Monday, April 30, 2012

The Bread Eater

Bentley asked to have his picture taken with the cheesy bread.  That's how much he likes this stuff:

 Although, for the record?  He peels all the cheese OFF of his cheesy bread, and gives it to someone else before eating it.  Craziness - that's the best part!

On Monday Bentley ate almost an entire cheesy bread alone.  I had 1 piece, and he saved 2 small pieces for a snack the next day.  But he demolished the rest of it.

His love of bread isn't limited to cheesy bread.  Pretzels, rolls, breadsticks... most soft fluffy variations of bread are also happily accepted by this small person!

Although I wish he loved a much larger variety of foods... I can't say that I can't relate.  I could happily live on bagels and breadsticks and pasta myself... apparently he has inherited this same consuming love of simple carbs.  Which is good for me - I have someone to bake all forms of bread for!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Flu Season Peaks

That's what I read on the Alaska Epidemiology page and I can totally believe it. We've had a few nasty incidents the past two weeks. More than a few actually. I won't give you many details because no one enjoys reading about that kind of stuff, but first Great-grandma got sick and hid out downstairs for a few days. Then Viva was quite sick for two days. She took a few more days to fully recover. Then Lincoln got sick last Sunday at church and he's stayed sick most of the week, although he doesn't act it. It's a NASTY diaper thing for him. Bentley was feeling ill over the weekend and last night was a very bad night because he was in the upper bunk bed and could not find the puke bowl which his mom placed there after he went to sleep. He trashed his bed and then went to sleep in his parents' bed. Matt, who was home for 14 hours between business trips, slept somewhere else. Who wants to get sick on a business trip? Come to that who wants to get sick ANY TIME? I'm not feeling at my best, but so far my illness isn't as nasty as the kids' have been. Jake has been sick, but not vilely so...yet. 

I read online that there are five types of Influenza being tracked in Alaska: Influenza A, Influenza B, Influenza A/B, Influenza A/H3 and Influenza A/2009 H1. I have no idea what our household has. Maybe all five varieties because everyone's flu has been different. My mom's was mostly bronchial, so maybe she didn't have influenza. Actually I don't know the full details of her flu. Like I said earlier, who wants details unless you are an epidemiologist.

Mom, Bentley and Lincoln all had flu shots this year. A lot of good it did them. I hope your household is healthier than ours.

Quick Update: Jake is in here crying because after throwing up the first half of his pork chop, his mom wouldn't let him go back and eat the rest of it. He is quite upset about her edict. I've promised him he can have more grilled pork chops when he's better. (When we decide he's better which will not be tomorrow which is what he's planning on.)

Here is a photo of Lincoln comforting sick Jake. Lincoln really is a sweetie.

Chalk Board Art

Viva loves the chalk board.  I often find her at it writing her name, sometimes even writing her name three or four times in a row.  The boys?  They don't' touch the chalk too often.  (It's messy, you know!).

A couple of days ago Viva was in the dining room for quite a while, so I went to track her down.  She told me this is a picture of a boat in the ocean with clouds and a sunset above.

I think it's quite lovely.  And I'm happy she's found a favorite new art medium!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

I Think I Can't; I Think I Can't

My favorite little buddy.

Cute, isn't he?

We've been thinking he could be an early walker for months now.  Like at least two... :)  And he really could!  But he just doesn't know it.  He has great balance, and he's always standing around on his own.  But if you try to get him to walk?  He promptly buckles his cute little knees and sits down.  He KNOWS, in his head, that babies do not walk without walkers.  So walk he will not.

Silly kid!  I keep telling him that if he would just walk (or run) that he will then be able to catch anything and anyone he wants!  But so far the message isn't sticking.  

Maybe soon, he still has a couple months to become the "blue ribbon" youngest walker award for our family!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Lincoln, Future Reader

Yesterday I posted on Jake and Viva's reading progress and Kara posted on Bentley's reading progress. In the evening Mark took these great photos of Lincoln with his books.

