Thursday, May 31, 2012

Lincoln's Outdoor Adventures

Matt has really been enjoying spring time, AND being home.  Quite the combination!  Lincoln has been enjoying finally being old enough to really enjoy some of the quality outdoor time that Daddy brings to the table!  (I'm trying, but I'm just not the outdoor fun loving type... really am working on it though!  Slowly!!).

On Monday Matt took all the kids to the playground.  He let Lincoln eat pinecones and dirt.  At least he looks happy, right?

Today he took the kids all out for a long walk.  Lincoln was awfully excited to head out the door WITH his siblings - score!  He really hates being left behind.  When his older buddies go out the front door to bike he stands there at the glass and cries.  Tears.  He wants me to take him out.  Right.  Away.  So he can be part of the fun!

It's hard being so much younger.  Good thing he'll have his own little playmate soon.  Or at least relatively soon.  :)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Jake's Sunday Talk

Jake gave a talk in church this past Sunday.  I am never completely certain what to expect from my little charmer...

The talk was about baptism and the sacrament.  We sat down to write it on Saturday, and I helped him finish it up with a charming line about how he's looking forward to turning eight and being baptized himself.  :)  We then practiced the talk a few times, and each time we practiced he would insert:

"I am NOT looking forward to turning eight... !"  (and then he would laugh hysterically).

Cute kid.

I warned his Father he might go off the script, but apparently he belted the talk out at full volume and stuck to the party line.  I didn't know he would be a yell into the microphone type - but just goes to remind me that each kid has their very own style!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Welcome, Tooth Fairy!

Bentley has a empty space in the front of his mouth!  His tooth has been loose for the last few weeks, and it has been REALLY loose for a few days.  Thankfully (for him) it wiggled right out on its own on Saturday afternoon - before his Father resorted to measures involving string and doors or chairs.... :)

He was excited about it, and I think he's awfully cute with the gap in the front.  He was most excited, of course, about the tooth fairy.  I'm just hoping Viva and Jake don't start wiggling their teeth as hard as they can in hopes of the tooth fairy visiting them sooner than she would if they let their teeth be!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Mind Your Own Business

Viva is not afraid to let you know when you are not welcome.

She was busy on a project and Mark asked her what she was doing. She glared at him and told him to not look and to go away.

What's she going to be like as a teenager? YIKES!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Camping 2012: First Trip

Camping 2012 is off to a successful start... !  I hope the rain holds off for the entire trip for them.  Lincoln helped Matt pack up his stuff, and he was a good helper!

Daddy scored.  The grilled corn was a hit with 2 out of 3!  I put Matt in charge of picking up all his own food, I told him I couldn't handle that much responsibility this week!

Bentley took care of cooking the smokes, it appears Jake and Viva found that hilarious:

And, of course... summer in Alaska.  Bedtime and it's still light, light, light.  Good luck with that one, Daddy!  Tents don't come with black out blinds!


My nanny and her husband are on a cruise.  AND?  My husband went to Barrow Sun-Thursday.  Despite all this the children are still here AND in good spirits!  Or good enough, at least... I have photographic proof:

I love pictures.  Without the volume and the attitude children are adorable.  Sometimes they are adorable with sound and attitude too, but sometimes not so much.

And now that my husband is home?  He took three of the kids out to kick off Memorial Day with a night of camping.  I tried to get him to sign a statement in writing that he would return home with three children... he laughed.  I don't think he took me seriously when I warned him that they can be quite vexing at times!

Thursday, May 24, 2012


Viva loves mosaics. Jake likes to do them, too. His mosaic set is magnetic so you can use the same supplies to do a number of different scenes or you can redo the same one over and over. Four year olds like repetition. They will put something together and tear it apart and put it back together a day or two later. Jake has a favorite puzzle (dragons and a knight) that he does over and over. Viva builds a Friends Lego set, let it sit on a table undisturbed for a month or so, and then rip it apart and immediately rebuild it. If that's what she enjoys, so be it.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Dance Girl!

