Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween!

A group of ninjas and super heroes:

Little guy feel asleep on the way to Trunk or Treat.... 

Off they go!  Still daylight, so it felt a bit weird for an Alaskan Halloween.  :)

After trunk or treat we went through a few streets near Grandma Vicki's:

It was getting cold, and the buckets were full enough - so we headed home.  Another Halloween concluded! :)

Friday, October 30, 2015

Second Snowfall

We had one minor snowfall the last day of September and we haven't seen the ground covered white again until today. (At least that's my recall of the weather this fall.) A few inches of snow fell late last night and this morning. I'm sure it'll all melt within a day or two, but it's nice to see it so pretty and white outside. We watched a snowshoe hare in the back area yesterday. He was easy to track because he was very white. He needs this snow to stay hidden from predators.

The downside of snow is that the kids need to put on boots, coats, hats, and mittens to go out to get great-grandma's newspaper. It's a major production. This morning I helped the two little ones put on their snowsuits, but I ran out of energy when it came to mittens. I let them go outside without any. This turned out to be a mistake because the driveway was slippery and Lincoln fell twice. His hands were very cold by the time he returned. Next time I will do the full job of getting them weatherproofed.

Afternoon Update: In the early afternoon all the children went out to play in the snow. Bentley had to leave after a while to go to his cello lesson and Evan decided to come in at that point because he was cold. He snuggled up on the couch with an iPad. Lincoln stayed out with Viva and Jake building forts and sledding down the hill outback. (It wasn't possible to sled down the hill in past years because of the thicket of willow in the backyard, but that was cleared out this summer!)

When Bentley came back from his cello lesson he joined the others in the backyard. Kara made Lincoln come in because his hands were quite cold. The snow is wet and the children had to swap out mittens partway through the afternoon. Lincoln came in and had hot cocoa. (This is the first time we've used our Fiesta demitasse cups! They are so cute!) As I write this blog post I hear Evan lobbying to go back out.

If you look closely at the photo below you might be able to see the low walls of the fort Viva and Jake have been laboring for hours to build. We really don't have enough snow to build a fort or even the right kind of snow, but they are determined.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Sleeping Beauties

I have a bit of an obsession with pictures of sleeping children. They just look so.... peaceful! And since they are often in my bed I am always seeing them sleeping. :)   I'll admit that I have more pictures of Evan sleeping.  He normally shows up in my room first!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Pretty Princess

I can't believe it's still so beautiful outside and it's almost November.  Genevieve wanted some sparkly heels this year, and I obliged her - I wasn't planning on obliging her, but when I saw the below beauties online for $13 I couldn't resist.  :)

A day after the shoes showed up I was walking through Costco and they had sparkly gold dresses in Viva's size - meant to be, right?!  I'm glad she enjoys dressing up.  :)

Monday, October 26, 2015

Little Dragons

Lincoln and Evan tried out the little kid karate class (Little Dragons) last week. They were quite excited to get a look at what their older siblings do!  Lincoln was very well behaved, but Evan has a bit of the makings of a class clown I think.... :)  They report that it was a great time and they look forward to going back.  They were telling their father about the activity on the phone in the evening, and he said "How did you like little dragons"?  Evan replied: "There were no dragons, only boys!! "  (He later clarified, when asked, that there were three girls - and he was right.  But definitely no dragons!) Bentley  and Jake helped out with the class, so all the brothers were in one karate class!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Pumpkin carving!

Last night the kids and Matt went over to Grandma Vicki's for some Halloween fun. There was pumpkin carving, pumpkin pizza, and a Charlie Brown pumpkin movie. We're officially ready for Halloween!

Friday, October 23, 2015

The Big Backyard

Matt and his little friends have been venturing into our big back yard. Apparently there is some pretty cool stuff back there. Check out the size of some of those trees! It is still that bright and green out there, and it's almost the end of October. Next up I think we need snow shoes to continue exploring in the winter wonderland....

