Friday, July 31, 2015

30 Minute Snapshot

Here is a quick snapshot of what was happening at our home this afternoon around one p.m. Bentley requested my help to crack open a golf ball sized rock. He'd hammered away at it for fifteen minutes and had gotten nowhere. After 20 attempts I finally chipped a small slice off one end. We almost lost the rock at one point when a hard whack caused it to rebound into a fireweed patch!

When I first went out Jake was jumping on B's pogo stick. His streak was 16 jumps when he crashed onto the driveway pavement and had to go in and get some first aid. He stayed inside after that. He crawled into the kids' latest fort for some downtime before coming out and working on a project that involved a glue stick. That's all I know.

Lincoln was biking and Evan was running around when Viva decided to pull out the squirt guns. The younger two boys joined her. After a while she asked to have the sprinkler on and then she wanted the umbrellas and later it was towels. (It progressed rather like in the book "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.") Only Viva and Lincoln got wet. Evan is not a fan of sprinkler fun. He used his umbrella but also stayed far away from any possible sprinkles! 

Update on Tent Life

The kids stayed in the tent for about three weeks this summer.  They had a grand time and had big plans to stay out there forever but we had to pull the plug due to too much Alaskan-summer-funitis... (translation: it is impossible to sleep when the sun doesn't go down for long!)  I'm sure we'll have more deck tent adventures in the future but I might wait until September when the quality of sleep can improve a bit due to more dark sky time.

Oddly enough when I google blackout tents I don't see a huge number of them.  I do see all sorts of hacks that desperate sleep deprived families camping with babies or toddlers try, but not entire tents.  I think there is an untapped market available!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Orange Shirts

Yesterday was about a new orange belt.  Today?  Orange shirts.  :)  Can you tell the buyer of the clothes in the house (aka myself) has a love affair with tie dye?!

Luckily the kids share my enjoyment of bright patterned colors.  Evan wanted to show off his shirt so he raised his hands.  Goofy kid.  The boys have been into matching lately - no, I did not make them wear matching shirts.  I did however provide them with the shirts in case they felt so inclined... ! 

P.S. - Lincoln didn't get the memo.  Either that or he had already settled on being Batman for the day.  But it's okay.  :)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Toy Store

A local toy store mails out coupons during a child's birthday month for $5 off anything in the store. The coupon is good for one month. Because the twins and Lincoln's birthdays are less than three weeks apart we only have to visit the toy store twice a year. (Evan isn't a shopper yet!) 

It's interesting to see what the children like.

The little boys always check out the toy store's train table. Evan came home with a pirate dagger/knife. The blade retracts into the hilt. He found it very amusing. So did the older boys.

Bentley liked the wooden axe, but he decided not to purchase it. He chose some rocks and then splurged (with his own money) on a robot claw toy (a grabber).

Viva loves to check out the craft kits, but they are high priced. She used her coupon to help purchase a jump rope that attaches to your ankle.

Lincoln picked out a small Playmobil set.

Jake brought home a magic wand. (He says it doesn't work!?)

The Orange Belt!

Genevieve had belt testing this past week and she did awesome!  She earned her yellow and orange belts. Her brothers think she is quite lucky to live with them and get quality help for her practicing.    Way to go, Viva! 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Our New Wolf!

He looks good in his uniform!

Our new Boy Scout had the chance to attend his first meeting this past week, and he was very excited!  Summer birthdays are fun, but for Jake it has been a bit of a wait to start Scouts with meetings on a slow summer time beat right now.  Jake is very excited for the return of weekly meetings this fall.  He is going to be an awesome little scout!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Alaska Flag Day

Alaska Flag Day is July 9th. The AK Child and Family organization, a joint service mission of the Baptist, Lutheran, and Methodist churches, annually hosts a big party to celebrate. Why? Because in 1927 a young boy in their orphanage won the contest to design the Alaskan flag. This year was an especially big party because it is AK Child and Family's 125th anniversary. 

Why does our family attend this event? Because the organization's main facility is located just two blocks from our home and every summer they put signs up advertising their flag day celebration. We drive by those signs over and over and over. I looked back in the blog to find out how many years we've been attending, but even though I know I've posted on attending the party, I couldn’t find my posts. Whatever! I will rely on my memory--I've been at least three times and Matt took the children one year, so the children have attended for at least four years. 

We have attended often enough that we have a routine. Because the event is well attended we go early. We could walk but the children love to ride the shuttle bus (a cushy tour bus). It's an unusual experience for them to ride a bus. (When Kara asked E what he liked best about the evening he said "The bus!" with great enthusiasm.)

The event is a fund raiser, so we pay the entrance fee ($20 for a family). We head straight to the balloon man to get balloon creations before the lines get long. Usually it's swords, but this year only B got a sword. J & L both went for teddy bears and V & E both chose a dog on a leash. (V's plan was that if either E or L popped their balloons she or J could share their balloons. (V remembered a prior traumatic year when she was little and some of the balloons popped!)

