Sunday, June 26, 2016

Happy Birthday, Twins!

It's been a crazy week!  Viva's 3 week dance intensive finished with a performance downtown Friday night, and Boy Scout camp wrapped up with a camp fire evening on Friday evening.  Then at 1 am on Saturday morning Matt, Bentley, Jake & Viva hopped on a plane for Idaho.   Matt's family was having a reunion day at the park Saturday afternoon and so we figured it would be fun for the kids to catch part of that before heading off on a road trip from Idaho to Las Vegas with Grandpa Tim.  Crazy times.  :)

They made it to part of the event and have been keeping up the non stop fun.  Meeting new cousins, swimming at the hotel pool, golfing at 7 am (yikes!), learning to clean trout, climbing trees.... !  Jake tells me there will be s'mores tonight.  Awesome!

Most importantly they've had a chance to spend some time with their Great-Grandma Darlene.  We will celebrate their birthday more when they get home.  Happy birthday to my favorite twins!  Can't believe they're "half" grown.  :)

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Snapshots from the Week

We've been keeping busy and time keeps flying, here are a few fun pictures from the past week around here!!  Water balloons have been a big hit around here.  My fingers were a bit numb after the first couple hundred and my Mom taught the kids how to tie them using a large carving fork.  Now my life is golden and they are having fun too.... :)

The playground!  I like the new spinning discs some of the new playgrounds have installed.  They can go awfully fast sometimes though.... :)

Art time at dance camp!  I like her headdress.  :)

It's exhausting around here.  I totally relate.

A scary amount of enthusiasm for 6:45 in the morning.... (on the way to Scout camp!)

Friday, June 24, 2016

Happy (Belated!) Father's Day!

Not the best photo, but all photo subjects were captured with smiles!  It has been a crazy few weeks and Matt was out of town for ASRC's annual meeting over Father's Day weekend.  We combined a Father's day dinner (spaghetti, a favorite!) with an early birthday dinner (spaghetti, also a favorite of Viva and Jake's!) on one of the two nights everyone was in town this week.  :)

Happy Father's Day, Matt!  

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Boy Scout Camp!

Cub Day Camp has been this week - a bunch of early mornings and long days, but the boys have been having a great time.  Some of the leaders with them have been kind enough to send me a few photos from their adventures:

They've had relatively good weather for most of the week.  They came home wet a few times but that's because of water fights and fun on the water... !  I'm glad they have fun out at camp getting in some experiences that we don't normally have access to.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Robotics Camp

Our first camp of the summer is officially over, and it was a great time for Bentley!  This past week he has been at UAA all day every day participating in their engineering summer programs.  The only session open to entering 5th graders is the Lego Mindstorm Robotics ones so that is what he did.  I was very excited about it because we bought some Mindstorms a year ago but haven't really gotten into them much yet - I was hoping this would kindle a fire and help us figure out how to use the set and have fun playing with it - I think it has helped!

Bentley's robot won the sumo wrestling contest on the last day during the official demos, here he is with the lovely creation:

His teacher for the week told me he did great and he's a hard worker, very patient & persistent.  Always good to hear.  :)

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Summer Dance Recital!

I liked the description of Viva's summer dance performance:

"Witness the immense skill and profound artistry of the next generation of dance stars up close and personal in the the Anchorage Classical Ballet Academy’s Dance Under the Midnight Sun. Featuring cutting-edge works, this dynamic mixed program is a demonstration of 3-weeks of intensive training featuring local dancers will thrill you, your friends, and family!"

Not *too* much to live up, right?!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Fun in the backyard

We were setting up another hammock out back the other night and I asked Evan to hold my camera.  I had some treasures on it when I came inside, both of people and the scenery!

I get credit for the last picture - the reason we were outback - mission, accomplished!

It's been a great summer so far.  Nice warm weather, just a bit of rain, and a lack of mosquitoes.  Pretty much perfection.  :)

Monday, June 13, 2016

Cute Photo Time

I saw Kara was posting some artistic photos done by Jake and Bentley. I thought it might be a good time to share this cute photo I took of the younger boys with their spiked after bath hair!

