Monday, October 31, 2011

Tricks for Treats

You may have noticed child #4 missing from all the great Halloween festivities. But, never fear, he was not left out! We picked him up a cute dragon costume, and Bentley was quite pleased to have a fellow dragon for the holidays. He requested a picture with his little brother:

which, of course, led to requests by the other siblings to get in on the Lincoln action:

Back to the title of the blog post though. Tricks. Great tricks! The photo shoot started when I told Lincoln we needed a picture of him all dressed up. He was tired (look at those eyes), but up to the challenge. Check him out:

No photo editing magic for this three and a half month old! He grabbed onto that barstool, held on tight... and stood! Awesome trick! If he had teeth he would TOTALLY earn extra treats for this trick. :)

Trick or Treating Round 2

Our church ward opted out of doing a Halloween event this year, so we invited ourselves to another ward's Halloween event. We visited the Halloween Carnival put on by Matt & Kara's previous ward. That ward and two other wards who share the Arctic Chapel had an indoor Halloween trick or treating event yesterday in the early evening.

It was a well attended event. We started in the gym where there were some spooky Halloween booths set up. It was quite atmospheric. The kids went around and collected some candy and then we visited the rooms in the other areas of the church. Most of the rooms required that you "earn" your candy.

We visited two different cupcake walks. Jake would not participate on the first one, but he did on the second one. There were bean bag tosses, basketball hoops (both boys dropped the ball in the hoop on their first try), basket throws, and a fishing pond. A haunted hall was also set up, but we opted out. The trio is still quite young and as I said, the booths were spooky, so I figured the haunted hall might be a bit too much.

We saw a few friends along the way and donated a bag of candy to the cause. Since we were crashing the party it seemed like we ought to contribute something. On the way out we picked up a few hot dogs for the children (and one for opa) and then we headed home.

I asked the children if they liked this event or Trick or Treat Town better. Jake said he liked this one more. Bentley said he liked Trick or Treat Town better because he acquired more candy there. (I think their haul was about the same--20 to 25 pieces--at each place. Not a lot--thankfully!) Viva was munching away on her second hot dog, so she didn't comment.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Bentley Did It!

In our church the 3 to 12 year old children attend Primary (Sunday School). During Primary they meet in small groups with their agemates for a lesson and then they meet in a larger group and have singing time. During this portion of the meeting three children participate by reading a scripture, giving a short talk, and or giving the prayer. All the children in the Primary take turns with these duties.

Bentley has been in the Primary for almost two years now, so he's had a few chances to stand up and give the scripture or prayer or even the talk. Until today he's been too shy to speak in front of a group, so his father goes up with him and ends up doing the honors for Bentley. I think Bentley has said a few words before, but then clammed up and Matt finished for him. Bentley's a quiet kid.

Today Bentley went up by himself and read his talk without any help from dad! We're proud of him, but I'm kind of sad, too. He's becoming independent. He's growing up.

His mom promised Bentley five pieces of Halloween candy and a car. We've promised him cars in the past, but it was never enough of an incentive to get him to talk in front of a group that large.

Trick or Treat Town

Today the kids and I headed to midtown for a grand adventure:

Trick or Treat town! A local tradition, it features 80 or so "doors" set up inside a warehouse for the kids to get in some warm weather Halloween fun.

I remember (vaguely) attending when I was younger. I did not remember the CRAZY crowds! I had no idea so many young children live in Anchorage - I am convinced they were all in lines with us at this event! Being Alaskan means we're not used to lines, so the whole experience was a little surreal/crazy. The kids loved it though!

On the way to the event we stopped in to check out Opa's office (Opa's work place hosts the event):

Opa enthralled them with toys from his desk. :)

Next we snapped a picture of the crazed trick or treaters:

Then off we went! Here they are, still looking crazed, at the event:

The kids say we should go back next year. We'll see... maybe in a year I will have forgotten the crowds!

