Monday, March 30, 2015


I pulled out the cloth tunnels recently for Evan and Lincoln to play in. They had a great time! The tunnels came as part of two different play tent sets. The play tents have not survived because their poles were made of plastic. When the tent flipped on its side--play tents are not anchored into the ground--and then someone steps on a pole, the pole becomes permanently damaged. I tried duct tape and dowels to fix them, but it doesn't work well. The tunnels on the other hand have held up really well. The only problem with the tunnels is that sometimes the cat turns into a feral stalker when they are out and that is not a pleasant experience for anyone playing in the tunnels. (The cat has a great time…)

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Jake's Top 10 Hawaii List

(notes and pictures by JAKE!)

1) The blow hole

2) Boogie boarding w/Daddy

3)  Volcano National Park
4) Star gazing

5)  The canyon

6) The beach

7) Swimming pools - they were the best!

8) Huge pancakes

9) The lighthouse

10) The ukulele shop

The verdict: the trip was good.  He's ready to return next year!

(a few other pictures Jake took:)

Everyday Life: February

It has been a crazy month. Kara and I are not posting as often to the blog because we are distracted with other activities. Kara has been spending a lot of time at the dojo while the boys prepare for their upcoming competitions. I have been spending my free time quilting my back log of quilt tops. I have quilted eight quilt tops this month and now I am binding them. Be assured though that even when we don't post life goes forward at a crazy pace at our home!

Opa continues to play ukulele regularly, but the grandchildren play infrequently. Maybe opa needs to set up a regular time to play with his grandsons?

The boys were attending ukulele night in February, but this month it's nothing but karate in evenings. It will be nice to get back to more varied schedule after they return from their tournament.

Evan and Viva wearing a quilt I finished In February!

The Death Star is still taking up space in my bathroom and Lincoln plays with it every day. Evan only occasionally plays with it--he is all about the moving parts. Lincoln on the other hand enjoys adding new minifigures to the ship.

Last month (when this photo was taken) Lincoln was still big into Magformers, but I haven't seen them out for a couple of weeks. The train table is now covered with Lego houses. Lincoln cannot get enough Lego time!

The brothers engaging in a light saber fight downstairs.

The brothers engaging in a light saber fight on the main floor.

Viva checking out her Barbie dolls. She has inherited her mother's and her grandmother's Barbie dolls. She only plays with them two or three times a year.

Lincoln and Evan in an improv baseball game. Because they are little and cute we allowed this game in our family room. The older boys would get in big trouble if they tried batting balls around the family room. (Let's face it, the little boys aren't going to score many hits.)

Viva in her favorite craft area--the mud room. She is working on beaded hairpins. Lincoln joined Viva because he was lonely. (That's what she told me.)

Evan doesn't normally like to eat cheese, but he discovered that cheese flavored with garlic butter is good tasting! Bentley likes to take the cheese off his cheesy bread so we thought he would appreciate E's help, but B says the bread tastes better if the cheese is removed after the baking.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Zentangle? Mandala? Doodle?

From my uneducated point of view Zentangles and mandalas are elaborate doodles, but to the informed they are much more than mere (or elaborate!) doodles. All I really know is that the children like coloring them. If you want to know more on the topic, you will have to do your own research. Bentley, Jake, and Viva enjoy filling the drawings with color while listening to educational talks or audio books. Activities like this can help you focus better on the talk than if you were just sitting in a chair listening. 

Some of their artwork is hanging on the schoolroom wall above the chalkboard. 

The owl is Bentley's. The flowers are Jake's. Viva has been crocheting lately instead of coloring.

Friday, March 27, 2015


For the past few weeks the children have been into fort building. They use couch cushions, blankets, cloth tunnels, gym mats, and whatever is close at hand to build a fort.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Demise of the Cookie Dough

(Genevieve was at gymnastics or I'm sure she'd have been in this picture too!)

On this particular day Lincoln had requested the chance to make cookies, and Bentley volunteered to help.  I agreed and gave myself a pat on the back for being responsive to their wishes!  I snapped this cute picture and chalked this up as a win.

Until at bedtime when Lincoln asked me:

L: "Did you save me some cookie dough?" 

Me: "Uhmmm... no... weren't you eating it earlier?" 

L: "No!  I didn't want to get my hands messy! I was waiting for you to get me a bowl!" 

Me: "But you didn't ask me for a bowl..."

L: "You didn't give me one!!"

*Sigh... !*

Needless to say, we made more cookie dough the next day.  :)

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Backyard

Who knew?!  About  50 feet back behind our property we have this!  Yesterday the kids wanted to go out hiking with their father and they decided to head back into the woods.  It's been a (very) weird winter.  Normally the ground is marshy back behind our property, but it's still somewhat frozen - so it was easy to go back farther into the woods than the kids normally would.  

With the kids starting to get a bit older maybe they'll start exploring more this summer... crazy!  :) (Grandma Julia: The problem in the summer is marshy wetlands are ideal for mosquito breeding. That is what has kept me from exploring more with the children.)

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Funny Quotes

I never write down as many of the funny things the kids say as I ought to, but here are two from this week.

"I'm only a preview now of what I'm going to be when I grow up!"