We all love books!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Bentley and Oliver Moon

Bentley has been busy, busy busy.  Last Thursday I went to a big curriculum fair here in Anchorage.  I mostly collected fliers so I can over analyze all the options and agonize before coming to decisions... but, I did buy one or two things!

I purchased Bentley a set of books from Usborne (I love that company!), a "young Harry Potter" series called Oliver Moon.  It's for 7-10 year olds, and the books are all 90-100 pages.  I brought the set home last Thursday and as of today, Wednesday, Bentley has read 7 of them.  He's a boy on a mission.  He reads and reads and reads.  If I didn't bother him with other activities like math and spelling and writing and swimming and gymnastics and eating... well, I'm sure he'd be all done with the books already.

I couldn't be happier!  I asked him yesterday what his favorite learning activity is in the mornings and he told me reading.  Because he LOVES to read and it is FUN.  I think those are great adjectives to describe reading!  And bonus?  He tells me math is a close 2nd favorite activity.  I told him that he & I will continue to get along well, as those happen to be 2 of my favorite subjects too.

Off to go find him another engaging series to devour. 


C E L E B R A T E ! C E L E B R A T E ! C E L E B R A T E ! No more Headsprout lessons with two four-year-olds. It's been a long, long five months. They started the program the last few days of November. It was different working with two children rather than just one like when Bentley did the program. Kara and I couldn't trade off monitoring duty. We both had to do it or one of us had to do both Jake and Viva in one day. That requires more patience than we have.

The twins took longer to finish the program than Bentley because of holidays and vacations and their younger age and our need to space out the fun. The last twenty or so lessons we did every other day. On the off days we did phonics and read a story offline from the Headsprout story collection.

 Have the twins learned as much as Bentley did? I think they have, but Kara would say not. (She doesn't remember nine months ago when Bentley was at this point in his reading career. He's such a good reader now that it's hard to believe he was a beginning reader just nine months ago.) Jake and Viva are good beginning readers. We will continue working with them every day reading a variety of Level 1 reading books and then Level 2. Reading simple readers will be easier (and quicker!) for everyone than doing the reading program.

I have to give credit to the Headsprout reading program. It taught all three children the basics of reading. They learned a lot of phonograms with the program although not all the phonograms they need to be awesome readers. The children enjoyed doing the lessons in the program, although not so much at the end. The last 20 or more lessons require the student to read the same story three or four times. This was too many times for the twins. They did well the first time through, but each successive time they relied more on memory than on the words on the screen. It was frustrating for them and for Kara and me. Would I recommend this program for other families? Yes, but don't be afraid to modify it if you need to to suit your child.

The twins were promised a party when they finished their reading program. Viva suggested going to the bouncy house (one of those places with lots of oversized air-filled slides). Jake had asked recently to go there, so it was a good choice. I took them on Monday after they finished their last lesson.

On the way home we picked up a pepperoni pizza which is Viva's current favorite food. Jake likes it, too, but not as much as Viva who ate if for dinner, breakfast, and lunch until it was gone.

Kara made a cherry chip cake (Jake's choice) with purple icing (Viva's choice) on the side. Bentley went to the bouncy house with the twins, but he did not eat the pizza or cake. Lincoln did not go to the bouncy house, but he did eat a little pizza and cake.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Viva and Dresses

Viva has worn the same dress three times this week. When asked why she kept putting on the same dress (when she has twenty-four dresses hanging on her side of the closet), she told her mom that it was the easiest to put on.

When quizzed further she explained that the reason she wears dresses is that it's easier to put on a dress than shirt and pants. Okay, so all this time we thought our cute little girl liked dressing in girly clothes when really she just preferred the convenience of putting on one item of clothing as opposed to two.

I would have posted a picture of the Viva in the dress, but that requires more time, energy, and patience than I currently have. (our blog hosting site) has "improved" their user interface and we are one of the lucky blogs chosen to beta test (without our consent). It now takes me twice as long to post a simple blog because I have to work around the glitches in their upgraded system. I hate upgrades. I was happy with the old system. The new features don't interest me and the old features no longer work well. GRRR!