This past week Genevieve finished up her year of "Creative Movement" (aka pre pre ballet?).  The year ended with a big show downtown at the Performing Arts Center.  Viva was very excited about the show, no stage jitters or fright in this kid!  She skipped all the way to the theater and was excited for her moment in the spotlight.  

She wanted all of us to come and watch her, and we all trooped down.  Matt, Lincoln, Bentley, Jake, and I.  AND - Grandma Karen!  The rest of the grandparents are all out of town, but we were lucky Grandma Karen could make it!

It was a very loosely structured number (that's putting it kindly!), but what mattered was the fun had by the dancer.  She was right at the front edge of the stage, scooting, taking an extra curtsy at the end before leaving the stage.. I think she found the stage to be her friend.  :)

Here's Viva with the lovely flowers she talked Grandma Karen into after the dance number:

Until the fall!  The ballerina tells me that her dance class was not entirely serious enough for her, so we shall see if the new fall dance class and studio meets her standards of excellence for serious 5 year old dancers (said in all seriousness... !).

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


We don't post about great-grandma very often, but she is a major fixture in our home. She's here with Kara and I and the four young ones twenty-four seven. She is downstairs from nine or ten pm until eleven am or so, but otherwise she's on the main floor hanging out with us.

Bentley and she are occasional Sudoku partners. Great-grandma does a game every day and sometimes Bentley joins her. Once in a while he confiscates the board and does a game on his own. He's a busy kid with lots of interests.

Lincoln and great-grandma spend the most time together. He seeks her out when he's playing. He chases her when she gets up. He talks to her when he's trapped in his high chair. She growls at him and he laughs. He growls at her and she laughs. He likes her walker, he likes her magazine container, he likes her!

Jake and Viva interact with great-grandma as they eat breakfast and lunch and dinner. They show their projects off to her. And they recently started reading with her. I had to turn over my reading duties with the twins to great-grandma because I was going on vacation. She has lots of patience which she will need when working with Viva. Viva is very wiggly when reading. (My photo below makes it look like Jake is the wiggly one, but I'm telling you it's usually Viva.)

Sunday, May 20, 2012


Actually is one of Jake's favorite words. (Viva likes to use it, too, but not quite as much.) Jake draws out each syllable when he says it and it never fails to make Mark and I chuckle when we hear him. He uses it appropriately--that's not why we laugh--it's just amusing to hear a four year old say "Ac--tual--ly...."

One day Jake said to me "I don't know what you mean. Actually, I don't usually know what you mean." I was chuckling over his use of the word, so it took me a minute to process his sentence. Really?! He doesn't usually know what I mean? He was just being silly. He's quite bright and I'm pretty sure he knows what's going on 90+% of the time.

Tonight I heard him pull it out with the Ninjago Lego skeleton dude. He said "Actually that guy with four hands has none of the four weapons." (I think I asked if I had given him all the Lego pieces for the set. I guess I didn't. I don't actually know where the missing weapons are.)

Jake has helped me to see that most of us underutilize the word actually. Go ahead and work it into a few conversations today. Don't forget to draw it out dramatically. It's more effective that way.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Lovely Nap Time

I love my children!  And I love spending time with them.  But, I think, there are few things cuter than napping children.  They look so peaceful.  And angelic.  And it's NECESSARY!  Lincoln still takes two naps a day, although sometimes we miss the 2nd one and sometimes the 1st one isn't as long as it could be.  But considering all the noise he has to put up with?  He tries his best!  All of my kids have taken an afternoon nap until they were at least 3.  I pushed for 4!  Jake could still use one but he doesn't agree, darn it.  t know some parents say "my kid just won't nap"... so they let their 2 year olds give up naps.  I say?  Nap time is sacred!  Important to both child and parent health.

Friday, May 18, 2012

She Bikes!

Wednesday Viva finally consented to let her father teach her to ride her bike. She likes to teach herself how to do things, but she wasn’t trying to learn how to bike on her own. She was just avoiding her bike. But then, for whatever reason, she decided she wanted to learn and she allowed Matt to give her a few pointers and she was riding on her own within the hour.

