Saturday, November 30, 2013

Weekly Packages

Almost every week Grandma Vicki sends the children a package in the mail. In the package are activities to do and books to read. (Grandma Vicki teaches preschool in South Dakota, so she has lots of good ideas and good books.) The children are always eager to open her packages and see what treasures have arrived.

Two weeks ago the package contained information on owls. Viva and Lincoln did some of the activities together.

Later that week Jake made an owl for himself.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Reading with Daddy

The kids reading with Daddy continues - right now they are reading Harry Potter number 3, I believe.  And although they find the book riveting it is still just about impossible for them to hold still:

Perhaps not the best picture (and missing my favorite 2 year old!) but I think it's funny how all 4 children are caught in motion in one shot.  :)  Carry on, Daddy!  May patience and perseverance be with you.   (And yes, if you caught that reference, the kids and I just finished reading Carry On, Mr. Bowditch together!)

Monkey Game

When the older children are doing their schoolwork in the mornings, we try and keep distractions to a minimum. (What does this mean when there are two toddlers in the house?!) We don't let Lincoln use the computer in the school room, so he has been given iPad time instead. He's become addicted. His current favorite game he calls the monkey game. It's supposedly educational, but he just taps everything on the screen until it goes away. He doesn't usually follow the directions: Pick the red fruit. Count the fruit. Which fruit begins with Q? (Seriously? How many children can identify a quince? I can't!) Despite his lack of understanding of the game, Lincoln finds the monkey game very entertaining and we get a short break from being NEEDED.

When I have spare time, I sit down with him and do puzzles. He's very good at beginning puzzles that use pegs or cutouts that only fit one piece. He and I are now working on 12 piece jigsaw puzzles. His favorite set is, of course, the vehicle set. His older brothers preferred this set, too, over the animal sets.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Tree

On Thanksgiving Day Kara had the family members write some of the things they were thankful for on leaves and then she made a Thanksgiving Tree on our white board in the school room. 

Here are close-ups of Viva, Jake, and Bentley's leaves (they had two each, but I'm only posting one) :


Usually Matt takes the children sledding, but he was out of town and the snow was just right, so I took the trio sledding yesterday afternoon. The snow was perfect--a thick blanket of fluffy, clean snow not yet disturbed by other sledders. The children tried out a new sled I bought at Costco, but it wasn't nearly as fast as the saucer sleds their father has purchased for them. It'll be perfect for Lincoln when he goes sledding with them because he's too little for a fast sled.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Another Flexible Twin

Jake isn't QUITE as flexible as his twin sister, but nonetheless he is very flexible - certainly way more flexible than his mother!

Jake and Bentley have recently joined the demonstration team at karate; they're very excited.  They get to attend special practice sessions to work on choreographed routines to perform at different events around town. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Laugh or Cry?

Bentley received this set of vampire teeth at Grandma Karen and Grandpa Tim's Halloween party. Aren't they the most _________ thing you have ever seen?

How would you fill that blank in? When B wears the teeth, it makes Lincoln run shrieking in terror. When he puts them on for Evan, Evan laughs and laughs.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Oddly Fascinating

Lincoln is fascinated by an educational CD put out by LeapFrog that introduces the letters of the alphabet and the sounds they make.

I get why he likes it: he's two years old. 
Why do the older trio also find it fascinating?! 

That is odd!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Happy Boy!

A while ago Grandma accused me of having a Lincoln-centric blog.  I'm afraid it might be turning into an Evan centric blog.  What can I say??  The littlest people always do an awful lot of cute things deserving of a camera.... and I think Evan deserves a shot at fame just like Lincoln had.

Look at this happy guy:

He patiently waits for his dead beat (aka not-a-morning-person) mother to come get him in the morning.  Some mornings I'm slower than others, but he's always very pleased to see me and gracious about the delays.  I'm pretty lucky!!

Evan is a great sleeper (well.... mostly!).  He insists on going to bed by 8 pm.  He's definitely not a night owl.  He starts rolling on the floor and shrieking and rubbing his eyes and clearly communicating it's the end of his day!  Sometimes he gets up around midnight for some extra food, but that's okay.  He thens sleeps until the morning (unless his father is around, then he sometimes gets up to say hi to Daddy.... !). Upon awaking he is ready for a nap after about 2 hours.  Craziness!

I suppose if I were as small and crazy and energetic as that child I might need lots of sleep too.  He still seems to be exuding at least as much passion and zest and energy as Jake, maybe even double that amount.  Being that crazed is a lot of work.  :)  It does make for a very cute package of energy though!