I'll add a photo later, if I can find one.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Our New Sink & Faucet!

For months every time we used the kitchen faucet we had to take extra care when shutting if off. We had to find just the right position to keep it from dripping. Usually I could not find the magic position, so I settled for a minor drip. I've endured many lectures from Mark and Kara on my inability to shut off the faucet. I had better things to do with my time than fidget endlessly with the stupid faucet.

If we had metered water, we would have had to fix the problem months ago. However, we don't have metered water. We have a well. So we let it drip. And drip. And drip. It was wearing away at my sanity.

Mark tried to solve the problem more than once. He made the drip go away for a few days, but it always came back. Why didn't Mark install a new faucet months ago? Because I wanted a new sink to go with the new faucet. I loathed the kitchen sink in this house from the day we moved in. The previous owner had used harsh abrasives to clean it and the porcelain finish was ruined. Consequently the sink basin stained easily. Another reason I wanted the sink replaced is that our counter tops are black and brown granite and the appliances were stainless steel when we moved in yet the sink was white. There was nothing I liked about that sink.

So last year when the faucet started to drip I lobbied for not just a new faucet, but a new sink and faucet. Kara readily agreed to my plan. Thus began the mighty search for a sink. It was not easy. Kara researched and researched. Then she searched and searched. Eventually she found two sinks in black composite granite. She asked which one Mark and I thought was best. We were not good housemates. We did not give her an answer. In our defense we were in Florida with the children and--seriously!--did not have a moment to spare or the energy to make an intelligent decision.

Kara chose the sink without our input. She ordered it. It arrived. It was cracked. She returned it. She ordered a second one. Then she chose and ordered two faucets. Two you ask? As if choosing one sink wasn't difficult enough--it took a year--we had, not one, but two ugly white porcelain sinks in our kitchen. The second sink is a small prep sink that we seldom use, but it exists; it's a second blight on the granite counter top. Finding a composite black granite prep sink was even more difficult. Kara had to switch brands and hope for a good enough match in color and texture to fool the uninformed eye.

After getting all the needed pieces ordered (including rubbed bronze silicone caulk!), it was time to coax the worker into installing the sink. On Easter Saturday I convinced him that this was the perfect birthday gift for Kara. He started on the project early in the day, but as always happens with home improvement projects, there were a few glitches.

The new sink wouldn't fit flush with the counter top. Mark went to Home Depot and purchased a grinder to take off some rough edges in the granite counter cut out for the sink. Granite dust went everywhere and it was a mess to clean up. The sink still would not fit. Upon close inspection we saw that on the underside of the sink there were right angles where the sink counter had very rounded curves. Mark had to grind away the sharp corners to match the curves and he also had to adjust a few other areas.

Next he had to finish cutting out the holes for the soap dispenser and the aerator. He quickly wore out the drill bit he'd purchased. He took a trip to Lowe's for a new drill bit which worked much better. Finally the sink was ready. We put the silicone caulk down. It was a super big mess. We didn't put enough or maybe the caulk wasn't positioned correctly, so we added a lot more. Then there was too much. We had to clean the excess up. It was not fun.

Finally it was time to put the garbage disposal back in. We needed different pipes because the new sink was a different depth. Back to Home Depot. It looked like the end was in sight when Mark couldn't get the main sink drain to line up with the drain pipes in the wall using the pipes from the old sink. Home Depot had closed. It seemed that we'd be waiting until Monday for Mark to finish the job, but then someone (Kara? Mark?) remembered Wal-Mart. A final trip to Wal-Mart for yet more pipes (flexible!) and the sink was in and working.

In our household's opinion it is the most beautiful sink in the world. It matches the counter top. It's elegant. It's sparkly. It has a gorgeous rubbed bronze finish faucet that turns on and off with just a touch. THERE IS NO DRIP! Life is good.