What about Lincoln, you ask? He stayed home with Grandma, Opa, amd Great-Grandma. Here he is, when I broke the news to him that ne was going to skip the festivities:

Maybe next year, buddy! I told him you really do need teeth to appreciate candy, so he still has a bit of time to go... :)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Lincoln's First Time with the Train Set

The nice thing about being a third son is that your brothers already own all the cool toys so you don't have to wait around for your parents or grandparents to buy them for you. Kara said the other night Lincoln was watching the boys play with Legos and he tried to grab one. Legos are too small for babies, so she handed him a Duplo dinosaur. Instead of being excited, he gave it a truly disgusted look. He didn't want any part of baby toys--bring on the big boy toys!

One of our older boy toys is the train set. (Older boy toys? Bentley was only twenty-two months old when we purchased the train set. That might be old compared to three months, but twenty-two months is still young, isn't it?) Moving on...

This past Monday afternoon Bentley set up the track. I helped a little bit, but he doesn't need my help unless he's in a hurry. B always insists that the track be a thirty-five foot loop at the minimum. When Jake and I set up the track, he lets me build smaller layouts. I appreciate that, especially when it comes time to take it down.

Lincoln laid on our bed propped up on opa's legs and watched the boys set up the track. After Bentley and Jake finished the layout, they brought out the trains, including the battery operated engines. I placed Lincoln down in one of the loops of the track where he watched the trains for a while. He's definitely a male. He loves watching things in motion.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Halloween Party

Halloween Party
Tuesday, October 25th
Bentley, Jake & Viva's home


I talked Kara into having a Halloween party for the children. The children were very excited and greatly anticipated the party. They helped decorate the house. We put up our Halloween tree and added the ornaments. The cat nearly took the tree down one day, damaging some of the ornaments. We draped a large spider web above the tree using the entryway chandelier and the staircase to anchor it. The children threw spiders (from Grandma Vicki--not real ones!) into the web. Bentley and Jake made moons from construction paper and taped them up wherever they were allowed to. If we didn't reign them in, they'd probably have made a hundred of them. Their enthusiasm for some projects is boundless.

Kara and I purchased some items for goodie bags and the children helped me put the bags together. It took much longer with their assistance than it would have without it. Working with my three overzealous helpers, I couldn't help but wonder what the party would be like working with eleven three-to-five year olds. It was too late to have second thoughts. Kara had prepared and mailed the invitations days ago.

Right before the party the trio helped me decorate the cupcakes that Kara baked for us. They did a fantastic job. It's amazing what you can do with colored sprinkles, gummy tarantulas, and skeletons on a toothpick. Nothing elaborate, but very cute. The twins insisted on eating every sprinkle that fell off the cupcakes.

I took two Tylenol and helped the children get into their costumes while Kara fed Lincoln. Let the fun begin!


The party started at 4PM and two of our guests arrived right on time. The children ran through the house for a few minutes and then Kara had them sit at the table and color Halloween placemats while waiting for the other guests to arrive. The other guests didn't arrive, so at 4:15PM we moved on to our second activity, eating a donut tied to a string without using your hands. Some of the children were better at this than others. Our second pair of guests arrived during this activity.

We moved the children back to the table and fed them. What's a party without food? We kept the menu simple with finger foods: carrots, black olives, candy corn, cupcakes, and little smokies wrapped in crescent dough (mummies). We forgot the apple slices. We served punch. I made floating hands for the punch bowl and Kara froze gummy eyeballs in ice cubes for the cups. The hands melted very quickly and the eyeballs floated wrong side down. Thumbs down on these two items. The rest of our guests arrived during the snack.

After eating, we tried to have a Halloween parade around the house, but we could not get the music to play. (Our sound system is a hand-me-down that doesn't always work properly.) The children marched and made lots of noise. While they marched their mommies helped us clear the table of food so we could do a craft. Kara had purchased Halloween necklace kits from Oriental Trading Company. She wasn't impressed with the quality of the kit, but Bentley really liked the activity. He asked to make another one the next day, so I gave him all the leftover pieces.

Next we played toss candy into Halloween buckets. I'd practiced with our children to determine the right distance for the buckets. On the first round almost everyone scored two to three out of five. On the second round I moved the throwing line back a foot and hardly anyone could get the candy into the bucket. Eleven children is a lot to cycle through in a game, so I only did two rounds.

