Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Fun in the Sun

Today was a beautiful day, so in the afternoon I convinced Kara we should take the kids and hit a couple of great park playgrounds that we didn't make it to this summer. Most of the kids were on board for this plan, but not Jake. We made him go anyway. He had an okay time. When we came home it was still beautiful outside so we hauled out the water balloons and water guns. For the first time this summer, Evan was okay with getting wet. He usually throws a fit if he's targeted. Viva, however, is usually the first one wet and she decided she did not want to get wet. It's hard finding a group activity that everyone wants to do. So we pick one that most of them like and the grumpy ones just have to suffer through it...or change their attitude. Lincoln came in after a short time because he was cold. He changed clothes and played with his new Bat Guy Lego minifigure (he talked me into transferring full ownership to him this morning) and then he went back outside and got wet a second time. Jake and Bentley spent an hour getting each other wet. All in all a very good afternoon outdoors!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

A Mushroom Hunting We Will Go!

I blogged about the lousy weather--rain, rain, rain. On the upside lots of rainy days means lots of mushrooms! We haven't been mushroom hunting in a few years, so this was L & E first expedition. We went up the road a short ways to a wooded area. We invited Opa to go with us. He likes to take fungi photos.

We even found some puffball mushrooms! Viva collected extras to bring home and share with Jake and Bentley.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Books, Books, and More Books

Matt's workplace is doing a book drive to earn credit at a local used book store to purchase children and teen books to send to some northern bush villages. I had two boxes of kids books ready to donate, but I knew we had more that needed to move out of our home. I went through a shelf of preschool books downstairs and picked out some books. Then I invited Lincoln and Evan to look through the books in their bedroom. Believe it or not (I have a hard time believing it!) Lincoln and Evan have three bookshelves in their bedroom! THREE! They picked two books out of the first ten we looked at and then they decided that was enough to share. All the other books had to stay except for five duplicates that I found. 

Having learned my lesson, when I went through the other bookshelves in the house, I didn't solicit their help. Kara and I went through the board books in the school room and picked out all the nicer looking ones--they would be the ones that weren't favorites. (A well-loved board book is not usually in good enough condition to donate.) After collecting another box of books, I let the older children look through the children's books I had collected to make sure there weren't any of their favorites in the pile. Out of the hundred books they looked through, they only reclaimed five: Disney's "Knock, Knock! It's Pooh!" (a board book with a little Pooh faced door knocker on it), "Say Boo!" (a very thin Halloween book), "Scooby-Doo! in Jungle Jeopardy", "Let's Go Camping with Mr. Sillypants" (a very silly book), and "Born Yesterday: The Diary of Young Journalist" (a very odd book which Viva, our comics addict, wanted to keep).

So we will be donating three boxes (around 200 books).  I wish I could say there is empty bookshelf space, but sadly there isn't. This just cleared up some clutter...and hopefully started a regular tradition of sharing our books with others.  We will be buried in books if we don't.

*****     Update!     *****

Yesterday the older children hopped in the van to go with their mom to donate the books. She needed help carry the multiple boxes and bags in. While they were driving to and back from the donation location (Matt's office building--he's out of town), the children listened to their history lesson on tape. Homeschool is the best!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Karate Belts!!!!!

It was a big weekend at the dojo for Bentley and Jake.  Bentley has earned his black belt (three years after starting karate), and Jake has earned the brown stripe on his brown belt.  They have both worked very hard!

We have some very happy boys at our house!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Soon To Be Readers!

Let it be recorded that today Lincoln and Evan started the Headsprout Reading program. 
Their older siblings all learned to read starting with this program.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Family Fun

My cousin Ruth and her family came to town this past week, so we had a chance to get to know her children Cole and Ada better!  It was fun, and Sean (her husband) was a good sport and played many games with the kids.  :)

Monday, August 15, 2016

Everyday Life: More July

L&E playing with the Pez dispenser collection.

Lincoln adding some stickers to Cousin Katie's artwork.