Yesterday I went out so she could show me her new skills. She's a speed demon. She likes to go down the driveway with its slight decline. The boys were leery of it for a few days after learning to bike on their own. Not Viva. She tackled the driveway before she mastered biking. That's Viva!

She and Jake were out doing circle on the main driveway and I felt like I was in the middle of a game of chicken. I did not know which way to dive when they aimed their bike at me. Would they turn? Would I be mowed down? I made a mad dash for the porch. Crazy four year olds!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Sun Has Come Out!

It's not exactly tropical out there, but it is definitely getting warmer!  The adults (not me)  around here have been working on the grass, and it is starting to turn green!  We have sunshine and the kids have been  spending hours outside every day.  I hope we have a record breaking FREE summer - no record rain, no record snow... I'm not greedy, I don't need record sunshine.  But a nice warm delightful summer would not be unwelcome!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Lincoln Inches Closer to the Big 1!

What's new with Lincoln?  Still just the 8 teeth, but he's thinking about getting some more!  He told me so.

To make up for the lack of teeth development he's been growing some hair.  He rubs bananas in it for me to use as a hair gel and spike it straight up.  Way cute.

He still likes food, and is still very vocal, and he still isn't convinced that babies ought to be able to walk.  :)

He likes to put his right foot up on the table while he's eating.  None of the rest of us do this, so I'm not sure why he thinks it's something we do at the dinner table... he gets away with it, however, because he's small.  And cute.

He went on his first walk in the stroller yesterday with his Dad, he looked dazed at all the sunshine.  Maybe he didn't know there were so many trees out there?!

It's been a fun month, can't believe he will be 1 in just 2 more short months!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Little Gymnasts

On Thursday Bentley and Jake finished off a school year of gymnastics!  Their classes did a showcase to give us a look at the skills they've learned this year, and it was fun to see how much they've learned this year and how much fun they've had.  They were full of excitement to give us a look at their skills (nervous excitement, that is!  they flew through their "routines"... !)

Bentley is making great progress, he switched from the beginner group to the next level up in the middle of the year.  I was told he should move up to the NEXT skill group in the fall!  Jake, being a year and a half younger, will no doubt make similar strides forward in the fall if we pick up gymnastics again.  The joys of an older brother who isn't TOO much older - his skills and abilities look achievable, but he's always a bit ahead of you.  :)  They both did awesome, and I look forward to seeing what they learn next!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day Fun Times!

It's Mother's Day!  So we took a picture of all the Mothers in the house:

and then we ran and found Genevieve, figured we need a picture with ALL the ladies in the house! 

Our day was uneventful.  Bentley is a bit sick and so is Viva.  So we missed part of church.  But not the part where the kids get to sing!  Viva told me that their teacher told them if they did their singing well they would make the all the moms cry.  What a goal!  :)  I am not often one for tears, but they were very cute with their musical number.

It was a great day, I got to spend part of it with my favorite little people, part of it taking a break (!!!), part of it with MY favorite Mom (you're the best, Mom!), AND my husband spoiled me with gifts.   What more could I want?  Nothing!

And because I like pictures, here are a few of what some of the little people were up to today.

Jake doing magnetic mosaics: 

Viva finishing a mosaic crown:

Bentley reading.  (reading, reading, reading... !)

Lincoln?  He was napping during picture time.  Come back soon, I'm sure we will feature him... !

The Bookworm

I saw this quote online today and it made me chuckle.

Bentley, it seems, has inherited the family love of books that his parents and grandparents all share.  I'm happy to see it, although it could be said he's a bit on the OBSESSED side with reading.

Example 1: Last week, instead of going to Home Depot (a favorite activity w/his Father) he opted to stay home.  He said he had a book he had to finish.

Example 2: He didn't want to go swimming today.  Swimming!  His current FAVE activity!  But Grandma had just bought him home a pile of library books.  And he was overjoyed and busy.