I did not do any photo editing because they are so adorable as is!

Artistic Photo Time

Bentley had some photo *enhancement* to work on for a Boy Scout badge, and since then Bentley and Jake have gone a bit crazy with the myriad photo apps out there.  It is entertaining to get all of their pictures messaged to me, I will concede that... !

I believe the cat is their very favorite photography subject.  Followed (in close second) by unflattering pictures of their siblings.... :)  I personally feel that the cat combined WITH a child makes for the best picture....

But I am enjoying their creativity too.  :)

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Team Pink Visits

Last week I had a somewhat impromptu girls party for the fun of it.  A few months back I'd purchased a new movie that I thought Viva might enjoy, and I decided it would be fun to invite the girls from church over to do a craft and watch it with us.  

We had a great turn out and a good time!  I did not, perhaps, fully understand the level of difficulty I should pick for a craft project when the kid to adult ratio is 10:1 - alas.  Next time I will know.  Always room for improvement!

The boys didn't understand why I wanted to have a girls' afternoon.  I told them we have plenty of boys in the house but not enough girls.  They still didn't get it so I had to give up on explaining and instead inform them they were not invited... while the girls were outside they were inside, while the girls were upstairs they were downstairs, and while the girls were watching a movie they were not.  You get the idea.  :)

We had fun and hope to get a few more get togethers in to take advantage of the summer time and everybody's more flexible schedules!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Hammock (Wars?!)

About six months back I received a hammock (to review, for free!)  The weather wasn't really appropriate for it so the kids didn't pay much attention to it.  Last week I remembered it (a miracle!) and found it (a second miracle!) and trekked outside with my small people to get it set up.  

Instant hit.  I was busy patting myself on the back and feeling like I'd scored Mom points when the fighting broke out.... !  Apparently one hammock is not enough.  Which I suppose should have been obvious to me.... :) Luckily we have a number of great locations to hang hammocks.  I didn't realize this before scoping it out last week, but we actually have a nice set up.  Those ugly scraggly spruce are useful!

Grandma Julia's comments and photo:

The hammock is Viva's new favorite reading spot. Opa told Kara and I the other day we shouldn't let her read there at 9PM because that's the moose' and bears' favorite time of day to visit and the hammock is in their path from the back yard to the front yard. Huh…we are going to have ponder on that.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Golfing with Daddy and Ty

The boys are always eager for opportunities to take their golf clubs out and use them.  :)  Earlier this week they had been anticipating a golf date with Grandma Karen, but the heavens decided to pour forth rain instead when the day arrived... !  They had a fun time with an indoor activity instead.  Matt decided to take Friday off work since he's been traveling a bit lately and took the boys out to golf with Uncle Ty, and this evening they all headed out for a camping adventure.  First camping trip of the year with all five kids and one Dad.  My fingers and toes are crossed they are having a great time.  As for me?  I'm enjoying the quiet.... !

Needle Felting Can Be Dangerous

It should come as no surprise when you examine a needle felting tool that you might hurt yourself when felting. We just didn't realize how badly you could hurt yourself!

Viva has had her Klutz needle felting kit for a year or more and has made a couple of felted animals. Two weeks ago she brought the kit out and Jake decided he, too, wanted to make a felted animal. The concept is simple--you take a piece of wool roving (wool prepare for spinning) and you form a small ball or egg and then you punch it hundreds of times with your felting tool. It shrinks as it binds in on itself.

The trick to needle felting is to not poke yourself with the needles--which are very thin and easily puncture skin. Of course, if you are holding your ball of felt and you poke it hundreds of times it is inevitable that you will at some time poke yourself instead of the ball. 