The kids play the different carnival style games set up--croquet hoops, football throw, bean bag toss, ring on pegs, basketball hoops, etc. There were a few new games this year. After demonstrating your skills (or lack of skills), you choose a prize. The children love choosing prizes even though they aren't anything great. Viva gets her face painted if the lines aren't too long, but the boys usually opt out.

We check out the food. There is always lots of grilled hot dogs and hamburgers, some salads, small bags of chips, and pop. The kids eat what they want. We head back to the games for a second round. We return to the food area for ice cream. (This year the governor was serving!) Finally we catch the bus back to the parking lot and head home.

Here's our photos to commemorate the event. (Will they end up in a black hole like the photos from previous years?!)


As I reviewed this post it occurred to me that a flag day celebration should include a small commemorative flag, shouldn't it?!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Volcano Fun

A year or more ago I purchase a volcano making kit. It was marketed as a fun science kit. I'm not sure what I thought was going to erupt out of the top of the volcano, but I thought something would explode. Erupt and explode are synonyms, right? If I had thought about it a little more, I would have realized that the science kit company would not be selling explosives on the kid aisle. 

I was very disappointed when I opened up the kit and read the directions and discovered that the volano making kit was more art than science. Jake and Viva snapped together a volcano mold and then poured in quick setting plaster of Paris. The plaster firmed up in a half hour, but they had to wait 24 hours before painting the volcano. (It took us more than a week to get back to the project.)

After painting the volcano it sat on the kitchen counter for another week or more (Scout camp was the priority) until we finally gathered the supplies listed in the kit and took them outside to make the volcano "explode". We used red food coloring, dish soap, vinegar, and baking soda.

Jake and Viva enjoyed the volcano making kit. Bentley opted out of the entire project. He was too busy collecting rocks and reading about them. If it had been a real volcano, he would have been interested since it would spew out lava that would form into igneous rocks!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Karate Coach

Viva has been practicing for her first belt test at karate.  Luckily, she has some staff at home that can put her through her paces.  Bentley is particularly good with his coaching!  Critiquing with a critical eye:

Helping her with her blocks.... !

As the proof is "in the pudding" I guess we will soon see if the private lessons paid off!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Lincoln and the Uke

Our (second) littlest ukulele player has been very dedicated lately.  He spent a good hour practicing with Opa the other night then came downstairs to show me the strumming he's perfecting!  I particularly like when he sings and plays at the same time.  He is very enthusiastic!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Biking w/Daddy

Now that Lincoln is "officially" a big boy biker he wanted to go out on a bigger biking adventure. Evan, of course, wanted to be included... he is awfully fast, even with his training wheels. Matt humored them, and even included a water break. Bikes AND water? Of course it was a win with this crowd!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Best Buds

Genevieve is the best type of big sister to have. She's fun, sweet (normally), imaginative, nurturing, and eager to play. She always has time for her little brothers. She comes up with games just for them! She reads to them! She's always willing to help them out when asked, and is very patient. Lincoln and Evan are lucky to have her.  :)

Mutual adoration:

Picking wild strawberries - a new favorite activity.  For some reason we have quite the crop of them this year:

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Everyday Life: More June

See how the cat's ears are bent back? Ramses is not a happy cat, but he certainly isn't giving way to a two year old. He should because if he does anything to upset the two year old he gets in big trouble. 

Bentley is our early bird. He gets up early and gets a lot of his schoolwork done before his siblings come downstairs. He likes to be in control of his time. It makes him happy!

Evan is sitting in the ottoman where the train set is stored. Maybe it's easier for him to reach the pieces this way? It seems like more work to me.

Viva made paper towel and duct tape shoes. I'm not sure why. I 'm pretty sure they weren't a success. She only made the one pair.

Do you remember these--Chinese finger traps? Jake got his fingers stuck. 

Lincoln just used them for ornamentation.

Here is our bimonthly proof of life photo. Great-grandma is still doing well!

This is what a photo shoot at our home looks like. Opa takes the photos. Kara or I oversee the shoot. The children usually cooperate, but sometimes they don't.

We bought some apriums at Costco. Viva really like them. She liked their velvety exterior and their juicy interior.

Lincoln told me one day that he had always wanted to ride in the fancy carts, so I obliged. Can you see the pink one on the right edge of the photo? We found that one in the parking lot, but when the boys saw this one, they said they preferred it.

Kara and I took all five children to a Cub Scout carnival. Evan loved the hot dogs. I had to hold on to the bun to keep it from crumbling into pieces because he was holding it so tightly.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Cub Camp Week

Very excited and NOT getting to sleep early enough before camp started the eve before - too excited to sleep (and perhaps the midnight sun and the tent didn't help... !

So cute in their uniforms:

Daddy was there on hike day!

This past week was Cub Day Camp.  The boys had a great time but reported that it was quite tiring.  The theme this year was something to do with knights and castles.  BB Guns, dodge ball, shield making, camp fires, and more.  Jake struggled a bit with the long days and the early start (6:30!) and ended up missing Thursday, but other than that it was a grand week.  :)

Matt went out to help on Thursday and reports that it was indeed jam packed with fun times - he saw one of the cub groups sneaking off for a nap time after lunch!  :)  Matt calculates we have another 15 years of Boy Scout camping to go - crazy times!