We still had lots of time left on the clock, so I pulled out Cranium Hullabaloo. It was a big hit, but Kara and I can only handle so much chaos and noise, so after three rounds it was back to the table for an ending activity. The children were given construction paper and foam cut outs. They created a Halloween scene.

We herded our guests to the door and gave them their goodie bags. At the party there were 8 party guests, 4 siblings of guests (3 one year olds and a newborn), and 5 mothers. It was a wild time. The house was blissfully quiet when our last guest left.


Jake told me right after the party that he had a good time. Bentley and Viva (prompted by their mother!) thanked me later that evening. I saw that our trio had a great time at the party and they loved preparing for the party, so I can truthfully say that it was a grand success. Mission accomplished.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Viva's Towers

I mentioned in my earlier post on Magformers that I had placed a second order. It took a lot longer than the first order to arrive, but it finally did and Viva christened the new set while the boys were at gymnastics. She built a super high tower--with only a little help. I showed her how to make it in sections and then stack them together. The boys were impressed. It came down with a spectacular crash, too.

A few days later Viva and I built a different tower.

And here's a photo of Lincoln with the Magformers--just because he's so cute!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Cat Cookies

I found these cute cat cookies in a Pillsbury Halloween recipe booklet. They looked easy enough except that it's hard to find black licorice laces. I looked on the internet and found a source on ebay, two pounds for $15. I have a Christmas cookie recipe that uses licorice laces, too, so I purchased two pounds of it.

I bought some candy corn for noses and Skittles for eyes. Then I discovered that we didn't have the needed cookie cutter. We own dozens of Halloween cookie cutters, but not a cat's head. ARG! I found the necessary cookie cutter at a local party store. It was part of three set, the other two of which we already owned, of course.

I'd now spent $25 on these cookies and that didn't include the ingredients to make the cookies and frosting. It was time to get baking. I made the cookies and the frosting and then Viva and I sat down and decorated.

What do you think? Are they worth $3.50 each? Viva added the mouth. The cat cookies in the booklet photo only had eyes, whiskers, and noses. Viva insisted on a mouth. She did a nice job.

When the boys got home from gymnastics we made more cookies with them. They didn't care for the cute cat design and so they made their own vampire and monster cookies. Here's an example:

Here's the trio at work.

The last few cookies they decorated had six or eight candy corn teeth on them. Their mom didn't take any photos of those. When Viva and I made cookies together, she faulted me for not matching the cat's eyes. After observing the boys at work, her standards changed.

The cat cookies were a big success. They tasted pretty good, too.

(After ordering the licorice laces online, I found some locally. They weren't black, but they were much cheaper than $15. Next year I'll use them, if they are still available. And since I now own the correct cookie cutter, I will be able to make the cookies much more economically.)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Outdoor Fun

It's mid-October in South Central Alaska. We are overdue for our first snowfall. The average date of Anchorages's first measurable snowfall (.1" or more) is October 17th. We've had rain instead--hence the worm hunt. The up side of warmer weather is that we took the children to the playground on Saturday. They had a great time climbing on the equipment and playing tag with their opa. The boys love playing tag with their dad or opa. It's way more fun that playing with the womenfolk.

On the way home from the playground Bentley asked to go mushroom hunting. We tried telling him that mushroom season is over, but he didn't believe us. Opa wanted to seek out a waterfall to photograph. Jake thought the waterfall sounded more fun than mushroom hunting. I assured the boys that they could do both. Opa took Viva and I home and headed back out with the boys. They had a grand time in the woods.

Viva opted out of going with opa so that she could check out the young women's activity her mom was hostessing. There were five junior high aged girls at our home and Viva found them fascinating. She sat in a chair and stared at them for over an hour.