Last week when Viva and Jake were enjoying a lazy afternoon outside needle felting, Viva poked her finger with one of the needles. It didn't hurt much or bleed much, so she ignored her injury. While they were felting, they lost a little ring that goes inside the felting tool and so the twins spent a half hour or more looking through the leaves under the porch for the missing piece. It was not found. The following afternoon Viva and I spent a few hours gardening. She put on gardening gloves, but the gloves were dirty which is typical for gardening gloves.

The end result was Viva's finger became infected. Seriously infected. We tried soaking it in hot water and Epsom salts, but Viva would only use tepid water. The infection became worse looking so on Saturday (four days after the injury), Kara took Viva to the doctor's office. The doctor cut the infected area and drained it and sent a sample to the lab. An antibiotic was prescribed.

The finger looked worse the next day with a visible red line, but since she was on antibiotic, we didn't have to panic. Viva agreed to soak her finger in hot (not just warm!) water and did so a few times a day. The lab results came back and she had both staphylococcus and streptococcus bacteria present. The antibiotics and soaking treatments worked and her finger is doing much better now and we anticipate a full recovery.

The moral of this story? Always treat puncture wounds with an antibiotic and a Band-Aid especially if you are going to play in the dirt. Take infections seriously because they can be very dangerous. We are very happy we acted promptly.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

3 Barons Renaissance Fair

Last Saturday was the first weekend of June which meant that it was the opening weekend of the 3 Barons Renaissance Fair. It is our tradition to take the children to the fair. Matt was out of town so I recruited Opa to go with us. It was an overcast day which is the best kind of day for fair attendance (in my opinion) because the crowds are thinner and the dust isn't as bad!

We did as many of the kids' favorite activities as we could fit in. We started our adventure with The Tomato Show put on by the Shakespearean Acting Troupe. The play this year was "Star Wars" -- with lots of Shakespeare quotes thrown in. The parts of it I could hear were pretty hilarious; unfortunately plays that include tomato throwing have noisy audiences. Bentley said just watching the show was good enough for him.

Viva wanted to collect the stamps from the three different Barons and that took some time. Even though the fair wasn't crowded, the line to collect stamps was slow. Sometimes Lincoln went with Viva and sometimes Evan did. Jake and Bentley wanted to check out the three booths selling swords. Bentley purchased a wooden shield, Jake a wooden sword. Lincoln and Evan also got shields. Viva chose earrings.  We checked out the booth sponsored by one of our favorite rock stores, but the boys didn't find anything that interested them--they are rock snobs now!

We briefly stopped by the Historic Recrudescence Guild's recreation of a medieval village. We took in the magic show--a favorite from last year. We watched the Game of Steel which was this year's version of the live action chess game between two of the barons. The kids ran the maze. We ate pretzels, fries, funnel cake, corn fritters, and popcorn. It's hard to find time to eat between the shows! We were there for five hours but we did not get to see everything. We had a great time.



Wednesday, June 08, 2016

A Good Helper

Bentley has been enjoying helping out around the outside this year.  He has been watering our rhubarb plants and the greedy plants have sucked up that water and gone crazy.... !  He also weeds the 101 bushes out front, and he was an eager assistant with rhubarb harvesting.  The best part?  All of this help was volunteered and not solicited!

He's a handy kid to have around.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Summer Camp Season Commences... !

Today was the first day of Viva's three week dance intensive.  She was all smiles despite the *early* (9:30!) start time.  :)

The kids have lots of fun activities this summer.  Dance/art camp for Viva, robotics/Boy Scout/cello camp for Bentley, and Boy Scout/art/band camp for Jake.  It makes for an awful lot of driving, but I tell myself that will make the fall seem *relaxing* - it's all relative, right?!

Here's to hoping it's all fun adventures and good times and lots of learning!

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Everyday Life: More May

The twins dipping pretzels in their pop. 
(Pop is a special treat at our house.)

New sweatshirts!

Listening to history lessons?

J&B testing out their mom's newest toy: a hand crank wheat grinder.

Viva practicing piano. 
(She seems to be enjoying piano more lately.)

Say "Cheese!"

Geography on the iPad

Lincoln's creation

A drum is not just for drumming!