Two weeks later Mark started to replace the prep sink. Everything was going smoothly until he more closely inspected (later in the process than he should have!) the new sink and found flaws in its finish. ARG! The sink had been special ordered, so we couldn't get a new one quickly. On the plus side, it was a very ugly sink (not at  all like our other new sink), so we had the opportunity to return it for no charge and buy a different brand. We opted to go with something completely different (not composite granite) but in black. Kara found the new sink on and it should be here early next week. YES! We have a board over the gaping hole in the kitchen counter, so we'd really like to get this project finished.

***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ******

Kara has a blog rule that I usually abide by: all posts must be about the children. I started this post with a fine photo of Linoln and I'll end the post with an interview with Bentley on the topic of sinks. On Saturday while opa was installing the sink I asked Bentley if he was excited to have a new sink. He said he was. Really?! It turns out he thought I was asking if he wanted his own private sink. (Where?) After we installed the sink Mark and I demonstrated how awesome the turn on by a quick touch function was. Bentley was impressed. He showed Jake how all the sink functions work. Lincoln figured it out on his own and turned the water on and off a few times during his photo session.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Two More Photos

 After reading my Misc Photos post Kara sent me two new photos, so I'm posting them now.

Viva lying on the couch last week when she was sick. She seldom gets sick, but when she does it's a nasty bug. She threw up two consecutive mornings and then spent the rest of the day lying listless in bed, on a couch, or in a chair. Her only requests were for milk (no, no, no!) and pickles (yet another no).

Lincoln making a rare score. We work hard to keep that bathroom door closed, but someone didn't shut it all the way. The kitty is impressed.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Ninjago Fire Temple

Mark recently purchased a new Lego set, the Ninjago Fire Temple, from (the British The set is sold in the USA, but the price at was lower. (Lego sets are usually priced higher in Europe given the exchange rate, but this set was an anomaly.) It's a super cool Lego set. When I saw the set online I thought it had an intriguing design and as the children built it, I was even more impressed with Lego's ingenuity. It's a very fun set. The temple itself is pretty awesome, but the real star of the set is the dragon. He's definitely got high wow value.

The set came in the mail Monday and the children started piecing it for our Family Home Evening activity. We don't usually do Legos for Family Home Evening activity, but once in a while if we have an irresistible new Lego set we do. The Fire Temple came with three instruction booklets which was perfect for us. After the trio put together the seven minifigures, Bentley started the dragon, Jake started the temple, and Viva started on the extra design elements. The children only had an hour or so and then we had to shut them down as it was bedtime.

First thing Tuesday morning, Bentley asked to work again on the dragon. I said okay. He was the only one up at the time. When the twins got up he was finished with the dragon and it was time to get started on our morning routine. Bentley showed the dragon to great-grandma when she came upstairs. He asked her what she thought it was. She tried her best--A bird? A thunderbird? A firebird? A dinosaur? A pterodactyl? We gave her clues, but dragon was not on her radar. I think it looks like a dragon! (The photo below doesn't do it justice.)

After the twins finished their reading lessons, they went to work on the temple. Viva finished her items. I had to convince Jake that he needed to let Bentley work on the main temple with him. He and Bentley worked together nicely and then Viva asked when she got to do some work on it. She worked for a while. Then the boys worked some more. They were just about finished when they got in trouble for pushing and shoving. They had to quit work on the set. Wednesday they quickly finished building the temple.

 The Ninjago Fire Temple is a big hit with all three children. And me. And opa. They not only enjoyed building it, but the boys have had a great time playing with it. We highly recommend this set to other Lego fans.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Misc. Photos

I'd love to show you an awesome assortment of photos from the past two weeks of the children doing what they do, but camera guy has been otherwise occupied. His Lego obsession is interfering with his photographer duties (as does his job--he's gone for hours most days!). I try to pick up the slack, but my digital camera skills are woeful. Seriously woeful. We have a new small digital camera that we bought for our trip to Florida. I hate it. It has face recognition and auto focus. Those sound like good features, but they aren't. The camera has a mind of its own, but it's not a very smart one. GRRR! My photos of the children often come out blurry. Either the children move too much (and the camera is sooooo slow) or the camera locks on something other than their faces because the sunlight streaming through the windows in the background confuses its tiny little semiconductor brain. Kara's iPhone photos are even worse than those of our little digital camera. She tells me it's because she never uses the flash.