Why did she bring him home a pile of library books?  Well... (besides the obvious answer, to read?!)   this morning Bentley got up around 6:30.  Jake and he are heading out to spend the night with Grandma Karen, Grandpa Tim, and Tyler tonight.  He is quite excited.  Around 8:00 he was chatting with Grandma who was trying to sleep, so she suggested that he go read a book.  He told her that he only had three left, so he was saving one to read at Grandma Karen's, and one for tomorrow, and one for Sunday.  He started with 15 books from Titlewave last Friday evening - he's been busy!  So he decided to "ration" out the last few!  Poor deprived child (ha ha ha).

When Grandma came home with 20 library books his eyes lit up, and he looked through each and every one.  He showed them all to Jake too.  I heard him telling Jake that he just "LOVES BOOKS!"  WIth great enthusiasm.

I think we have a bookworm on our hands.  Here he is ignoring me, because he has to read. Read read read.

Now if I can just convince him he still has to eat.  And play.  :)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Help from Big Sister

We have discovered a new talent of Genevieve's - baby feeder!  I'm not sure why we didn't come up with this sooner.  I guess it's because Lincoln can be distractible when eating (so many fun things going on), and feeding a new eater isn't the easiest of jobs (or one for someone who isn't patient!).

A few days ago Grandma had Viva feed Lincoln some cheerios and yogurt.  She was a good sport; he was a good sport... and then yesterday I had her feed him some soup to observe her technique in action.  Not only did SHE do an awesome job, but Lincoln seemed to sense he needed to be on his best baby behavior.  He sat up straight, watched the spoon, leaned forward for it... they're a great team.  It was a beautiful thing.

I think I'll call it bonding time (better that than child labor, right?  ha!) and encourage this type of activity.  :)  Watch out Bentley and Jake, Lincoln will be chasing you down with spoon in hand next...or maybe he'll learn to use a spoon?  Hmmmm... !

Friday, May 11, 2012


Recently Bentley asked me "So it's newspaper and not moosepaper?"

"Huh?!" I responded, trying to make sense of his query.

He just repeated himself "It's newspaper and not moosepaper?"

"Uh..." I said, still processing, "Who calls it moosepaper? Is that what you and Jake and Viva call it?" 

"Yes." he replied.

Interesting. I and Kara never caught on to their misnaming. I don't think they use the word very often. Later when I held the newspaper up for Viva and asked her what it was, she correctly named it. Maybe Bentley was the only one who thought it was a moosepaper?

No. Jake had it wrong, too. A few days after my conversation with Bentley Jake came into the house with the newspaper yelling "I have the moosepaper!"

Bentley corrected him. "It's NEWSpaper."

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Big Brothers

Lincoln is fascinated by his older siblings. He watches everything they do. After months of careful study he determined this: I need a younger sibling close to me in age. He put in an order and a younger brother is on the way due to arrive in October.

I think if Lincoln had talked to his brother Bentley before he put in his order, he might have had second thoughts. Bentley was blessed with younger siblings when he was seventeen months old and he found the experience overwhelming. It wasn't easy at first. Maybe because there were two babies at once? Now Bentley's happy that he has a younger brother and sister to share his days and nights with. Especially at night as Bentley would not like being in a bedroom alone at night.

Kara overheard Viva giving advice to Lincoln on the subject of younger siblings: "You know Lincoln, you're going to be a big brother. You're going to have to do chores."

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Genevieve's Hidden Math Skills

Genevieve can be my "problem" child when it comes to discussing math.  She likes to mess with me, and shrugs her shoulders with a somewhat bewildered look at times when I ask her a (seemingly) simple question that her twin can answer - and that I think she knows the answer to too!

But today she accidentally revealed skills.  Oops.  We were having a discussion on the "tickets" involved in the newest rendition of Kara attempts chore organization.  I was explaining to her that if she managed to accomplish all her jobs for the day, the next day she would get a ticket she could use for 20 minutes on the iPad.

