Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween Tats

Halloween Lego Sets

As soon as we got back from our vacation at the end of September, Bentley asked that I get out the Monster Fighters Lego sets so he could work on building them in time for Halloween. He worked very diligently. Jake worked, too, but not as consistently. Viva...I'm not sure she ended up helping at all. That's okay. Legos are for fun, so if you don't find them fun, you don't have to do them.

After two weeks, Bentley (mostly) and Jake had put together all the sets except for the very smallest (left for Viva or Lincoln to build) and the largest set, the Haunted House. I think I won't take the sets apart like I did two years ago. I will find a larger storage bin and leave them put together. Next year Bentley and Jake can build the Haunted House and all the sets will be on display. I will take them all apart again in two or three years when Lincoln and Evan are old enough to help build them. 

Here are some photos of the finished sets which are in the older children's bedroom. I found Evan in there yesterday checking out the airplane. He was playing nicely--which isn't always the case. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014


Sometimes there are just too many good choices and you have to pick which you want most to do. Tomorrow is Halloween and the older children have really been looking forward to going out trick or treating door-to-door. The past two Halloweens they have been in Mexico with Grandpa Tim & Grandma Karen, so they missed out on fully celebrating Halloween. The trade off of a vacation in sunny Mexico was worth the sacrifice of Halloween, but this year they are home (they return from their Las Vegas trip this evening!) and they are ready to hit the streets to knock on doors.

So what's the problem with their plan? I need to figure out the timing. Matt and Kara are in Paris so we are short two adults in the household. Opa has an event he really, really, REALLY wants to attend--it's ukulele night and there is a rumor that The United Kingdom Ukulele Orchestra who are in town to play some concerts (Mark and the boys have tickets to go tomorrow) might stop by Guidos to play with their ukulele group. Mark wants to be there. The boys want to be there, too, but not as much as they want to go trick or treating.

Another problem is that our church ward is doing Trunk-or-Treat at 6PM and Viva is at gymnastics until 7:15PM. If we pull Viva from gymnastics early to make it to the church by 6PM (trunk or treat lasts less than a half hour--it doesn't take long to walk around a parking lot), then Viva will miss more than half of her gymnastics session and she's already missed twice while in Vegas. And, of course, we have to rush out of Trunk-or-Treat to get to Guidos in time to get a good ukulele seat. 

So what are we going to do? What do we throw out? We are going to confer with the kidlets and see if they desperately want to go to Trunk-or-Treat. Maybe we can skip it and just go out trick or treating? Or Viva can skip and the boys will share their treats? I'm going to talk to Grandma Vicki and see if she can help us to juggle all the balls. I don't think the youngest two need to go door-to-door, but if they don't I'll have to stash them somewhere. Opa would not do be able to talk ukulele with the hoped for guests, if he has two toddlers racing around him. 

Play, Play, Play!

Yesterday the boys and I stayed home. I worked on decluttering a couple of junk drawers and boxes. Decluttering is a colossal time sink and when you are done no one can tell except you (which is why most people never do it), but I'm neurotic enough to do it for my own pleasure. I know I made a difference! Meanwhile Lincoln and Evan enjoyed a day of uninterrupted play.

I decluttered the downstairs toy closet just a little and brought a few items upstairs for Lincoln and Evan to play with. The sunglass bin was one of those items.

At first Evan tried on a few pairs, then he decided they all should go away--up high on the counter was his preference. He wanted them out of his sight. Later in the day he mellowed and tried on a few more pairs. Two year olds are fickle.

Last year when we sorted through five boxes of Legos from Craig's list, we ended up with a small bag of nonLego "treasures." The bag has been sitting in my closet for a year--waiting for what?? Further sorting, of course! L&E and I did that today.

Another toy from downstairs: animal bowling. As the name suggests you set up the animal pins and then bowl them down. Lincoln enjoyed it. Evan opted out.

Evan played with the hats in the front bench. He wore a few different ones and he had great-grandma wear one, too. (Unfortunately the hats are child-size so it wasn't a great fit for her.)

After nap time, Lincoln did two puzzles. He was up for doing more, but I wasn't.