Having given you my disclaimer, here are the photos. (I actually only took one of them. One is from Kara. The others, I think, are Mark's. He will take photos if I ask for them when he's around.)

Bentley and Matt going out to the symphony. They both said they enjoyed it.

Viva playing with a new craft kit. I think the product is called Bendaroos. It's waxed strings that you can shape into coils and lines and they stick together. Viva liked them. They were very cheap. I like cheap fun.

Jake doing what Jake does for hours every day--building with Legos. I wanted a picture of Jake piecing his 100 piece knight and dragon jigsaw puzzle. He put it together three times recently, but I didn't think to get a photo of him working on it.

Bentley doing Sudoku. He did four or more games this week. He hasn't been interested the past few months, but suddenly he decided to solve a few puzzles.

Mark and the children watching Lego Ninjago videos. They all enjoy this activity. Bentley, Jake and Viva ask every evening to watch one or two with opa. They recently built an awesome Lego Ninjago Temple. I'll post on that next.

Bentley reading a beginning reader book about Boba Fett to the twins. Mark and I purchased the book for Jake. I was planning on getting him to read it to me, but he outsmarted me and asked Bentley to read it to him. !!! I will get Jake to read it to me next week.

Why aren't there photos of Lincoln? He's been featured in a post or two lately, but still he ought to have more photos. He's very photogenic.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Don't Jake, Don't

Bentley is seventeen months older than Jake. That doesn't sound like much, but when you are four (and five sixths) years old, that's almost a third of your lifetime. Bentley has a huge head start on Jake. So when Jake takes Bentley on, he almost always loses. Many times a day Kara and I say to Jake "What did you think would happen when you chased/hit/spit on your older brother?"

Jake and Bentley get along 95% of the time, but the other 5% (which equates to an hour a day) is difficult for everyone. When Jake gets upset at Bentley's teasing, he lashes out. Sometimes Bentley gets hurt. (It doesn't stop him from doing it again.) We adults get headaches from dealing or not dealing with the two boys.

Here is a typical situation. This morning Jake went to the table to make himself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. He put the needed supplies at the end of the table nearest the kitchen, so he sat in the most convenient chair which just happened to be Bentley's chair. Bentley came into the room and demanded that Jake move. Jake said no.

Bentley countered with "Fine. I'll sit in your chair and get crumbs all over it." That really set Jake off. He was livid. He demanded that we not let Bentley do that. (I don't think Bentley was even eating a food that crumbled.) We had to send Jake to time out because he was so loud and obnoxious about the matter.

Last night at bedtime the boys were arguing about something ridiculous (but important to them!) and Bentley was winning the argument, so Jake climbed up on the railing of the bunk bed and spit on Bentley. Bentley slapped him. Really Jake, what did you think was going to happen?

Just don't Jake. Don't do it. That's our advice. You're younger. You're smaller. You're slower. Do not engage your older brother. Do not respond when he teases you. IGNORE HIM!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Good Looking

We can't usually get Bentley to wear anything but jeans, sweat pants (gymnastics day only), and a suit (his preferred Sunday wear), but recently when he went out with his father, he agreed to put on some cords. He looked so nice!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Mango Delight

Did you know that mangoes are the most consumed fruit in the world? This isn't true in the USA, but world-wide mangoes are the favorite fruit. We like them in our household, but they are not our number one pick. They are good, but a real pain to get off the pit. What is with that? Don't they have a cling-free version like peaches?

