Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas Surprise

What a wonderful Christmas present- a huge package in the mail from birthmom and family! Ashley and Gabe sent gorgeous princess bath towels that we needed, adorable clothes, rattles, and UM pacifiers! Aunt Jeannie, Michael, Anna, and Emma gave the girls beautiful Old Navy sweatshirts, and Grandma Leann sent monogrammed bunnies, and some fancy new clothes. Most exciting to Christina, Grandma Leann also sent bells with the girls' names on them and the date - Christina's favorite ornament from childhood is her silver ornament with her name and birth year etched on it - how wonderful that the girls now have their very own!

These girls are just so beloved and so cherished - we are thrilled to be a part of this loving circle, and are so happy for everyone who is sharing in this first Christmas for us as a new family.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Little Elves

Don't these two look just like little elves? These are outfits Christina bought back in September at a mothers of multiples garage sale (we don't usually have them matchy-matchy, but these little candy-cane looking numbers were so cute!). We thought they'd never really fit into them, but at a few dollars each we couldn't pass them up. It's funny how we couldn't conceive of them ever getting any bigger than they were - they are so big now in our eyes! Elena is 12 pounds and Clara is 11 - quite a difference from the 4 lb-ish low they both had for weight in that first week.

And, as requested by Aunt Melissa, here is a picture of the girls' first Christmas tree, up and decorated:

Finally, it turns out that Elena really doesn't want to be photographed in a box, but this is the best shot we could get of her, and I post it here so in later years she doesn't feel left out that we embarrassed Clara on the Internet but not her:

Friday, December 7, 2007

It's Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas

Even though the girls won't remember this first Christmas, we're having such a fun time being able to enjoy the season as our new foursome, and we're continuing many traditions that Christina and Steve have started on their own or carried over from their families. We love that when the girls look back at pictures, they'll know that they were a part of the fun right from the start.

One tradition we love is that our neighborhood has a block party where we get together and caravan about an hour away to get our trees in the national forest. We stop at a great diner called Trixi's (named after a fantastic Montana legend of a woman truly before her time) and we all order burgers and fries. Then, we suit up (babies get snowsuits put on while laying on the pool table!) and head out to the forest for our tree search. Once they are cut down and tied to the cars, we tailgate with cookies and cocoa. It was pretty cold, so Christina and the girls waited in the car while Steve searched out the perfect tree, but we all got out together for the tailgating. The girls did great, and boy were they bundled up!

Elena, partially suited up to get going to find the Christmas tree.

Steve and Clara at Trixi's, doing the traditional "on with the snowsuit."

Christina with Clara at Trixi's, showing off some of the decor (Elena really did come with us, she was just sleeping).

Family of four, out in the mountains of Montana after having found the perfect tree.
We still just can't believe we're all together! What a happy holiday season.
Clara hangs out with Steve, after he returns from his hike to get us our tree.

Once we got the tree home, the girls were mesmerized by the lights. Clara particularly can stare at the lights for ages.

Clara through the tree - a poor showing of how intently she loves to look in at the lights.

We've been trying to get some good holiday pictures for the girls, hoping they could go in a card. We're not getting very far on the card front, since we can't get the picture we're hoping for (so don't think we don't love you - I don't think anyone will get a card from us this year!) but here are two outtakes - one of two girls sweetly sitting together (except that Elena is vacant and has some spit-up!) and another of Clara being one of the two best gifts we've ever received (other best gift, Elena, doesn't love the box quite so much!).

First outtake at a holiday card:
Second outtake at a holiday card:

Finally, Christina has been initiating the girls into the traditional cookie-baking that her family always undertakes. For the last week or so, we've been cooking together every day. The girls lie happily cooing as Christina narrates the process of making different Christmas treats. Here's a short video showing how this part of the day usually goes:

Friday, November 30, 2007

Uncle Scott sent an inchworm that the girls just love - it has all kinds of colors and textures, and the best part is that it's long enough for both girls to get an end and play with it at once!

