Sunday, August 31, 2014


I took this photo of Jake yesterday right after he finished building his Lego Star Wars ship. (He'd know exactly what ship it is; I have no clue.) I asked him if I could take his photo and he agreed if I posted the photo to the blog. He asked last night if the photo was on the blog yet. I want to reward his enthusiasm so I'm posting this photo sooner rather than later.

 I found two photos in my photo folder of Lincoln and Evan playing with their Lego Duplos, so I'm posting them, too.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Photos: Lincoln

Photos: Evan

Friday, August 29, 2014

Photos: Viva

Viva wanted to join us when Mark and I took Lincoln and Evan to the woods to take photos. Whenever we found an appropriate perch, she would climb up and Mark would snap a shot. 


I'd like to back to the woods with Viva dressed in one of her chiffon dresses and take more photos. She would make a lovely Tree Fairy. 

Photos: Lincoln & Evan

A couple of weeks after we took the children to the woods and shot some photos, we took Evan and Lincoln back to get a few more of the youngest two. You can never have too many photos of toddlers!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Our Twinkling Star

So he needs some help with his t sound... and the order of his lyrics.... but other than that?  Pure perfection, I do believe.  :)

This was a few nights ago, and today Lincoln and I had the following conversation.

Lincoln: "Mommy, do you remember when I sang for Opa in his room?"
Me: "Yes!  You were great!"
Lincoln: "Opa really liked my singing."
Me: "I know!"
Lincoln: "You kept saying one more time, one more time!"
Me: "I know!  I love listening to you sing."
Lincoln: "I did not like that, I was done singing!"


I love this three year old and the earnest way he expresses himself all the time.  When his siblings fight and beat on each other he says "We don't do that... do we?!"  He has the best tone and quirks his eyebrows.  Three year olds are delightful!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

From The Kids Camera

Viva and Lincoln shared the camera last time they were at the park/for a walk.  I think they did a decent job!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Humor From Jake

Jake my non-competitive little monkey told his older brother (in a completely serious and earnest way):

"Who cares who did better, Bentley?  It's not a competition!"

We were having a conversation in the van about how they've been doing with leading classes at karate.  Bentley is a great leader and Jake is getting to be a great leader.   This particular comment was a bit rich coming from my passionate little guy who can't stand to lose, so I thought I should preserve it for all time in writing.  :)

Monday, August 25, 2014

School Photos

Here are a few photos taken of the children doing school work. Most of them were taken the first week of August. I want to reiterate that our school did not shut down for the summer, although Kara gave the children a lighter schedule so they had plenty of time to enjoy the summer.

I think the trio are watching a DVD history course in this photo. I have no idea why they decided to share one chair. As long as there is no elbowing, we are lax about stuff like that. A little sibling bonding is a good thing.

Again only one chair, but they aren't all sharing it. We have more than one chair so this seating arrangement is puzzling to me--as is the subject they are intently studying. Two large orange rectangles? It's not math, they do math using Saxon textbooks. Unless it's a short talk on a math related topic? Is it modern art? I don't recall that being on the schedule currently.

Don't they look happy?

Sunday, August 24, 2014

A Little Help from My Sibs!

Jake's Artwork

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Viva & Lincoln

Viva and Lincoln hang out together quite often when the older boys are at karate. They play hide and seek. They play dress up. They do water color painting. They make up games. 

When Viva wants someone to practice face painting on, Lincoln is her go-to guy. Bentley and Jake certainly aren't going to sit for a half hour while she paints a dinosaur on their face. 

When she needs someone to test market her latest duct tape products, it's L.

Sometimes Lincoln gets tired of being her model. On Monday she made him a duct tape vest and she wanted him to wear it right then, but he didn't want to. He protested to his mother: "Mommy sometimes I get angry with Viva." (She forgets that he's a person and not her mannequin.)