Lincoln finds mangoes delightful. I'm not sure if it's the taste or the squishability. He loves to grab a piece tight in his fist and then squeeze until it squishes out between his fingers leaving only ragged little remnants, only a few of which make it into his mouth. It's a big mess for us to clean up, but he thoroughly enjoys himself. (As messy as mangoes are, canned mandarin oranges are an even bigger mess. When he squishes those in his fist, juice runs down his forearm and drips onto his clothes and the floor. I'm sure some of it runs all the way down his arm and ends up on his tummy. MESSY!)

Jake and Viva also like mangoes, but they eat them nicely with a fork. Bentley won't eat them, of course. I like using them in a fresh fruit salsa to put on grilled chicken.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Bikes Are Out!

The children were excited to have their bikes taken out from under the porch---until that is, we took the training wheels off the bikes. I wanted to ditch the training wheels last summer, but the parental units would not approve my plan. However, now that Bentley is six, it really is ridiculous for him to still have training wheels on his bike.

So opa took the training wheels off and we spent a half hour or so working with the trio on riding their bikes. Viva gave up rather quickly which surprised me. I thought she would get the knack of it first. Bentley wasn't too excited about the endeavor, but he gave it a good try and managed to find his balance for a few feet.

The problem is our long driveway has a slight decline/incline to it. Going down it's downhill and coming up it's uphill. It's a little too much challenge for the children while learning to bike. Practice, practice, practice. It's good to be challenged a little. When you master a harder to learn skill you feel good.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

9 Months Old!

Happy Tax Day!

Just kidding.

Happy 3/4 of a year to Lincoln, though.

He's one cute kid.  Why a winter hat, inside on a sunny day?  Because I can.  And because a baby in a hat is always photolicious.

Lincoln ...

has 8 teeth!
has chubby legs (and cheeks!)
gets more vocal every day
has taken HALF a step, but still isn't committed to the walking vision
finds his siblings and father very amusing
is very friendly
is tactile, he loves to squish soft food into millions of small pieces (almost cute)

all in all?  Still a delight!  Even with the stuffed up nose that kept him up ALL night last night thrashing around in our bed.  :)

Happy 9 months, baby boy!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Lincoln's Favorite Toy...

as of late:

The plastic dining ware drawer!  He has discovered that he can open drawers (and cupboards, but that's another blog post... !), and he has discovered this awesome drawer where Mommy keeps tons of brightly colored bowls, cups, and plates.  All just for him.

I say it's relatively harmless entertainment.  And it can keep him occupied for a good 20 minutes.  Once he dumps everything out on the floor he bats at it and chases it around.

Hmmm.  That behavior kind of sounds like something the cat would do.   But I'm not worried.  This kid is going places!

Our Little Jedis

When we visited Disney Hollywood Studios B, J and V were really taken with all things Star Wars. They liked the ride, they liked the show, they liked the gift shop. Their uroma and uropa had given them some money to spend while at Disney World and the trio decided this was the place to spend it. They chose light sabers.

They really like their sabers and play with them quite often. (The other day Viva referred to LifeSavers candy as LifeSabers. Her mom had to correct her. Yup, those children are Star Wars fans.) Lincoln likes the light sabers, too, when he can get his hands on one.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Going Strong!

Spring is coming, but we have heaps of snow still. However, we have a snow and ice free driveway despite last Saturday's snowfall. It's on the to do list to get the bikes out from under the porch for the children to use. We do not have a yard yet. Maybe in a .... month?

While we wait for the snow to melt away, the children continue to build every day with Legos and opa continues to buy new Lego sets every week which he shares with the children. He builds the set and then he takes it apart so the boys can build it. (It's his way of decompressing after work.) Or sometimes they help him build it. Or they build it first on their own.

Bentley is a master builder and puts sets together very quickly. He built opa's Creator Lighthouse this past weekend and helped opa build his eBay purchased (second hand) Creator Super Speedster late Monday evening. I bought a Batman plane and helicopter set that he put together for me in less than an hour. It's a good thing I have three other grandchildren to share the set with or I'd think it was rather expensive for an hour's worth of entertainment! Although it's no more expensive than taking the children to a movie. With Legos they have something to show for their time.