We just don't want to run into any friends like the cute fox that our wildlife camera caught a few days ago in the evening! (Well, at least - I don't want to run into it - I think Viva is out there trying to hunt it down!)

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Weapons Class

Don't the boys look snazzy in their new black uniform tops for weapons class?  They have been spending huge amounts of time practicing for testing.  This summer the weapons program at the dojo was formalized with belts that just apply to kobodu.  It is fun to see how much they enjoy it, although it is sometimes a bit disconcerting to watch them practice with their nunchucks.... !   

Monday, October 19, 2015

They're Back!

The kids made it back from Michigan and had a grand time. Pictures to follow soon! We are ready for winter in the mudroom:

... and we are getting right back to school! :)

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Snapshots from a Busy Day!

The kids returned home on Wednesday evening, and it feels like we've been running since!  We started off slow with dance and karate on Thursday, then Friday added in a Halloween party, a trumpet lesson, a cello lesson, AND karate.  Saturday?  Karate, dance, cello, biking, dinner with the missionaries, and a movie night at Grandma Vicki's!  No partridges in pear trees yet though.  :)

Genevieve left a note (and some candy!) at my desk this morning:

Daddy built a fort for his little friends:

Evan LOVES bananas.  And pictures with squiggles.

Bentley enjoyed his group cello session.

Move night!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Puzzle time w/Daddy

The past ten days have been rather quiet with three of our five kids missing.  Lincoln & Evan & I were lucky enough to have Daddy in town for the entire time the older peeps were gone - they capitalized on all that Daddy time that they didn't have to share at all!   Legos, puzzles, books, games, bike rides.... the idyllic life. 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

A Baby Comes To Visit!

My cousin Rachel was in town with her 6 month old this past week.... the boys were quite enthralled with the baby.  She's very cute, makes noises, and can almost crawl!  I think they were quite sad to see baby go.  And her caregiver, of course.  :)

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Beautiful Fall

Bikes, leaves, twigs to throw, and ducks - all in a one hour excursion - I think Daddy won triple points from his small groupies with this adventure!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Evan at Three

Evan is...

Always determined to keep up (or get ahead) of his older siblings.  Being the youngest is not going to slow him down!

Charming and impish.

Sweet and cuddly - when he wants to be.  He gives the best hugs and kisses.

Always thrilled to watch Looney Tunes with Daddy.

Conscientious.  I love how he says thank you all the time, and follows me around turning off lights when I forget.  :)

Bright and curious.  A whiz with letters and numbers, and always learning!

Super sweet in the morning.  Even when he's tired he wakes up with a stretch, a smile, and a bright "good morning!"  I love his sweet morning nature, maybe he will convert me?! :)

Not afraid of a fight.  He never backs down.

Not a baby, but sometimes "still small".  Baby is a four letter word, but when he wants something from me (like a ride down the stairs) and I say "no!" he says "but Mommy, I'm still so small.... !"  He wins, of course.

Good at sharing.  He is a bit of a food pusher, in fact.  :)

Not a big fan of chocolate.  He eats around the chocolate chips in the cookies.  Weirdo!

A bit obsessed with Captain Crunch and Wheat Chex!

Always up for a good chase game through the house.

A fan of Thomas and Batman.

A tease.  He likes to make his big brother Lincoln cry and knows just how to do it!

Full of intricate and detailed scribble crayon art.  He's going through the stage where he likes to write letters (they even somewhat resemble letters!!)

A good sleeper - he doesn't nap, but he parties hard during the day and is normally asleep shortly after his head hits the pillow.

A fan of big sister's baby doll.  He calls her little sister and drags her around the house and insists on help changing her between her sleeper and day clothes on a regular basis.

Enthusiastic and always the first to volunteer for an adventure, even before he knows what it might be.  He loves to be involved and doesn't want to be left behind.

Full of cute expressions.  "I think so...."  "What?!"  "Maybe (whenever he is asked if he wants something)....", "Maybe... not", "No way!!!"