Instead I pulled out yet another item relocated from downstairs! It's a Discovery Toy item called Playful  Patterns. It's a lot like pattern blocks, but different shapes. Lincoln liked it and asked to leave his cards out to show to opa when he came home. 

Evan and I did one puzzle together, then he was distracted by whatever Lincoln was doing. I love this Ravensburger puzzle--see the little holes in the puzzle? You pop out the pieces. The little kids love doing it. So many cool toys! So little time. :-( (So little storage space!)

Opa came home. We had dinner. It was play time again!

Evan wanted opa to get up and do something for him, but opa didn't move so Evan started pushing him. Evan does this to great-grandma, too. If she doesn't move fast enough he prods her! Opa finally obliged him by rolling over which Evan thought was great fun. Lincoln came to join in on the fun.

Finally we pulled out the art cards, the dinosaur cards, and the vehicle tiles. It takes a lot of different activities to fill a half hour with two toddlers! (Fortunately for us, the toddlers are usually happy to play on their own, but sometimes we want to play with them. They are very entertaining.)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Work, Work, Work!

Since all our playmates left town, I decided we left here should get a little work done. On Monday L&E and I went outside to get grandma's newspaper and to put away the trikes, bikes and other yard toys on the porch. They were snowed on last week and we put them up there to dry off. Evan was furious with me because I insisted he use his coat hood and he did not like it. He stayed angry almost the entire time we were outside. 

Later that afternoon I removed all the chairs from the dining area so I could clean their felt pads and then mop the floor. I built a tent for the boys to play in. They have been really good buddies so far this week!

On Tuesday I decided we should go to Costco and stock up on a few things. Those few items filled the entire cart! When I got home I found I had duplicated some recent purchases of Kara's. Ah well, food storage is a good thing. While at Costco we checked out some of the toys newly stocked for Christmas. There was an adorable dinosaur I thought would make a good photo op with the boys. Unfortunately, Evan took one look at him and climbed out of the cart!

Lincoln then started jabbering about Pooh Bear. He wanted Pooh Bear he stated. I looked around and saw no bears. He directed me to this item:

I told him it wasn't Pooh, but he insisted it was. Furthermore, he really, really wanted to take him home. I said no. He's too big and we have far too many stuffed animals at home already. He was quite angry with me. 

Even after we got home, he kept bringing Pooh up. Both L&E fell asleep in the van on the way home. It's the first nap Lincoln has taken in over two weeks. (He's good about laying down, he just doesn't sleep.) I let them continue sleeping in the van when we got home and I put all the food away and did some cleaning in the garage.

Work, work, work. There is no lack of it. (Just a lack of time and energy.)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Currently this is one of Lincoln's favorite costumes:

When not being Superman, he likes to be:

The older boys have been dressing up, too. It's the Halloween Spirit!  

Evan does not dressing up, not even in a cape. Two year olds can be difficult at Halloween time. We will see how it goes on Friday.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Another Adventure Begins

After Bentley, Jake, and Viva left on a plane to go to Las Vegas, the next night (Saturday) Kara and Matt left on a plane to go to Paris to celebrate their 15th wedding anniversary. (Their anniversary was in August.) Kara was not excited to have two long plane flights ahead of her: six hours to Chicago, eight hours in Chicago, then eight hours to Paris. They sent this photo from Chicago:

Meanwhile Opa and I are in charge of Lincoln and Evan. Yesterday we made it through our first solo day. Things when fairly well--no major breakdowns! Lincoln understood that mommy and daddy had left, but I wasn't sure that Evan understood. The first night Evan wanted to go see mommy at 3AM, so I showed him her empty bed and he took it well. Here's a couple of photos from day one without the parents:

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Painting Time

For some reason I thought Evan and Lincoln might enjoy some paint:

They were marginally entertained, but I was forced to concede that they might enjoy it more if they were a little older.  Evan mostly painted his chest (and then screamed).  Lincoln made a number of dots and then smeared all his paint together.  Viva?  She had fun, but was busy trying to protect her territory on the paper from her little brothers.  Alas.  Credit for trying, right?! :)  Luckily we have lots and lots and lots of paper, paint, and brushes - so we'll get to give it another go!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

More Fabulous Children

We never *quite* got around to birthday pictures of Jake, Viva, and Lincoln.... what can I say?  It's busy, busy busy.  But since we had the cameras out to grab the littlest guy Opa took some pictures of the other three for me.  We would have included Bentley but he is off touring Barrow still.  :)

Here are some of my favorites:

Friday, October 24, 2014

Off They Go!