Viva received a new Friends set, the biggest one available, Olivia's House. She spent a few days building it. She does excellent work. She insists on working on her own.

Jake works on multiple projects during his Lego time. He works on his original design castle. Or he puts together one of opa's sets. He just finished the police station from his dad's Lego collection. He had to wait for Bentley to take apart his Lego exhibition building because it had the windows he needed. The instruction manual wasn't always easy to read, so sometimes he needed our help. Matt helped Jake when he was home, but sometimes I was recruited. Mostly I helped him find the specialty pieces he needed. The Legos are well organized, but you have to search in the right container.

On Wednesday evening I and Kara were working in the kitchen while Lincoln rooted through the plastic serveware drawer. She went upstairs to do something and when she returned she told me that I should go check out the upstairs family room. Buckets of Legos were everywhere. Bentley, Jake, Viva, Matt and Mark were all working on their own Lego project.

Lately my Death Star is making slow progress. Viva hasn't worked on it because of her Friends set. Matt has been home for the past week, so the boys are otherwise occupied in the evenings. Bentley and Jake have started building the floor of the third level. Jake likes to play with the minifigures on the Death Star. Bentley doesn't do as much imaginative play as Jake. Ever since Rameses chewed on Jake's helicopter I've stressed about leaving my Death Star on the table where the cat can get to it at night when I know he breaks our stay off the tables rule. However, if I keep it out the cat's reach, it is also out of the children's reach. Arg that cat!

Seriously Jake?"

Life is often traumatic for Jake. He's a sensitive child. Eight, ten--twenty?--times a day we have to deal with Jake's pain over some minor matter. Usually it's his older brother who knows how to push Jake's buttons that sets Jake off. Tuesday, for a change of pace, it was the cat that set him off.

Rameses chewed on Jake's Lego helicopter. A piece was missing after the savage attack. Kara tried to place the blame on Lincoln who had played with helicopter and taken a few pieces off. Lincoln was not the culprit. There was evidence of very small, sharp teeth on the pieces. It was definitely the work of Rameses.

Jake was quite upset, so opa tried to help him out. He put the helicopter back together. "Did you find the [missing] piece on the carpet?" Jake quizzed him when he brought the fixed copter to him. Opa, unwisely, opted for the truth: "No, I got a piece out of the drawer."

That set Jake off again on a crying jag. He wanted the SAME piece. We sent Jake to time out so that we didn't all end up with headaches from listening to him and dealing with him.

After calming down, Jake said to me "When that kitty poops the piece out, I get it back."

I asked him "Are  you going to look through all the kitty poop for the piece?"

His reply: "Yes."

Seriously Jake?!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

All About Mommy

I tried interviewing the children on Kara's last birthday. The answers weren't all coherent. They did better this year because they, too, are a year older. I interviewed them separately, so they couldn't hear each other's answers, but still some of their answers were the same. I think in a survey that you plant ideas by the questions you ask. Those planted ideas come out as answers later in the survey. I'll have to work on that next year. I'll ask random and unrelated questions.

If you took mommy on a date, where would you take her?
J: I know. Florida. And Mexico. And Mexico. And Mexico. (He's very impatient with my typing.)
V: To the ice cream place for her birthday. (I took Viva and Jake for ice cream on Tuesday.)
B: The bouncy house. McDonalds.

What is mommy's favorite color?
J: I don't know. Pink.
V: Pink and purple. She told me in the car.
B: Pink and purple? I don't know. I think purple.

If you wanted to do something nice for mommy, what would you do?
J: Get Legos for her.
V: Give her a birthday present early. Like I did this morning. Even if it's not her birthday.
B: I'd do my chore before she wakes up. And give her lots of things every day (like share my candy.) And be nice to her.

