Sunday, July 29, 2012

Corinna-zilla plays Carcasonne

IMAG0285 by jbellis
IMAG0285, a photo by jbellis on Flickr.

Rachel taught Matthew to play Carcasonne today. Corinna climbed on the table to join in the fun.

After taking this picture I entertained her in the toy room for an hour and a half after this while they finished their game. Corinna was amenable to being entertained, so that part was easy. The only complication was Isaac barging in every twenty minutes when his My Little Pony episodes finished.

Melissa in a tree

IMAG0284 by jbellis
IMAG0284, a photo by jbellis on Flickr.

(No, there are no lower branches on the other side either.)

Isaac was jealous because he couldn't climb it, but when I hoisted him up he decided it was too high after all.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Matthew writes Uncle Brian

(I've added paragraphs but retained Matthew's spelling.)

Dear Uncle Brain,

How are you today?

When I play Starcraft It says Brain Sinden is online. Who is that? Is that Kirsti? When I asked I got no answer.

So what is it like there? 

At Grandma's house I got to play with a boy named Caleb. We got squirt guns and had a water gun war. ( I had a secret wepon, the hose ) It was hard because I squirt him at the eyes by mistake then he did squirted me in the eyes  by mistake because he could not see.

I get to go to Barton Spring with Spencer! We get to go swimming and see turtles ( maybe fish ) ! ;) This person is winking -_-   -_= +_+  +_= ( hall of silly faces ) I hope you are having a good time.

Much love,


Reminiscing with Dad: fifth grade and tetherball

Speaking with my Dad over the phone this morning, I mentioned that Matthew's going into the fourth grade.  That's the first grade I remember bits and pieces of.

Dad: "The first year I remember is sixth grade.  I don't remember much of fifth grade.  Just that I had an old lady for a teacher who hated boys.  She'd always make us sit quietly at our desks during recess while the girls got to go play.  Of course that made us more restless the rest of the day.

"I remember one day I dropped a pencil on the floor.  "Oops," I said, even though I'd done it on purpose.  She sent me to the principle's office, probably more for saying something than for dropping it.  I did tell the principle that I'd like to transfer to another class because my teacher didn't like boys, but he -- she? -- said it was too late in the year  for that.

"I also remember being the school tetherball champ in fifth grade.  I'd beat all the sixth graders too, even though I was short for my age.  I had an advantage, since the challenger got to pick the direction of the first swing, and I was left handed.  I also got to practice at home since my mom got me a pole to play on -- one in Ogden, and one at Bear lake.

"In sixth grade, we moved to Salt Lake.  There was one other sixth grade lefty there, and he'd make me work for it.  Everyone else I toyed with.  It frustrated my stepfather that at over six feet he couldn't beat this five foot tall kid.

"In retrospect I guess it's too bad that I didn't spend that time on basketball, since there was no tetherball after sixth grade.  But I had fun with it."

Monday, July 23, 2012

Corinna the scientist

IMAG0244 by jbellis
IMAG0244, a photo by jbellis on Flickr.

It goes without saying that Rachel does not approve.

Story time with Mommy

IMAG0247 by jbellis
IMAG0247, a photo by jbellis on Flickr.

An impromptu slide

IMAG0248 by jbellis
IMAG0248, a photo by jbellis on Flickr.

Now that my recliner has been repaired (Isaac broke the springs from jumping on it too hard), Corinna has found a way to entertain herself with it.

Like a big girl

IMAG0281 by jbellis
IMAG0281, a photo by jbellis on Flickr.

Rachel had a small nursery class on Sunday so Corinna got to join in. She sat on a chair like the big kids for snacktime.

She was not interested in sitting on a chair for coloring time, though. I took her out to harass the men in priesthood meeting instead.

Daddy! You play chess me!

IMAG0282 by jbellis
IMAG0282, a photo by jbellis on Flickr.

Isaac summoned me over to play chess. He didn't have the attention span to listen to the rules, but I taught Melissa while Isaac grabbed pieces off the board.

Maybe Melissa will join Matthew and me at the local chess club on Saturday.

The camouflage ghost

IMAG0283 by jbellis
IMAG0283, a photo by jbellis on Flickr.

Isaac the ghost was stalking his sister: "'Issa! Boooooooo! 'Issa! Boooooooo!"

(I had him raise the blanket for the picture.)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Driving through Snoqualmie Pass

Like driving through a cloud
IMAG0119 by jbellis

Snoqualmie Pass is a gorgeous drive through the mountains and would be quite romantic as well...were it not punctuated by demands, protests, and cacophony from the backseat!


Mercer Island with Cousins!

Aunt Telitha and Uncle Nolan have a wonderful backyard for children to play.  While out there, they decided that the mud and drizzle weren't enough and what was really needed was the hose in order to make moats.

