhaps it would be even more exciting to draw with chalk on the driveway. Guess what he drew? (If you read this blog, you ought to have a pretty good guess.) A large, blue dragon.

Viva finally joined the boys in their painting activities. Viva, of course, went for the messier acitivity, drawing with chalk. You can count on her to do that. Bentley came in one time to complain that she was eating the chalk. She denied the charge. Who knows what was going on.

The children are now allowed to play outside on their own as long as more than one of them is outside. They've been doing this for a week or so. We discussed bears and moose and stray dogs and set them free. It's a new chapter in their lives and in our lives.

What kind of crises do the children have when on their own? Jake came in because he scraped his finger on the pavement when drawing with chalk and needed a band-aid. Bentley came in to complain that Jake got him wet. Jake came in because he wanted his shoe cleaned when he stomped on a spider that had the audacity to walk on his water painting. Bentley came in to complain that Viva was eating chalk. Jake came in when he fell and got his forearms dirty. Bentley came in to tell us that Viva broke the gator.

Do you notice the pattern here? Bentley comes in to inform of us his siblings' inappropriate behavior. Jake comes in to get his owies made better. Viva does not come in at all.

Monday, September 12, 2011

8 Weeks Old!

8 weeks, and almost 2 months old! Hard to believe how quickly they grow, we went to check out new cousin Enoch and it's amazing how big he makes our Lincoln look. :)

Some days Lincoln naps; and some days it seems like he is awake ALL day long! He spends longer playing on his different "activity gyms" on the floor, but when he is done playing and wants to be picked up... he lets us know. Right away. :)

We're starting to hear some baby talking noises, and it's easier to get big wide open mouthed and eye crinkling smiles out of him. He's too cute!

Ballet for Blonds

Today was Viva's first day of ballet class. She was very excited to go. She's been asking for the past twenty days when it would start. I took her because the class is at my workout club. Although I had good intentions to get there early, we only arrived two minutes or so before the official start of class.

Upon entering the classroom I was rather startled to see seven small, blond girls dressed in pink leotards, one blond girl in a black leotard, and one red-head in a pink outfit. They all looked alike to me. My first thought was that they were all wearing outfits form their last recital, but upon closer examination I noticed the girls were dressed a little differently from each other. There were no brunettes. Which is odd because when I picture a prima ballerina, she's a brunette. Right?!

I left Viva in the class and ran off to get in my workout before the 45 minute class was over. When I returned, the class was still going and I watched for the last few minutes. I was checking out how Viva was doing, when I realized that her hair had come out of her bun and she was wearing a pink ribbon...wait, Viva had a black flower in her hair. Oops, I was watching the wrong little girl! Really, this class was filled with blond ballerina clones. Freaky! (Two more girls in black leotards had joined the class after I left, so there were four blonds in black to confuse me.)

What did Viva think of the class?

"They wanted us to show them our favorite dance. We danced. We played games."

Did you twirl?

"Oh yeah."

Was it fun?


This interview is going very slow!

"That's all I remember. We played a lot."

Do you want to go back next week?

"Uh-huh. It was too fun."

Maybe she'll give us more next week. Maybe.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Cute Baby

What can I say... he's still at that young age where the tricks are few. Despite that, he's awfully cute. Here he is, sleeping... yet again. :)

Mushroom Hunters

Their photos may not be of the same caliber as Opa's... BUT... they do have fun trekking through the woods behind the house on the search for mushrooms with Opa!

It looks quite lovely back there - maybe I should venture into our "back yard" this year before the snow hits?! :)

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Bentley's Dragon Gallery

Ever since cousin Ruth visited with her hubby Sean, Bentley has been on a drawing kick. Sean, if you remember, could draw awesome dragons. Bentley drew dozens of dragons before branching out and drawing monsters. He gives away a lot of his work, but he keeps some for his own private gallery.

Kara purchased him a book on how to draw dragons and the two pencil sketches on the top row he drew following the instructions in the book. I think they are incredible. He talked his mom into buying him another book, so there should be more dragons in the coming weeks. Viva asked her mom for a princess drawing book.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Dr Who

The young trio watch Dr Who with their opa. He makes sure that they don't get frightened if the show gets scary. He explains as best he can the plot. Of course watching your favorite tv show with three young children asking lots of questions can affect your enjoyment; Opa found that he needed to watch the edisode a second time, alone, to fully appreciate the nuances of the show. Dr Who is very a complex show--or so I've been told. I myself am not an avid fan.

The kidlets are! All three get quite excited when new Dr Who episodes are aired. This season, series six, had seven episodes in April through June. On Saturday mornings the trio would inquire about when they'd get to watch the new episode. When the show went into hiatus, Viva kept asking when it'd be back.

Last Saturday saw the return of the series for six more episodes. AWESOME news for opa and the trio.

(FYI: This show is educational. The children can identify Big Ben because of Dr Who.)

Friday, September 02, 2011


Here's a smile!  One of many he provided us with, sweet baby!

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Insight (ha!) Into Viva's Mind

I've been working on a dollhouse for the kids.  I received it free off of Freecycle a few years back (yes, you read that right - years!) and it has been an ongoing project.  I'm getting serious about finishing it, maybe, and today was working on painting the floors to make them all nice and pretty.  I had the floor boards in the library, with the door shut.

Bentley came running to let me know Viva was walking on the painted boards that were drying on the floor.  I wasn't TOO alarmed because I hoped the paint was about dry.  Nonetheless, I figured I should have a conversation with the sweet child about her behavior.

me: viva, did that look like something you should walk on?
viva: no
me: then why did you do it?
viva: i don't have a single thought on that

Yep.  That's my daughter.  Cute, but a little defiant at times.