Viva hanging out.

Happy Great-Grandma!

Lincoln checking out a birthday gift. 
Opa helped him put it together.

Bentley frying steak.

Lincoln drawing. Or is it doodling? 
He's been creating in this style for months.

More birthday gifts!

L and J checking out B's Lego robot.

Trains and Balloons and Boys

Lincoln's Lego Creation

I see that Lincoln was definitely the favorite in this set of photos. I'm going to say that's okay because it was his birthday in July!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Everyday Life: July

Kara and I have lost the battle with chaos. We cannot keep all our balls in the air. The past few months the blogging ball is regularly dropped. We are sorry for that, but on the plus side, we are keeping pace (somewhat) with the children!

Here are some activities they did in July:

Evan doing a ball maze. He's pretty good at it!

Summer Time = Playground Time

Checking out the lifeguard chair at Bentley's music camp.

Jake and Viva (never Bentley) visit JoAnn's with me.

Another day, another playground.

Ukulele Time

Trombone Time
(Jake got a plastic trombone for his birthday in June.)

Viva drying mint leaves to make tea.

Strawberry picking at the Bulkow's while they were out of town.

Group Photo at the Bulkow's

One more harp photo--the harp resides in the living room, so it's easy to get harp photos!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Cinnamon Swirl

Evan really, really likes the Cinnamon Swirl bread that you can buy at Great Harvest. I picked up a loaf yesterday after I dropped the boys at karate camp and he ate it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Given that we have ten people in our house, the loaf was gone by the end the day. So this morning after going to the karate dojo, I went back to Great Harvest and purchased another loaf!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Gardening Report.

Here is how two of Viva's three pots of flowers are looking. (I forgot to get a photo of the third one. It's in the yard against the fence because the plants were so tall they needed more support.):

By some odd coincidence, all three older children came home from church events with small containers of baby pansies. Bentley brought his home in May. I had to transplant the clump of small plants into a larger pot in June. The plants didn't grow at all (or die!) for the first month or more, but then they finally took off and now the pot is full of pansies that are blooming. Jake came  home with a container with a few small plants in it. And in July Viva came home with a small blue pot (maybe she painted the pot?) with a couple of small pansies growing in it. Jake and Viva's pansies have not yet bloomed. 

I am the one (with some help from Viva) who has kept the plants watered and cared for. Despite the boys lack of participation in tending them, they do get a chance to see how amazing it is that a very small plant grows big and blooms. The other plant in the photo is Viva's mint plant. It is doing really well and needs to be transplanted into the ground to see if it will survive the winter.

Jake, Viva and I were going to do more gardening together this summer, but we don't have a good garden plot in the yard so we didn't get our carrots and radishes planted. The lettuce we bought together I put in a pot and the aphids loved it so much we abandoned it. Only one zucchini grew on the zucchini plant--it's hard to fertilize blooms when you only have one plant. Gardening is a lot of work.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Summer Flees

This summer (as always) has been unpredictable. Starting back in April we had many, many days of above average temperatures. One day in July we even hit 81 degrees!! (That is a scorcher in Anchorage.) By the middle of July our lawn was looking very sad. We needed water and cooler temperatures. Despite all the fine weather, we only got the pool out once. Between our summer guests and the bee/hornet/yellow jacket problem it just didn't happen.

Then the rain clouds and rain came. It has rained 15 of the last 21 days. It is cold. It is damp. Our family has had the flu. The lawn looks great, but the flowers have drown. 

The forecast is for more of the same. ARG!

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Girl Reads

Viva is the most voracious reader in the house. (I'm sure Bentley and maybe Kara would protest that they are, but I think Viva is and I am the one writing this post.) Viva keeps stacks of books on her bed. She takes books in the car. She reads new books and rereads old favorites.

Currently she is reading the Harry Potter series yet again. She doesn't read the books in order. I'm not sure how she decides which one to read, but she had me put book four back on the shelf and give her book two.

I love that she loves reading!