The girls are starting to get into the holiday spirit - here is Clara embracing winter as she wears penguin pajamas and laughs at the snow outside (absolutely taking after her Dad here in loving winter).

It seems Elena is taking after her Mom a bit more, loving to wear the winter clothes, but not so much being able to laugh in the face of all the snow piling up outside.

This morning, the girls had their usual gaze up at their mobile after they ate breakfast. We were charmed to see Elena stroking her sister's hair (really, she was being so gentle!). Elena looks like a giant here, but really we just stagger them in the crib so they each get some room.

After such charming sister interaction, imagine our surprise to see that same caring Elena chomping on her sister's arm later in the day!

Finally, here are two shots of Clara that are just too cute not to share:

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


This weekend, we had the girls baptized. Christina had been working on a crocheted white dress over the summer, in anticipation of one day having a little one whom we would baptize. When we found out we would have TWO little ones, she had to get working on a second one. Both dresses got done in time, and the girls wore them well. They were also little angels during the service - in our church, the child being baptized gets called up to the alter three different times, and neither Clara or Elena cried any of those times - even when they got water poured over them and oil brushed on them! It was wonderful to be up in front of a supportive community, having our girls welcomed in.

Here is Clara getting ready to get all dressed:

And here she is dressed up and posing "like a flower" as Aunt Carna called her.

And here is Elena, excited to get ready -

And Elena all dressed up and looking like a flower as well.

A beautiful service:

Posing with the godparents and godbrother: Bob, Beth, and Brendan:

And a pose with Mom and Dad:

Finally, here's Elena with her Nana Rose. What a sweet pair.

Belated Thanksgiving Posting

We had such a blessed first Thanksgiving together this year. We were so thankful to be a new family of four together; but our family joy didn't end there! This year Christina, Steve, Elena, and Clara were joined for Thanksgiving by Aunt Cyndie, Nana Rose, and G-Daddy (Steve's parents). Then, we went to join our wonderful chosen family in Missoula by having our annual Thanksgiving dinner together. Our turkey was just under the combined weights of Clara and Elena!

Among our thanks this year were the support we have received from family and friends throughout this year, as well as the wonderful work of Catholic Social Services in helping us with our adoption, and the generous and selfless birth relations of the girls who we are lucky to be in contact with. We have so much to be thankful for!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Comings and Goings

Aunt Cyndie is here! Steve went out of town to Chicago for work, and Aunt Cyndie came out from Calfornia to help with the girls. Right away, she was a pro at entertaining and calming both girls.

Both girls lying on the bed, staring up at the fan. While this has always been fun for them, it has become a new obsession during their cranky 4pm - 6pm time frame. We hang scarves, stuffed animals, and even their mobile from the fan for them to watch spin around. They love it!

The girls have so many upbeat, cheerful times every day that they completely offset the cranky time of day. These smiles, like Clara's here, are more and more frequent for us and for friends and family who visit.

And now, two shots of Elena the past few days - one being silly....

And Elena being serious...

Christina was a little worried about how it would go while Steve was gone, but being with Cyndie made it so much better than she expected. We girls had a lot of fun!

And then, Steve came home! Clara and Elena came to the airport to say "Welcome home, Dad!"
They wore shirts especially for the occasion, and Steve was so relieved to be back. He missed his girls so much.

Who wouldn't want to come home to these girls?

It's snowing now in Montana, but even before that it's gotten pretty cold. The other day we got ready to take both girls out for a wintery stroll.

Even though it wasn't snowing, we decided both girls would be most comfortable in one of the many snowsuits they have to choose from. Here is Steve with Elena in hers:

And Clara, out for the first time in her snowsuit:

They are sure going to have a bundled up time over these next few months. We are taking a trip in a few weeks to go cut our Christmas tree, for the first time as our new family. Wait and see what snowsuit they will be sporting then - pink leopard, purple flowers, or these two again?