We love our little guy! 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Our Fall Entertainment

This fall I have introduced a bit of blatent bribery into our days - successful completion of all the school tasks without nagging allows us time to sit down and watch a show together.  The older kids (and sometimes the little ones) and I have been enjoying a BBC series called Merlin this fall.  We have spent many happy hours munching on pretzels and enjoying a break during our days together, so I thought the show deserved a brief mention on the blog!

Grandma Julia: Merlin was a big, big hit until the last episode when they killed Arthur. The children were very unhappy with that ending. The Brits can be unpredictable in their TV shows.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Outdoor Enthusiasts

I have made a conscientious effort this fall to ensure the kids are getting outside every day.  I've noticed a strange phenomenon - as the temperature drops the children's delight in the outdoors increases.  Before they left for Michigan they were heading outside at 1PM and staying out there for 3 to 4 hours.  I would have thought the cooler temperatures would make for shorter play breaks but apparently the crisp air invigorates the senses.  Whatever the reason it is fun to see them old (and confident) enough to start to take on our big wild backyard on their own.  Hours of fun and delight are had with piles of sticks and made up games - I love it!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

My Viva Girl

I have no instrument post for Genevieve.... !  As I mentioned in a prior post, I told the kids that once they show some dedication to practice with the piano then Matt & I will invest in other music lessons for them as well.  Viva doesn't dislike piano, but neither does she like it enough to remember, on her own, to practice.   I'm going to have to work with her and see if we can figure out a way to help her make some progress there.

But for now?  She's happy doing her own thing!  She crafts, she reads, she dances, she does karate.... she is never bored!

Friday, October 09, 2015

The Trumpet Guy

Strangely enough I have no pictures of Jake playing his trumpet - but here is one of him with his trumpet... not that you can see the trumpet!

Jake had a hard time picking an instrument, but eventually settled on the trumpet.  He really loves the look of the trombone but his arms just aren't long enough yet!  He started out wanting a violin, and I was willing to sacrifice my inner peace and listen to a beginning violinist - but when we went to the store and he saw the size (and sound) of a quarter size violin.... the love affair ended.  Before it even started!

Apparently 8 is a bit on the young side for the trumpet, but Jake has a lot of hot air (hahaha!) and apparently has a good trumpet mouth.  I found a teacher who told me we could try a couple lessons and we'd see if it was a good fit - I guess we passed our *test* as he'd said we can come back.  :)

The trumpet is fascinating - all instruments are I suppose - I had no idea you have to have such a great ear, as you make many different notes while pushing down the same keys - you just have to train yourself to play the note you want to!  So far Jake has a mid C-D-E-F-G-A range.  Opa has been helping him and they took the trumpet to Michigan, so we'll see what he comes back with!  Jake tells me that he wants to play the high C - I told him he might have to work up to that!!

Thursday, October 08, 2015

The Cello Guy

I was thinking that we weren't busy enough this fall, so the boys have taken up music lessons!  We have done different home based piano programs during the last year or two and I told the kids that once they could read both hands on the piano and play reasonably well they could pick any instrument to learn.  The deal is they practice their chosen instrument daily and in return they get lessons.

(As a side note, I've read some interesting threads on Facebook lately about philosophies on kids and music lessons - I don't really understand making music a requirement for other "fun" activities, which puts it in the role of punishment - I think it should be a privilege.  Of course I want them to learn music, but I also want them to want to do it!)

Bentley picked the cello!  So then we set off to all the stores in town to play all the 1/4 size cellos and figure out which one was the best mix of sound and price.  Turns out cheap cellos sound cheap.... who knew, right?!

So now we have a nice cello and an excellent cello teacher.  Bentley thinks the progress is a *bit* on the slow side as his teacher is a stickler for correct posture and bow hold, but it's all good - we'll get to the "fun" music soon enough!  I look forward to watching him learn.