Sunday, May 31, 2015

Rock Fever

Rocks are once again a popular item with the children. The fever started on a Sunday walk. Bentley was throwing rocks and one cracked open revealing a new face of sparkling black and white. B was captivated!

When he got home he wanted to find more sparkly rocks and crack them open. Our 300 foot driveway has three feet of rocks on each side of it. Bentley spent a few hours scouring the beds for interesting rocks. The larger ones he cracked open to see if they were more sparkly inside than out. Opa showed him how to crack rocks open using a larger rock. (Opa forbid using his hammer for this task.) 

Jake joined Bentley in his rock hunt and found a few good rocks. He found a rock with three rings around (a three wish rock!), but he threw it back in the rock pile. Jake told me it was just too hard trying to decide which rocks to keep so he put them all back. Decision making can be very difficult!

Viva was out crushing rocks with Bentley for a while, too. I don't know where her rock treasures ended up. She and Jake are making a nature house, so maybe she put them aside for that purpose. Lincoln asked why he couldn't crush rocks with the older children. My objection to him joining the fun was that this activity is unsupervised, so I'm not sure how dangerous it is. Although, I'm happy to report they children were wearing safety goggles!

In the last two weeks B's collection has grown quite large. I gave him a shoe box to store them in, but if the collection grows much larger, I'm assigning him an outdoor treasure location.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

New Belts!!

Bentley and Jake did belt testing at karate this week, and they both passed their tests!  They have been working very hard. 

Bentley has now earned his brown belt, and Jake has earned his brown stripe on his green belt.  

As is always the case they are already discussing their plans and goals for when they will be testing again.  I like that they have a vision.  :)

Way to go, boys!  You're looking sharp!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Sunday Cuties

Last Sunday we wanted a picture of Lincoln because his Sunday outfit of choice was particularly cute.

Viva was still dressed in her Sunday finery too.  You can't really tell, but I French braided her hair right over the headband.  I felt quite clever and inspired - she couldn't remove the headband until I was ready for her too!!!!  She never wears them very long... until now.  Ha!

 When Evan saw a chance to go outside he wanted in on the photo shoot too - we let him join in, even though he'd already changed.  We're flexible like that.  :)

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Reading Reading Reading

The older children have been doing a lot of reading lately. 

Viva is reading the 37 Trixie Belden books that we own. They were Kara's 20 years ago. (Can it really be that long ago?) 

Bentley was reading the Spirit Animal series and is now waiting for library to get in the newest one. Bentley is currently reading The Children of the Red King series (main character Charlie Bone.)

Jake is reading the Beast Quest series. There are over 100 in the series, but fortunately the books aren't too long and the library has many of them. (#13 is missing so B quit reading the series at that point!?) Jake was also recently reading the Berenstain Bears Cub Scout books. 

I love summer because we are less structured so the children have even more time to play and read--two fantastic childhood activities.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Fieldtrip with Daddy

On Tuesday Matt took an extra day off of work to extend the Memorial Day holiday!  The big kids were already engaged with some plans (belt testing at karate and the start of swim lessons), so Lincoln and Evan scored the field trip of the day!  They headed out to Portage Glacier and threw lots and lots of rocks in the water.  And went on a short little hike.  And stopped for cookies and snacks.

They both reported back (in their brief two and three year old way) that the adventure was a big hit.  :)  Thanks, Daddy!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Baseball for Little Peeps

What big brothers are for.... to teach little brothers new skills! :)  (And, for the record, Matt claims that Evan did manage to hit a few of Lincoln's throws... !)

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Armed and.... cute :)

Weapons class at karate is definitely been a highlight of the week for the boys!  This past week they were particularly thrilled because they have now started training with nun chucks!

Their karate gear bags are quite a sight (and a load, for that matter).  Sais, tonfas, and now nun chucks.  Fighting gear in blue.  Fighting gear in red.  Helmets.  Bos.... :)

Out of all the weapons I have been the most apprehensive of the nun chucks - it seems to me you could easily hit yourself in the back of the head or on the front of the face with a fast swinging piece of wood.  Sure enough, we brought home the nun chucks and within one minute Jake had attacked his own head!  I suggested he wear a helmet to practice while getting used to them, but he assured me that was unnecessary.  I hope his brain agrees.

That being said, they are already getting much better with them.  And having a great time learning new skills and defense.  I love it - and so does Lincoln.  He is quite jealous and wonders when he will get his own weapons.  I told him it will be a little while.... !

Friday, May 22, 2015

The Bikers

The big kids went out with Matt for a bike ride this past weekend and logged 10 miles.  They're getting big quickly.  (It helps to have bigger bikes with bigger tires.... !)  Apparently all went well until towards the end when Jake's tire hit something wrong and he went flying.  Oops and ouch.   And there was the matter of the over zealous Camelbak sipping and a lack of bathrooms on the trail.  But I'm sure the thrill of the Camelbaks will wear off and moderation will kick in.  :)

All in all though a good experience, and they're ready for more - I just hope Daddy can continue to keep up with them!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Camp Fire Lunch

A week or so ago Matt took a Thursday off of work and we took all the kids out to a campground about an hour out of town for the afternoon.  Lincoln has been asking for a campfire meal, and the gorgeous weather cooperated!

We met a very well mannered Labrador and the older three all enjoyed playing fetch with him for quite a while.  Apparently he lives across the lake from the campground and often swims across to meet new people.  The kids marveled that he never tired of fetch and kept bringing the stick back... :)

It's looking to be a fun summer!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

When I Grow Up....

