Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Dance Girl! (aka Spring 2016 Recital)

Viva's spring dance recital was a few weeks ago - she took five dance classes this semester, which meant five dances and five costumes at the recital!  Score for this Mom of four boys, I got my fill of cute frilly costumes.... :)  Grandma Julia, Grandma Karen, Grandma Vicki, myself and Matt took in the show.  We spared all her brothers.... !

Genevieve took two ballet, two jazz, and a modern dance class this semester.  I am impressed with how well she did learning all the choreography this spring, and I can see real change in how fluidly and gracefully she moves.  It was a fun evening!  Here are a few pictures from our photo shoot.  Because, of course, we had one as soon as we got home... 

Every photo shoot starts with the white balance cards, of course:

Viva's favorite costume:

 I was particularly proud of how I matched the green tissue paper in the flowers to the green hair thing her yellow costume had.  Unintended awesomeness.  :)

My favorite costume, the frilly purple ballet tutu.  Because tutus are awesome and purple is even more awesome.  Oh yeah - and the little girl, she is awesome too!

The modern dance costume:

It was a "cave people" theme - very fun dance, and Viva had her first lift in it with the token boy in their class!  :)

Jazz costume 1:

And jazz costume 2:

Viva tells me this dance (the second jazz one) was her favorite dance.  It was called Monsters and was a mash up of a song from a new Disney movie.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Viva's Landscapes

I have a new set of acrylic paints that Viva has had her eye on, so today I finally got around to setting her up to use them.  I think she did some lovely pictures!

The kids went to Seward this holiday weekend with Matt, Genevieve told her Dad she wants to go back and take a paint set to do some painting by the water.  I like the way she thinks!  :)

Friday, May 27, 2016

Super Fort Builders

Forts, like balls and boxes, never seem to go out of style with kids.  We recently purchased a new bunk bed and it came with some excellent L shaped strips of cardboard that are very sturdy.  I saw them and thought of marble run fun.  The kids saw them and thought fort supports.  Fun times!

Viva's newest fort.  Tee-pee style!

Bentley's newest fort - he used the sticks as horizontal supports to better stabilize the pillows and blankets.  :)

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Playground fun with Opa!

The weather continues to be mostly gorgeous, with just a dash of rain here and there.  I'm sure that our Alaskan forests could use more rain, but as for the kids - they are loving all the blue skies and sunshine.  It's definitely not too hard to get them outdoors everyday!  Lincoln & Evan took Opa to the playground yesterday and had a great time.  They report they even convinced Opa to go down the slide.... I have no photo proof, alas!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Return of Camping Season!

Matt, Lincoln, and Jake headed out to a church campout in Girdwood this past weekend.  The weather was drizzly and I'll admit I attempted to discourage them, but off they went!  Bentley was in the last few days countdown before black belt testing so he opted out, and I decided that sending two small fry plus an older child was probably one child too many.... :)

By all reports they had a grand time!  The tent was NOT flooded, hot chocolate and s'mores were had, a service project was particpated in, and they even managed to get in some biking.  I hope the summer provides the right weather for many more fun camping memories this year!

Monday, May 23, 2016

First Cello Recital!

At the beginning of this month Bentley had his first cello recital.  

He performed with a group of three other students who have been working on some of the same songs.  Bentley's teacher does a combination of Suzuki and traditional teaching methods, but mainly uses the Suzuki books for her lower levels.  Bentley has been working hard to complete book one and is hoping to have it done by the end of the summer.  I'm impressed with his memorization skills and his dedication to daily practice!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Black Belt Testing Phase 1: Completed!

Bentley is testing for his black belt this month.  The black belt test is much more intensive than the lower belts and has both a physical and a written component.  Eight essays (4000+ words later....!) and a selection of written questions that compromise the test.  Bentley has been studying his black belt study book quite exhaustively for the last few weeks, and on Tuesday he went in and took his test.  3 hours later he finished, and thankfully (for me - my nerves can't take it!) he had results the next day.  A 98% - good job, Bentley!

Now on to the next part of the test.... :)

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Dance Time!

