Friday, September 30, 2016

Yard Work

The children are finally getting old enough to help out around the yard. Kara has been paying them to pull weeds in the cotoneaster beds that line our driveway. (I just learned that the bushes and berries are considered poisonous to humans, but obviously the moose have no problems with them. ARG!) I gave up on the weeds in the beds after three years of never ending work. I even purchased a weed dragon propane torch to burn the weeds. Mark scorched the bushes while burning the weeds, so I put the kibosh on using it. 

Why don't the moose eat the weeds? Why do they eat the bushes? Why did the landscapers put in bushes that moose love? Some of life's mysteries. In any case, the children are willing to work for low wages to pull weeds. It's not really going to alter the landscape radically, but it's our attempt to tame mother nature.

One Saturday afternoon Mark and I recruited the children to help us fill the back of the truck up with alder branches we cut down. The alders serve no useful function other than making it hard to get around the yard and they strangle more attractive greenery. Yard work is endless. Perhaps I should be paying the moose to work for me?

Thursday, September 29, 2016

My Favorite Park for Photos

I have a park that I like to go to with Mark and the children every fall to get some photos. I like outdoor photos because the backdrop is a perfect complement to my beautiful grandchildren. Of course, it's hard to find a time when Mark and all five children are available, so sometimes I have to settle for who is around. One late afternoon I snagged Mark, Evan and Lincoln:

Then a week later, I was able to get all five children (but not Mark) to go to the park. It was a perfect, sunny afternoon. I took a couple of group photos, here is the best:

Then we went to the stream at the back of the park. All the children love the stream and they were splashing and having a great time when Jake fell in. End of good times. Jake insisted that we IMMEDIATELY return home. *sigh*

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Back to Dance!

The fall is in full swing, and Viva's back at dance!  This year she is doing modern, jazz, and ballet.  The classes are spread over four days so it makes the taxi driver Mom schedule *fun*.  :)

Master Block Builder

Lincoln is my current little builder.  He REALLY likes the blocks, and builds some pretty fancy shapes with them!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Idaho Time!

Friday night (late night!) Matt and the little guys headed off for a week with family in Idaho.  The red eye flights were a bit long, but they made it and, after catching up on sleep, all is well!  There will be plenty of outdoor time, parks, food, and family - good times!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Backyard Exploring

We have had such awesome fall weather that the kids have had more chances to explore outdoors. The summer was pretty great, but we had an abnormally high bee (wasp, yellow jacket, etc.) population so the children were not excited about playing outside. However, with the cooler (but not cold!) fall weather the bees seem to have fled and the children are willing to go back outdoors.

One afternoon recently Kara told the kids to go in the backyard and scavenge outward into the 40 acres of wetlands that our homeowners' association owns to find the small stream they had found last summer. From the stream they were supposed to collect some pond water for examination under a microscope.

They took off on their own, but after a while I decided to go check on them and see how their mission was going. They hadn't found the stream or if they had, it was just a trickle. They weren't willing to collect the water because they said it was too dirty. !!! I collected a small sample for them. Bentley found a few low bush cranberries. They had a good time.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Checkers Boy

Lincoln is going through a checkers phase.  His Dad taught him to play and he was hooked!  He plays with Viva, and once in a while he talks Evan into playing.  His desire to play is greater than the desire of his fellow housemates, so I found him resorting to playing both sides of the board on his own.  I introduced him to checkers against the computer (or, rather, the iPad!) and he was enthralled.  Eventually I dragged him away from his games, but - it's fun to see him focus so long on something he enjoys!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Lincoln: The Monkey

This summer Lincoln mastered the monkey bars. He is very good at them. Sometimes he's too short to access them and then he needs some help getting up.

Evan is too small still to do the monkey bars. They are spaced too far apart to do safely.

It was odd that this summer the children didn't use the swings at the playground very much. Last summer they always spent at least a few minutes swinging.

Monday, September 12, 2016

An Afternoon in Girdwood

Last weekend the kids took advantage of the nice fall weather and the older ones headed out for some hiking with their Dad.  They logged 7 miles and covered two different trails with some beautiful scenery.  Group activities are always challenging when one kid wants to keep going (and going and going), one is somewhat indifferent, and one defintely wants to head back.  :)

Friday, September 09, 2016

School Time Cuties

Lincoln and Evan have officially "joined" the school crowd!  We're not going crazy as I firmly believe the best work young kids can do is play.  They have been asking to learn to read though, so we've started that.  And when they asked to do some numbers and letters we bring those out too.  I think the fact they see their older siblings busy learning may in part inspire their desire to participate too - which is one of the great things about a mixed age school room!

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Flat Land Stunt Riding!

We checked out the stunt bike show at the fair this year and apparently Evan felt inspired by it.... :)

(In defense of the pajamas, he got wet in the water balloon fight and said it was too much work to put his clothes back on so went straight for the PJ option.... he's a fifth child, so the standards are a bit lax sometimes!)

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Everyday Life: More August

The children spend time in the schoolroom hitting the books even in the summer!

And once in a while the little guys join them!

Construction Guy

Cool Guys

Cool Guy with Top Hat Guy

Climber Guy

Fearless Guy

Dangling Guys

Puzzle Guys

Dinosaur Guy

Not a Guy!

Train Guys

Death Star Guys