Lincoln is quite cute.  One of his favorite topics right now is his vocation of choice when he grows up.  He likes to say:

"Do you know what?"

To which, of course, I say:


"When I grow up I want to be a Daddy!"

Love it.

And, for informational purposes, the current career choices of the older three include...

Bentley - geology
Jake - lego architect (on the top three list of every Lego boy, right?!)
Viva - gymnastics coach


Friday, May 15, 2015

Evan on His Own

Because of his age (two years seven months), Evan has missed out on some of the fun daddy adventures that the older children have gone on recently. Last Saturday the older four went to see Harry Potter #1 at the movie theater with Matt. This evening the older three boys and Matt attended the ward Daddy-Son campout. To compensate Evan for having to stay behind, we took him to visit the playground which is one of his favorite things to do.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Busy Hands

Here's what the busy hands at our home have created (or destroyed):

The Cars on a Dartboard artwork was Jake's. Bentley and Jake were working on a nonLego brick model of the Salt Lake Temple. They were not impressed with the quality of the bricks or how they fit together.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Quotable Kids

Jake has been entertaining me lately.  Here are a few of the sentiments from his mind:

"When I grow up if I get to be a movie director I'm going to let the bad guys win once in a while...  It gets so boring when the good guys always win."

"Mommy, you are the most awesome person in the whole world.  Well... second most awesome.  Because I'm the most awesome, of course!"

Monday, May 11, 2015

Owl Pellets

Today for science the children dissected an owl pellet. Two (sterilized) owl pellets came with the science kit. What does a pellet contain? Lots of wonderful science treasures--animal skulls, bones, fur, and feathers that you first dig out of the pellet and then you try to identify what animal they came from using a special bone chart! What could be more fun?

Bentley wanted no part of this science experience. He didn't want to even be in the same room as something as disgusting as an owl pellet. He kept referring to it as owl poop, which it is not. Owls cough up pellets! (Kara also opted out on this experience. She asked me to be in charge.)

Viva was excited about dissecting an owl pellet. Jake was willing to probe the pellet with the two wooden sticks provided in the kit. He and Viva quickly discovered a rodent skull. Jake did not choose to pick the pellet pieces up in his (gloved!) hand. Viva was the intrepid biologist who picked up the owl pellet and squished it until the bones fell out.

She wanted to dissect the second pellet, too, but Kara wants to save if for Lincoln and Evan. Turns out you can buy owl pellets at 5 pellets for $12! Kara said she'd buy Viva more for her birthday.

Sunday, May 10, 2015


Jigsaw puzzles build brains and we are in the brain building business in our home.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Speedorz & Sand

The Speedorzes (Lego vehicles) did not go in the sand, but Speedorzes and sand have been enjoyed in our home this past month.

Lincoln got to pick out a new color of kinetic sand when we visited Michaels one afternoon. He chose blue. The older boys played with it for a short time.  

Jake really likes his Lego Speedorz which is meant to be used in races with other Speedorz. Bentley won't usually indulge Jake, so I finally decided to purchase Lincoln his own Speedorz so he could race against Jake. Opa found a two pack online, so we had an extra Speedorz which I gave to Viva. She was excited about it which surprised me. I didn't give the second Speedorz to Evan because I didn't think he would not be able to pull the plastic rip cord, but of course he can. He and Viva share the ice Speedorz. 

Friday, May 08, 2015

Wonderful Alaska

We who live in the Land of The Midnight Sun do so because the summers are phenomenal. The weather isn't too hot to enjoy outdoors activities and we have endless hours of sunlight in which to enjoy our hobbies outdoors or indoors. It is that time of year again and we are starting to wind up! Children (and adults) resist bedtime because it's not dark out.

We had a lousy winter. We did not get enough snow! However, no snow means an earlier spring and more summer! Jake begged us to get the basketball hoops set up and Opa and I finally did so last weekend. Bentley got a new bike and Jake and Viva inherited his old one and they got a new bike to share. We've recommenced visiting our favorite playgrounds. Matt has taken the younger boys out a few times. Kara and I have been out with the children. Mark and I have taken the kids out.

Summer is here! Alaskans don't really count spring as a season. Spring is break-up time and we are done with break up. The trees are leafing out pretty much on schedule. I thought they would be early this year, but Mother Nature is smart and she held off. Butterflies are out! Our neighborhood squirrel is busy. A mama bear and her cub came by the other afternoon. (We'd prefer no more visits from them!) A young moose was trimming bushes in the back yard earlier this week. My perennials are doing fantastic. I was worried that they didn't have enough snow cover, but they all came back! Life here is good. Our summer goal is to slow down and enjoy the bounty of sun and beauty!

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Railroad Architecture

If you have four grandsons, a wooden train set is a great investment. It gets a lot of use. Of course, I do the majority of building train layouts when they are younger. They help, but I have to work with them or they get frustrated and their track doesn't connect back in a loop like they want it to. However, when they get older they build fantastic layouts--if only to prove they are better railroad architects than I am!

Evan conned Opa into helping him build this super simple layout.

I helped L & E build this layout.

If I am in a really indulgent mood, I build more elaborate layouts. 

For really great layouts, the boys have to recruit their brother Jake! Usually Jake starts with a simple layout I've built and he improves it.