Last Sunday when we came home from church there was a large number of worms on the driveway. Our driveway is three cars wide next to the garage and it goes all the way to the front door steps, so it's not the best place for a worm to be. Needless to say, a lot of the worms were drowned in pavement puddles or flattened by car tires. However, there were a few hardy survivors and I asked the children to go out with me and rescue them. My perennial bed needs worms, so this was a win-win. Unfortunately, all three children turned out to be very squeamish worm hunters. None of them would rescue large worms (the best kind for a garden!) and they weren't that keen on collecting small ones, either. Bummer. I thought Viva at least would be a good helper. We collected a few worms.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Happy 100, Cutie!

Today is a big day for Lincoln - he's entering triple digit days in age! Here he is earlier today, looking super excited when I told him the news... :)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Pumpkin Time

Matt is out of town traveling for work next week, so we decided to do some pumpkin carving a few days early this year! Bentley sketched out some pumpkin designs; and then Daddy helped the kidlets implement the vision.

I think Lincoln was excited to be around and helping. He was even willing to pose with Viva for a pumpkin shot when the festivities were over. :)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Will Pose for Chocolate

My mother thinks we should turn the cute little twinlets into ballroom dancers... what do you think? They do make a cute pair. :)

I used to think babies were hard to work with for photographs. You jump up and down, dance, scream, ... and they still don't look. You prop them up and the fall over. They get a little bigger and try to crawl off. They drool... yes, a hard group to work with.

But even harder? Little people with big personality. And funny grins. And feet that can't quit jumping. Or hands that can't stop shoving... on and on it goes! So I was quite happy Opa captured a cute shot of the twins together, it doesn't happen as often anymore! If you look closely you can see both of Jake's feet aren't on the ground in the picture. I told him to hug his sister so he jumped up and down WHILE hugging her... it worked though!

The bribe? German chocolate! I'll have to head to Florida and Uroma/Uropa to get more soon... :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Baby can Sit!

So it's not a brand new trick (we've seen it for a couple weeks... !), and it's not quite perfect yet - but - he is darn cute and not too bad at his sitting skills for a three monther! He has more of a tripod sit right now, but I have no doubt he'll be sitting up nice and tall soon!

Go Lincoln!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

If You Have Older Siblings...

You will never be bored!

How lucky is Lincoln? :)

I wouldn't quite venture to say that my older peeps take care of the baby for me, but they certainly are handy to have around on occasion. They fetch diapers, burp clothes, baby plugs, blankets... they sing, dance, shriek, share books, give head pats, demonstrate for Lincoln how to make the loud music in his toys start playing...

Lincoln is, indeed, lucky to have them. He lives surround by action and excitement. No wonder he sleeps well at night....

Off walking!

The air is getting crisper, but we can't complain about the overall gorgeous weather we've had to enjoy this fall! Today Matt and the boys went out in a walk/hike - about a mile and a half, Daddy reported. Good work, boys! They're tougher than I am! :)

P.S. - notice the cute Crocs they are wearing? I did, as a dutiful mother, try to talk them into sneakers. But I lost that battle. I won on the coats and gloves though... !

Saturday, October 15, 2011

1/4 of a year OLD!

Happy 3 months, Lincoln Henry!

I couldn't pick which smile was cuter... the wrinkly eyed one or the big open mouthed one. So I chose BOTH!

We are having FUN with our 3 month old! Lincoln can say "mama" (granted, it's normally in an upset wail sort of way... but I'll take it). He can hold onto toys pretty well once he swings at them and somewhat accidentally gets them in his hand. He loves his jumperoo, and he LOVES to smile and laugh.

I think he is going to be an adrenaline junky. He laughs hardest for the type of baby games where you pretend to drop him, or throw him a bit in the air. Those produce double chuckles.

Lincoln has already been labeled a flirt. Give him a smile (or even a half smile) and he'll flash you a big toothless grin, complete with sparkly eyes, back!

Our baby wants to be older. Which is a shame, because they're not little long enough! He loves to watch his older siblings play, run, act crazed... do all those things they do. He wishes he could do them ALREADY, I think! He likes to sit up, stand up... laying down or reclining are only okay for sleeping babies apparently. If you try to lay him back against you he'll pull himself up to a sitting position!

Can't wait to see what the next 3 months bring, it's amazing how much he has changed in the short 3 months he's been here on the "outside" with us!