She looked at the ticket.  She thought for a minute.  Then she said:

"So does that mean that if I saved my tickets for 6 days I could play on the iPad for TWO hours?!".

Clever girl.  Addition and some knowledge of hours and minutes, all in once sentence.  I'm reassured.  :)

Death Star Completed

The Death Star is completed. It took a while longer than it would have otherwise because I wanted Mark to take a time lapse video of the boys building the Death Star so everyone could see that it was indeed built by the four and six year olds. The problem with filming the boys is the baby. We can't have the camera (iPhone actually) on a tripod when Lincoln is around. He'll pull it down. And Lincoln is usually around. So I only got a few short minutes of Jake building. Then the boys got the flu and didn't do much. Then Mark left town on business. I finally gave up on my video idea and just asked the boys to finish it. So they did.

Jake built a lot of the last two levels. When he gets focused on something he stays focused. He did a lot of it on his own. Once or twice I helped him find the pieces. One afternoon I set aside the needed pieces for him to build with and he told me that I gave him the wrong pieces. Huh? I thought the manual called for white caps. Jake said it was clear caps.

Me: "It's white. Use white."

Jake: "You're wrong. It's clear."

Me: "It’s white. Look at the manual."

Jake: "It's clear."

Me: "White!"

Jake: "Okay, if you want your Death Star done wrong."

Followed by: "Bentley and me have good eyes. That's the wrong piece."

I gave in. He was probably right. He's interpreted a lot more pages in the manual than I have. How does a manual show clear?!

Viva and I worked on the Death Star one afternoon while the boys were at gymnastics. She never worked on it on her own. She said it was too hard. I think it was not pink enough. And it's not. She and I ought to change out a wall of gray bricks for pink bricks. That would make Bentley mad. I think Jake would be okay with the change, but Bentley would not. Then again, Jake can be a real by-the-books guy, too. 

Bentley did the last few pages on Monday afternoon. Jake said it was okay for him to finish it without his help. Now we have to find somewhere to store it. We're not taking it apart until Lincoln and his younger brother are old enough to put it together which would be in five or so years.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Book Store Adventure

I took the trio to Title Wave Book store Friday afternoon. Bentley was in need of more reading material. It's a used book store, so I always go armed with a bag or two of books I don't want anymore. Today I got $40 in used credit which was good because I spent $44 on books. I like this used book store because they will let you buy books using only credit, you don't have to pay a penny if you have enough credit.

I told the children that they could each pick one book on their own and then I'd help them pick out some books at their reading level for reading time at home. Upon entering the children's section Jake immediately spied a big DK book on Star Wars. He spent some time looking through it and then put it back and moved on to other books.

Viva checked out a number of books before finding a lift-the-flap book similar to one she has at home. She said she just loves the book at home and really, really wanted another one like it. It was $5 used which is a lot for a children's book, but she was adamant and I had told them they could each pick one out by themselves. She carried that book around for the rest of the time we were in the store.

Bentley was all over the children's section. He looked at lots of science books and found books on crocodiles, reptiles, and snakes. He settled on the one about snakes. He told me a similar one in that same series about elephants was too easy (level 3 reader), but he had no problem with a level 3 book about snakes. Whatever. It was his pick.

Jake didn't really settle on any one book. He picked a few and then I steered him towards the best of the bunch, a Berenstain Bears book on the hazards of junk food. He was happy with his choice.

I found three books (two were multiple books in one volume) at the twin's reading level and then I helped Bentley find some new chapter books at his reading level. We found many series of easy chapter books. Bentley brought home 12 books. That seems like a lot, but I'm sure he'll be through them in a week. We will be visiting the library every week this summer.

On the way home Viva informed me that they already own the book Jake picked out. Great! Why didn't she tell me that while we were at the book store before I bought the book?! Unfortunately it gets worse than that. When Bentley was showing off his pile to his parents, he discovered two copies of the same book. We purchased two of the exact same book today. (Chaos! My life is chaos!) I knew we had two copies of the same book, so I put one in the discard pile. I think Bentley must have put it back in the buy pile because he thought I was getting rid of a book he wanted.