Viva did five dance classes this spring - two ballet, two jazz, and one modern.  The great thing about the place we do dance is their focus on stage experience.  It is a bit of an undertaking for two recitals a year at the big venue in town, but it's a fun experience for the kids!  Yesterday was dress rehearsal day - the girls are downtown for almost five hours for the dress rehearsal.  Looking forward to the show tonight!

Viva did well with her classes this year so is moving up a level and is going to do a summer dance intensive in June.  Fun times, it's good to have kids that like to be active!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Good-bye Dear Cars

These ride-on cars have been in the family for nine years! Bentley got them both for his first birthday. Obviously both givers knew a good gift when they saw one. Since Kara knew by that time that she'd be having twins, she did not exchange one of the duplicate gifts.

All the children have enjoyed riding on the cars. Many miles have been put on the plastic tires! Bentley even rode one down the staircase much to his parents' dismay. (He wasn't hurt.)

Kara has been threatening to get rid of the cars for the past year. She claims the little boys are too big for them, but nonetheless Lincoln and Evan have both still enjoyed playing on them. Last month while they were playing crash and bang on them (something we discourage!), the steering wheel broke on one of the cars.  The car with the broken steering wheel went in the garbage and the other car was given to Grandma Vicki who runs a daycare.

Here is a last photo of the twins on the cars back in 2008--prior to their first birthday!

Good-bye Dear Cars!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

New Seeds VS Old Seeds

Almost two weeks ago on the 29th of April Jake and Viva started some seeds in a flat of jiffy pots. Viva used flower seeds that Grandma Vicki gave us two years ago...or maybe last year. Jake was given some much older seeds. Seeds that I or great-grandma had stored away for a decade or longer. Maybe two decades, possibly three. 

Here are the results of their efforts:

Viva had 24 of 25 pots grow plants: 96% success rate. Jake has had 0 plants grow: total failure. It's my fault for giving him old seeds, but seriously--0%?! We will be visiting a nursery and I will throw all my old seeds out. ZERO?!

Monday, May 09, 2016

Puzzles & Painting

Lincoln has been binging lately on puzzles and painting...and paper airplanes, too. He's always done jigsaw puzzles, but usually it's an activity someone else picks and he agrees to do it. Lately he's been choosing to do jigsaw puzzles of his own free will and sometimes he will do three in a row. He even started timing himself. Oddly enough, Evan hasn't joined him in this pursuit. In the past Evan has been more into puzzles than Lincoln. Things change!

Lincoln has also been doing a lot of watercolor painting. He makes gifts of his paintings to everyone in the house. Evan sometimes paints with him for a little while, but painting isn't his passion like it is Lincoln's!

This is Lincoln's beach painting.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Engineering Time

We finished our formal science program about two months back, so right now we are working our way through a book about practical engineering applications in the world.  There is a lot of great vocab in the book along with hands on projects.  The kids are fans of hands on time, I always find it a bit of a challenge to rustle up the energy for the projects.  So far we've done three.  We've had a 67% success rate.  Spaghetti and tape towers, popsicle stick structures and one project with... potential.  We were supposed to construct chairs that could support 160 lbs out of cardboard and duct tape.  The creative thinking involved taxed the mental comfort level of one of the involved students.... since we're still above a 50% success rate, however, we will bravely continue forward!

Saturday, May 07, 2016

The New Purple Belt!!

Viva goes to karate on Monday and Tuesdays so her pace is a lot more relaxed than her brothers' pace - nonetheless, she's making forward progress!  Both she & I were delighted to see her get her purple belt yesterday.  Good job, Viva!

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Moose Art

This week we went to check out a homeschool painting class offered at a local painting locale.  The kids had a fun time reviewing color theory and trying some different paint techniques on moose pictures!  Two thumbs up, I'm sure we will go back at some point.  :)

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Everyday Life: April

(We do not encourage endeavors such as this, but before making him stop we took a photo!)


More pillow fun!


Legos (Lincoln's obsession)

Rat-a-Tat Cat (Evan's obsession)

A scripture bag Evan decorated in Primary






Brain Building