The other day Viva decided to make herself a pair of slippers. She got out the paper, tape, and ruler. She measured her foot and then made a slipper.

I don't think she made a second one. She offered to make Lincoln a pair, but he wouldn't sit still long enough to be measured.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

My Blue Belts!

Bentley and Jake continue to work hard at their karate.  They have been eagerly awaiting testing time so they could advance beyond yellow belt status - they both tested for, and passed, the tests for their orange and blue belts!  They're already working on katas and combination tequniques and blocks needed for their next aspiration - a blue belt with a purple strip.  :)

If you look closely you'll notice, in picture 2, another family member at karate - Daddy!  He's doing some classes with the kids.  Matt was a karate goer when younger, but in a different form of martial arts.  So he's starting over as a white belt (but is now a yellow belt and I'm sure will advance quickly).  :)

Now that the boys are blue belts they are eligible to attend the more advanced class offerings at the karate school.  They are really enjoying the exposure to more advanced moves, and they're having a great time.  Karate is treating us well, and was definitely a good choice for the boys!  I look forward to seeing what they do next.

Race to the Gate

Great-grandma's bedroom is downstairs, so every morning she has to climb the staircase and open the gate to join us. It's a little tricky to open the baby gate while holding on to a cane and gripping the rail, so she asks for help. When she calls out "Can someone open the gate?" there is a stampede for the gate. One of the older children will come to open the gate and one or both of the younger children will rush over, too. We have Lincoln trained to not go down the stairs while great-grandma is coming up, but Evan doesn't listen to us or great-grandma. Evan LOVES escaping the main floor and he takes any opening he sees to do so. Great-grandma provides him a big opening.

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Best Place to Play

The lure of the forbidden is the most enticing, even to the smallest of people.  Evan isn't often allowed 1) downstairs, and 2) on the stairs.  That makes going downstairs, and playing on the stairs downstairs, among his very favorite activities!

Sometimes I'd *like* to just let him be, and go with the philosophy that falling will teach him not to play on stairs.  But that doesn't seem like the best parenting move - tumbling down stairs can hurt you!  And I'm not 100% convinced that having a scare would deter our stubborn little guy.

While we were in Mexico he was a big fan of the water.  It was mid chest on him, and he loved to walk in it - he loved to NOT be holding my hand as well.  He'd run, trip, and swallow water.  He'd come up gasping (or I'd grab him!), and then he would want to repeat the whole experience.  He never seemed to process that he was making a poor choice!

I think this child will have excellent tunnel vision when it comes to accomplishing his goals.  We'll just have to make sure they're the right goals!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Back Posting

I do not like back posting, but I loathe week long gaps in the blog when we certainly have enough to blog about with five very active children in our household. It's because we have five active children that we don’t always find the time to blog. We are busy doing school work with them, feeding them, taking them to activities, playing games with them, reading with them, listening to them, carrying them around, and just enjoying being with them. It's not easy to find free time to write blog posts. It's gotten even harder since Evan became more active and vocal. And then there's my new friend Gladys. She's my long arm quilting machine and we like to hang out together in the guest room downstairs and quilt. There are not enough hours in the day!

Nonetheless I am going to try and do better. I and Kara will fill in the last week's gap in posting (starting with this post!) and then I will try and work ahead. Post! Post! Post!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Peacock Tile Art

Viva and Jake have been going crazy with the wood blocks lately.  Viva tells me that this particular creation is a Peacock!

This was Jake's vehicle which he later renamed a scorpion.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Mr. Evan

Another *quality* iPhone shot.  I think it captures the impish nature of our Evan though!

When the twins were young the expression "double trouble" came up on occasion.  With Evan the expression "trouble ON the double" has crossed my mind.  Evan moves fast, very fast.  He's passionate (twice as passionate as Jake, I might add) and determined and clever.  He knows what he wants and he sees what all four of his older siblings can do, and he's determined to not be left out.  I conjecture that he's determined to not only not be left out, but determined to be the number ONE trouble maker!

He's very cute.  Good thing!

Evan has some great expressions, which I can never quite capture.  If he is told no he does a great flat thin lip look, like his older brother Jake used to.  He has the best smiles and is a big flirt.  

His style of running is unique - it could be that I'm getting *old*, but I don't really remember his siblings moving like he does.  He doesn't really walk but more throws himself forward with purpose - which causes him to always look slightly unstable, but he seems wiling to sacrifice safety for the sake of getting where he wants to go quicker!