Matthew and James playing  jedi knights.  Those two played very well together, but their play was punctuated by bitter, bitter arguments.  Matthew and James are both determined stubborn firstborns, accustomed to being right, and having their own way; naturally sparks did fly.  After the second day though, they were pals again.

Mark and Isaac got along like peanut butter and jelly right from the start.  They stuck together like best friends forever.  Those two impish boys are kindred spirits.  Isaac still asks about "my friend Mark" just about everyday.  "I play with Mark?"

Cousin James had basketball practice during the mornings, so while the Walthers were busy, the kids and I checked out the Bellvue Children's Museum.  These were taken with my cell phone, so they aren't very good.  
Matthew built a pipe structure that connected the two pools of water together.  He recruited some other kids to help and was immensely pleased with himself when he finished.  

The museum was overpriced in my estimation, but the kids had a ball and didn't want to leave when it was time to go.  I had to bribe them with Bubble Tea (large tapioca balls in a fruit slushy).  

Boeing flight museum

One grey day Aunt Telitha, James, Mark, and Daniel took us to The Museum of Flight and Aviation History.  Such a treat!

Melissa is landing a space shuttle on the Moon.

Cousin James with Matthew and Melissa

Telitha and the cousins in front of a Blue Angel

James is ready for takeoff!

Cute Mark

Flight of insects, birds, and bats

Here Matthew and Mark are listening in on real-time radio transmissions from Boeing field.

The children's section was really impressive.  Here Matthew and Isaac are learning about aerodynamics with a model plane and wind.  There were all kinds of fun models and activities to teach them about flight and physics.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Isaac is a boy

VIDEO0006 a video by jbellis on Flickr.

Lately Isaac has been turning everything into a gun. Here he is shooting Mommy with his leg.


VIDEO0005 a video by jbellis on Flickr.

Neighborhood drama

IMAG0222 by jbellis
IMAG0222, a photo by jbellis on Flickr.

As I walked out of the house Sunday morning to buckle Corinna in the car for the drive to church, I saw a young man being led in cuffs to a cop car right in front of our house. With the man in the back seat, the car moved down the street to join two others in front of a house for sale. Had the suspect broken in?

Tired Isaac

IMAG0219 by jbellis
IMAG0219, a photo by jbellis on Flickr.
When we returned from Washington, Isaac's internal clock didn't catch up for a while and he spent the first night back up until 11 Central time. He slept in a bit the next morning, but not enough... and ultimately fell asleep between bites of Rachel's homemade spaghetti.

(Since then, he's gone to bed at a reasonable hour AND slept in later than usual.  I think it's because Matthew stayed with Grandma for an extra week and isn't here to wake him up in the morning.)

Friday, July 06, 2012

The flight home

Today we left Matthew with Grandma and took the younger kids home with us to Austin.

Corinna was the first to fall asleep. Under protest, but she was tired. Then Rachel. Finally Isaac snuggled up and he was out too.


Melissa brought back a bouquet of flowers that she picked herself from Grandma's garden. Concerned for their health, she gave them her cup of water.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Corinna going down the big girl slide

corinna-slide-2 a video by jbellis on Flickr.
Corinna went from deeply skeptical of slides to a huge fan in short order. She's still a little diffident when faced with an unfamiliar playground, but Isaac shows her the stairs to the slides and she follows him enthusiastically.


Isaac makes his move

IMAG0209 by jbellis
IMAG0209, a photo by jbellis on Flickr.

Isaac made sure to close the gate behind him so the dogs wouldn't get out. Then he took off down the road towards freedom, and towards Grandpa.

Ten minutes earlier, Grandpa took Matthew and Uncle Chris and Chris's friend Erica to buy fireworks from the Indian reservation. (They have better fireworks at the reservation that aren't, technically, legal off of it.)

These were Isaac's best playmates. Erica in particular had been playing frisbee with him. He was heartbroken. He sat down in the driveway where they'd left him and wailed and wailed.

When he left, I called him back. Then I dragged him back when he ignored me, and got him interested in the rope swings. I don't know what he would have done when he got to the fork in the road. And of course he couldn't catch a car on his three year old legs. But he was going to try.

Grandma's sunshine

I was swinging Melissa on the Sinden rope swing and I noticed the "pearl" necklace she was wearing. I was glad that she can enjoy tomboyish activities, and at the same time enjoy being a girl.  (Check out the middle picture in particular, if you click through to the big version you can see her smile lighting up the trees.)

Later that night Rachel told me about how Grandma Van Duker had heard about how Melissa really really wanted a pearl necklace... so she gave her one. A real one.

 I think we'll need to set some rules for Care Of Nice Things now so this doesn't get broken or lost...