What is the nicest thing mommy has done for you this past week?
J: Be nice.
V: Let us have candy. (Viva has a sweet tooth for candy. The boys like cookies.)
B: Took me to swim lessons and to gymnastics.

How do you know that mommy loves you?
J: 'Cause she likes us. That wasn't tough at all. (I warned him it was a tough question.)
V: 'Cause she does nice things for us. That was not hard.
B: 'Cause she does nice things.

What is your favorite activity to do with mommy?
J: Games. Skippity. (Must be that last game they played together?)
V: Make cookies and brownies and everything.
B: Sleeping in the tent in the family room. (Viva asked to sleep in the tent at dinner.)

Can you think of a question to ask?
J: *no answer*
V: Why does mommy let us have Legos? Because she knows we want to do fun stuff. YEAH!
B: Why is she so nice? Because she loves us!

Kara is 29!

It's hard for me to believe, but my baby is 29. She's accomplished some good things in that time span. She graduated high school at 16 and college at 19. She's been married for over 10 years. Those are all good things, but the best thing she's done? That's easy. She gave me four very wonderful grandchildren.

I can see how this post could devolve into a tribute to my grandchildren whom I adore. However, this is a birthday post about my daughter, Karoline.

What do I admire about my daughter?

* Kara puts her family first. It's not easy staying home with four young children. Many woman won't do it.

* Kara helps out with her grandmother. Kara does more for my mother than I do. She's an exceptional granddaughter.

* Kara homeschools Bentley, Jake and Viva. Homeschooling is hard work and requires daily commitment.

* Kara is a good researcher. Maybe a little too good? (Just joking sweetie!)

* Kara will take charge when needed. Often in life you need a leader and most of us don't volunteer for that job.

* Kara has fun cooking and baking. She says she likes laundry. (That's just odd!) It's good when you enjoy everyday tasks because they need doing...every day.

* Kara is a planner. She accomplishes more because she plans ahead. (That's how she graduated college in three years.)

* Kara likes her children. Not all mothers like their children. (Isn't that sad and crazy?)

* Kara is a good mother. Kara works hard to make life awesome for Bentley, Jake, Viva, and Lincoln.

* Kara is an optimistic realist. She's got a good grasp of what's possible and what's not.

* Kara enjoys life. Not every minute of it, but usually she's of good cheer.

* Kara is a most excellent daughter. I am blessed to be her mother.

Does Kara have any faults? A few. Shall I share one or two?

* Kara doesn't like Legos. She just tolerates them.

* Kara has an obsession with kitchen gadgets, cookware, and cookbooks. As large as our kitchen is, we're running out of space.

* Kara uses too many commas. (That’s just my opinion.)

* Kara is not a morning person. Never has been. Never will be.

* Kara reads too fast. It's annoying to us slower readers.

* Kara is too efficient at some tasks. It makes the rest of us look like deadbeats. That's just not polite, is it?

Happy Birthday Kara! I hope you had a great day.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Easter Eggs

Because of our oh-so-busy life *grin*, we didn't get around to dyeing Easter eggs before Easter. Viva was insistent that we do eggs, bringing the topic up more than once. So for Family Home Evening last Monday I boiled three dozen eggs and Kara located the egg dyes.

Bentley did 13 eggs. He proudly pointed each one out to me. He preferred to draw on his eggs with a wax crayon and then dye them a single, solid color. He drew butterflies and flowers and mountains and other things. Jake did a few with the crayon, but he preferred painting them with a gel dye and/or rolling them in a bag for a tie-dye effect. Viva didn't use the wax crayon, she preferred the foam roller and paintbrush.

The children enjoyed the activity. Matt kept Lincoln company and so he missed the fun with us, but he had fun with Lincoln so it was all good. Kara did a few eggs--put them in and pulled them out of the dye baths. I did a number of tie-dye eggs. My fingernails are a mess. It was for a good cause, right?

Now we have to eat all those eggs. Last year I tried a new (to our family) boiled egg casserole. It was awful. I vote we charge the eggs to the art supplies budget and throw them out in a few days.