Evan can say "hey kids", "kitty", "hi" and, of course, "Mommy" and "Daddy".

He has 8 teeth, if you count some half way in teeth.  We are all (him included?!) eagerly awaiting the arrival of more teeth so he can expand to the world of harder to chew foods!

And there is it.  A quick update on our favorite baby!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Lincoln's Favorite Phrases

My two year old can say quite a few different things, but he has some expressions that are definitely favorites!  The all time favorite?


It's endearing, yes.  For the first ten times it's uttered in a go round, at least!  Who doesn't want to feel needed, right?  But I will admit... being the adored and utterly needed favorite isn't always the great perk it sounds to be!

At night time my little friend cries after story time when I try to leave him.  He grabs my arm with BOTH HANDS!  Last night I thought I was just about free, as his eyes were closed and he looked about asleep.  Then I realized he was quietly chanting (Whimpering?!  Muttering?!  Not sure what the right word is!) under his breathe - "Don't leave me, Mommy.  Don't leave me, Mommy.").  Pathetic, right?!

In his defense, and mine, he has been sick.  So I've created this bed time monster, I will admit.  Now how to uncreate it?!


Lincoln has another favorite expression.  When he's sitting at the table, for example, playing with Great-Grandma he will say "I'll be right back", before he runs off to do whatever it is that he urgently needs to do.  I *hear* children get their phrases from those around them.  Apparently I'm guilty of disappearing with the intent to be "right back" on a more regular basis than I knew!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Busy Busy

Here's a sampling of activities in our home over the past two months:

Lincoln tries out one of the toys from our toy closet downstairs.

Viva paints with not just one but two watercolor sets.

Evan works on a puzzle.
Notice how he is strapped in? He can't take off with puzzle pieces!

Bentley buys and builds a new Castle Lego set.

Jake buys and builds a new City Lego set.

Evan and Lincoln read together while the older children do school work.

Great-grandma is helped by Lincoln and coached by Jake in a game of Rat-a-Tat-Cat against Bentley.

Jake and Bentley play firemen. Lincoln and Evan tag along.

Lincoln and Viva check out the Series 11 Lego minifigures.

 Bentley and Lincoln playing on the mini-iPad.

Viva humors me and models a dress I saved from Kara's childhood.

Evan roaming the downstairs--probably checking to see if any gates are open!

Viva making a rubberband bracelet.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Good Looking!

I haven't had occasion to post these two photos in the past six weeks, but I hate just deleting them because they are great candid photos of our good looking twins.

Do they look like they could be twins? The karate instructor told Kara he finds it hard to believe Jake and Viva are twins because they are so different in their approach to karate. Jake is focused, driven, gifted even. Viva is mostly lackadaisical and making slow progress towards her first belt. (She is much different in her acro class where she works hard, pays attention, and excells. We're not sure why she agreed to join karate. Maybe she just didn't want to be left out?)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Ukulele Prodigies?

The other day I went upstairs and allowed Evan to follow me. (He screams very loudly when you shut the gate and leave him locked on the main floor.) I went into my bedroom closet, leaving Evan alone in the bedroom for a minute. The next thing I heard was the sound of a ukulele being strummed. This is what I found:

Did you notice how he was both strumming and plucking the strings? Isn't he the cutest? His brother Bentley (whose ukulele he borrowed) did not think so. When I showed Bentley the photo of Evan playing his ukulele, he did this to Evan: 

This afternoon Jake and Bentley had a great conversation about ukuleles. Bentley stated that everyone (meaning all the children) in the family play the ukulele. Jake questioned whether Evan does--but as you saw we have proof that Evan does play. Jake then told Bentley that he was trying to teach Lincoln how to play the ukulele but Lincoln wasn't very good at playing the C chord that Jake had tried to teach him. Bentley asked Jake if perhaps that was because Lincoln wasn't trying to play a C chord, maybe he was practicing a D7 chord instead? Jake pondered that for a moment and then agreed that maybe Lincoln did know some chords that he (Jake) didn't know.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

First Official Snowfall

Snow fell on September 22nd at our home, but the official records are taken across town so "officially" it was not Anchorage's first snowfall until Sunday (November 10th) when snow again fell at our home, but also at the official record keeping station. The children were thrilled to finally have some snow to shovel. The men folk not so much. Lincoln and Evan did not get to go outside to play. They were sad.