Most of the time, though, they are the best of buds.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Paper Dragons

For his birthday Bentley received a Klutz book: Paper Flying Dragons. He has really enjoyed doing this activity. It's like a paper doll book only you cut out paper dragons instead. Then you fold them like paper airplanes and fly them. Does that make sense to you? First you cut, then you fold, then you fly them. Every few weeks B pulls the book out and cuts out a new dragon. I told him we should display his dragons in a mobile. It's a good idea, but when is it going to happen? *sigh* So many good ideas so little time.

PS B tells me that not all the dragons are cut out. Some are pop out (perforated paper). He also wants you to know that some of the dragons are made from stiffer paper which he calls light cardboard. B is very detail oriented and he likes things accurate. So do I!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Great-Uncle Jim

My brother Jim came to visit our home earlier this month. He stayed for a week. He was here some nights and with our brother Mark other nights. He loves little children, so he spent time with the kids. He lives in Utah with his wife, two teenaged daughters, and his son and daughter-in-law and their three young sons. His home lacks the fourth generation because we have possession of her!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

School: The Official Scoop

The 2014-2015 public school year started today for 40,000 students in grades 2 to 12 in the Anchorage School District (ASD). Next week 8,000 kindergarten and first graders will join the other students. Our little Genevieve is officially enrolled in ASD this year as a second grader in Family Partnership Charter School (FPCS) which is a charter school for homeschoolers. She doesn't leave home to attend school, but she is an ASD student. FPCS is her mother's alma mater.

Jake and Bentley are enrolled with Raven Correspondence School (RCS) in second and third grades. This is Bentley's fourth year with RCS. RCS is part of the Yukon Koyukuk School District. Why have two children in one school and one in another? It all comes down to the money. FPCS radically raised their student funding this year making them hard to resist.

If you live in Alaska and you homeschool, there are many options open to you. If you join a correspondence school based in bush (i.e. remote) Alaska, you can generally expect a minimum of oversight. Many homeschooling parents like minimal interference from public school authorities, so correspondence schools are very popular. Every program is different, so Kara had to do a lot of research to determine which school(s) suited our family best.

In the past FPCS was not on Kara's short list because their funding wasn't substantially more than the bush correspondence schools whereas their oversight was much, much higher. They had rules upon rules that limited the way you could spend your child's funding. However, FPCS has a new principal and consequently the rules--and funding amounts--changed. 

Why not put all three children in FPCS if it's such a great choice? It's not that straightforward. Raven pays for Internet without charging it against student allotments so that's an additional $600+. Computers are paid back on a three year plan and our family is on the third year of that pay back, so leaving the school means forfeiting the third payment. Raven will pay for the boys' karate and FPCS will not because the dojo isn't an approved vendor. To become approved vendors must meet certain requirements which not all small businesses are able or willing to meet. Viva's gymnastics club is an approved vendor.

Course materials purchased through Raven are yours to keep, but materials purchased through FPCS must be given back to the school when you leave. Owning school materials is a plus. When you are finished with them you can sell them and use the funds to purchase other school materials. On the other hand, FPCS has a really nice library of returned school materials you can check out so you don't have to spend your school funds on them. That is a big savings--if they have the materials you want! 

When comparing homeschool charter schools and correspondence schools many different factors must be looked at and evaluated. As the rules and funding change, so might the decision of which program is best. Our decision for the 2014-2015 school year is: Viva with FPCS and Jake and Bentley with RCS. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Off to a New Playground

While chatting with another grandma at the neighborhood school playground, I learned that Bowman Elementary had some really great playground equipment. Last week I and Opa took the fivesome to check it out. Bowman did have playground equipment that we had not seen at any other playground we've visited--check out the swings! The only problem with this playground was that it was more popular, so it was more difficult to keep track of the youngest two. Opa followed Lincoln and Evan everywhere and that is why they are featured in most of the photos. Jake and Bentley were on the go, go, go--so we only have them in the group shot I insisted on taking before we left.

PS The new school year is starting at public schools today, so we will have limited access to school playgrounds. Evan and Lincoln are going to be sad. We can still visit parks, of course, but their playgrounds are usually smaller and farther away.