My oldest three are off on a Vegas adventure!  Grandma Karen turned 60 this month, and they are lucky enough to go spend some time hanging out there with her.  They flew down with a relative of Karen's who was also headed this way, and I heard this morning that they made it!  I hope to hear all about their adventures when they return - but with kids you never know.  Feast or famine for information! :)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Barrow Highlights

Love these pictures, the last one in particular!  From all accounts (Bentley isn't very informative or chatty all the time!) Barrow was an exciting trip.  They went touring the local sites, went swimming at the school pool, checked out church in Barrow, took the missionaries to dinner, and went to the visitors center.  In addition to school and office work, of course!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Mr. Independent

This post could be titled *all about Evan*, but the title I gave it sums him up pretty well too.

And here is a collection of random facts about my two year old that I want to remember!

I love how he says okay - "oh-tay", and you can hear the up lilt at the end of the word.  Way too cute.

I'm enamored of his current love of the word no.  He says it with great conviction.

Evan is normally happy in the morning and greets me with a smile, even if he's had to patiently wait for me to come to his rescue.

He loves jelly beans, turkey sausage, and vanilla wafers.  That's well rounded, right?

He is too busy running to cuddle, but lately has been great at sharing kisses.  He grabs your head with both hands to hold you in place, then lunges in.  :)

He wishes he could do everything for himself.  The other day he tried to take his pajama top off and ripped it straight down the back because he got stuck!  I guess those PJs were on the flimsy side?!

He has a great angry look - he juts out his jaw and grinds his teeth together, and glares.  This normally happens if you tell him no or if you take away the iPad which he has an addiction to.

He loves the cat and follows him around offering great hugs.  I hope that cat appreciates his adoring fan.

And that's it for now!  We love this little character!

P.S. - Evan's height and weight are in the 50th percentile, but his head is in the 98th.  That's an awfully big brain! :)

P.S.S - Are you wondering where the super cute pictures of my favorite two year old are?  Well... he is a crazy boy, a super fast and busy dare devil.  He declined my offer of some cover up to minimize his bruises from running into everything from couches to floors to walls to brothers. I'm monitoring the situation and waiting for a bruise-free day to take some nice pictures.  I'm hoping that moment comes!  Ha!

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Fabulous Birthday Boy!

We managed to sneak in a few shots with Evan yesterday, which is great since he's been busy running straight into walls and cupboards today.  Crazy kid!  A charmer, though. :)  Which is good since he is also a crazy imp.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Jake the Reader

Jake has been reading A LOT lately. He has a book series that he currently loves: The Magic Tree House. He enjoys both the Merlin Missions and the original series. He informed me that does not read the Fact Trackers. (I think he might enjoy them because he likes nonfiction fact books which is what they are.)

We went to the library a couple of weeks ago and he checked out three Magic TreeHouse books. He had them read in two days and we had to go back. He picked up another ten books in the series and his mom has downloaded others from the library on the Kindle. He has been reading, reading, reading--and best of all LOVING IT!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Off to Barrow

Matt had to fly today to Barrow for some weekend work, and he asked Bentley if he wanted to go along.  Bentley jumped on the opportunity to go on a weekend adventure with his Dad, and off they've gone!  I took them to the airport at 5 am this morning:

I hope they have a great time!  It should be unless Daddy tries to force Bentley into trying whale.... I just don't see that going over too well.  :)  I already miss them, and look forward to seeing them home on Tuesday!

Friday, October 17, 2014

New Green Belt!

Jake's *long* awaited moment of triumph arrived last night:

Jake is over the moon excited about this.  His eyes have an extra sparkle and his voice has an extra exclamation in it today.  :)  He tells me that green is a marvelous color on him!

He had a few lessons with the Sensei and has been working to improve his stances and learn to lead classes with authority.   We're excited about the great progress he's making!