Lincoln (when Jake was being a pest):
"Mommy, can you please take Jake to karate and leave him there all day?"

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Puzzle Mania

We've been doing a lot of puzzles at our house lately. Bentley got a new 200 piece dinosaur puzzle for his birthday and he's done in numerous times over the past six weeks. Evan likes to do puzzles on his own, but he chooses harder ones than he can do on his own so someone has to help him. Lincoln waits for someone to do a puzzle with him. Usually that someone is me, but occasionally Viva does a puzzle with him. Jake has a tendency to do the puzzle for him. (I am not sure why Evan is in every single photo below and Lincoln is in none. Lincoln loves puzzles, too!)

In the last photo you can see the 500 piece puzzle that was pieced St. Patrick's Day evening. Kara invited some women from church to come over at 9PM to do puzzles with us. 8 or 9 women showed up and ate green cake and pieced two different 500 piece puzzles. Bentley helped us with the puzzles until his mom sent him to bed.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

St. Patrick's Day

We are not Irish, but we like to celebrate St Patrick's Day at least a little. Grandma Vicki helped us out greatly this year by supplying some hand-made leprechaun masks. Lincoln and Evan made them while visiting her last Friday. I took a photo of Lincoln modeling his, but I have to track it down. I will post it later.

For now here's Lincoln and Evan enjoying the St Patrick's Day stickers that Grandma Vicki sent home with them. Evan's sticker sheet has more shamrocks on it. I love the way he lined them up (see first photo), but it turned out he didn't know you had to removed the paper from the back of the sticker so he had to start over.  I removed the paper from the shamrocks and he stuck them on the paper--randomly the second time.

Isn't green the loveliest color?

Monday, March 16, 2015

Mr. Awesome's Dance Moves

The kids are big fans of the Lego Movie (of course!) and of the song "Everything Is Awesome". The song is a favorite of Jake's, and lately of Lincoln's! Lincoln is my crazy kid who likes to come up with his own dance moves and sing along while he's doing it. After watching this video he said to me - "Help me! Come record me so I can watch myself do another dance!" I hope he nevers loses his great enthusiasm and passion!

Sunday, March 15, 2015


The past few months whenever we ask Evan or Lincoln to pose for a photo they insist on saying "Cheeeeeeese" and producing a truly cheesy grin--a grimace in my opinion. I have to give them five stars for trying, but I wish they wouldn't try so hard.

The reason I took this photo is to show off the toddler shirt I recently purchased at a thrift store. I wasn't shopping for kid clothes, I was buying shirts for their cuffs. Turns out the cuffs on this shirt were too small and a little worn. So I gave the shirt to Lincoln. It was too large, so I rolled the cuffs up once. I commented to him that it would fit him when he was bigger. His response was "When I'm a daddy?" I told him no, it would not fit him when he was daddy's size. He would be daddy's size when he was grown up. He then told me that no, when he was a daddy, daddy would be a grandpa. This is true, did we get from toddler clothes to grandpas? This conversation made sense to Lincoln, but not to me.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Saturday--Lazy? Busy?

Was today a lazy Saturday? Depends on who you ask. I was assigned to stay home with Lincoln and Evan while Matt and Kara went to Viva's gymnastics meet with her. Opa took Jake and Bentley to karate and then worked for three hours before picking them up and bringing them home. For some of us, it was a lazy day, for others not so much. 

What did Lincoln, Evan and I do while the others were away? I aided Lincoln in finishing the new Lego set his dad brought him home from DC when he returned yesterday. Matt and Lincoln started building it before Matt left for gymnastics. Evan played drums for us...very loudly. I collected the newspaper from down the driveway, but Lincoln refused to go with me. He was concerned about moose. !! Lincoln, Evan and I played a slow motion version of Blink. They are still learning how to play so they aren't fast. We went upstairs and we built a train layout to play on. We were kind of lazy!

Jake and Bentley returned from karate and immediately started building their Lego sets from their father. I fed the kids lunch. The younger boys went down for their nap and I am free (once I've written a few blog posts) to go and quilt! 

Trains in the background,
Lego car sets in the foreground,
boys everywhere!

Opa took ten shots and this was the best. *sigh*
I told him no more!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Joke by Jake

Karate joke created by Jake:

What did the boy say after he practiced his technicals except for his punches?

Now I'm going to add the punch-uation!

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Bunny Art

I recently cajoled the older kids into drawing bunnies with me... they had varying levels of interest but they were all good sports. :)

Jake's bunnies:

Viva's bunny:

Bentley's bunnies, including a classy vampire bunny on the end:

Monday, March 02, 2015

Busy, Busy

Lincoln and Evan have endless hours of free time every day. How do they spend them?

We are a Lego family, but the children occasionally pull out the Playmobil sets.

Evan tried on a cape and eye mask. He decided he didn't like them.

Ramses and Lincoln during a stare down. Don't blink!

Time to fuel up! Evan and Lincoln have daily berry smoothies.

Lincoln has worn my new slippers more than I have.

Eye mask = NO! Sunglasses = YES!

We have two smaller sets of Magformers that make into vehicles.

Evan snuck in to play with the Death Star!

Lincoln talked to Daddy while he was in Hawaii with Jake.