So I purchased two different duplicate books. I'll trade them back in at the book store, but I won't get back as much credit as I spent. At least when you check out library books it doesn't matter if you get a book you already own. The library is definitely where I’m going next time! (Not that I'm finished buying books for the children. Some books are worthy of rereading. Those books are good to own and have on hand for a rainy day or a younger sibling.)

Monday, May 07, 2012

He Two Bikes

Jake mastered biking the day after Bentley. A little competition is a good thing...sometimes! Viva meanwhile was flittering around doing all kinds of other things. Today it was playing in the sprinkler with her umbrella. Her brothers joined her for a brief time, but then they went back to biking. Viva never practiced biking at all. After a while I had to send her inside because she was quite wet and it's too cold out to be running round in wet clothes especially if you have a cold (which Viva does). BRRR!

Sunday, May 06, 2012

He Bikes!

Bentley figured out how to bike yesterday. YES! Three weeks ago we gave the trio their first biking lessons. Then Matt left town and the children had the flu. There was maybe (?) one more biking session before today when Matt worked with them again. Whatever he did with Bentley worked great because by the time I came home from shopping Bentley could bike in tight circles. I knew that boy didn’t need training wheels and now he knows it, too. Great job, B!

Jake also had a lesson with his dad and he is doing much better, but he needs a little more practice. Since Bentley can bike in circles, Jake tries to bike in circles, too, but he needs to perfect his straightaway biking first.

Viva? I heard she had a short lesson but was easily distracted. I had my money on her as being the first one to bike, so I'm rather disappointed in her lackluster performance. I should have remembered Viva Rule #1: Viva does what Viva wants. I have to figure out how to make her want to learn to bike. She's not going to do it to impress me or her dad, that's not her style.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Lincoln the Cute

Cute baby!  Matt and I think he is looking more like Bentley lately... time will tell, I suppose!

Words... does a post need words?  Here are a few words about Lincoln:

food lover

We Made It Outside!

The snow melted. We got the bikes out. The children got the flu. Nobody went outside. And we needed to be outside. My perennials started coming up and they needed a little nurturing. They only attention they were getting was from the moose and that is not the kind of attention that a plant wants. I could write two or three or four blog entries on how vile moose are, but Kara would disapprove. What do moose have to do with the children she'd ask? Not a lot since the children don't yet garden. They don't care that the moose have annihilated our shrubs. The darn creatures even ate the thorny rosebushes! Nothing is safe from them except the rhubarb. Somehow they know it's poisonous.

Back to the children...Jake and Bentley and I went outside Thursday morning and watered my perennials. There are buds on the pansies that wintered over and one daffodil has a bud, too. The boys watered with me for a while but then left to play soccer and badminton. They raked a little, too. I watered and watered and watered and, of course, talked encouragingly to all my plants that had bravely made it through the wicked winter. The peonies are up! The troillus has a few leaves. The columbine is doing great. The irises are coming in thick. The blue poppy is phenomenal. Two out the three bleeding hearts have made an appearance. The oriental poppies are back! The delphinium looks good. I think most of my plants made it through the winter.

We need to spend more time outside. The children need to practice their biking. This session of swim lessons just ended, so that frees up two afternoons. Soon ballet and gymnastics will be over, too, and then we will have more free time. YEAH! Lincoln needs to learn to walk, so he can go outside with us. He's not going to be happy confined to the house. Bring on the summer! Bring on the endless hours of daylight! Let the good times roll. Summer in Alaska is the best. THE BEST.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Strawberry Girl

Viva loves strawberries. She and Jake have always liked them a lot, but this past month her love for strawberries has gotten out of hand. We had to give her a limit or she'd eat the entire four pound container from Costco on her own. Since she's only allowed three at a time, she makes sure they are the largest three in the container. Jake and Viva also like blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries.