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?

Monday, November 12, 2007


As we showed a few posts ago, the girls are getting better at playing with us and with toys now that they can see a bit further and can hold on to things a bit more. So, here's some insight into playtime around here!

First, we have Clara with a doll that some people in the hospital gave us - the girls were a big hit with everyone there, and these dolls were gifts from the grandma of a baby born there a day earlier. They offered to babysit at the hospital so Steve and I could go out to dinner...nice thought, but no way were we parting with the girls if we didn't need to!

Here's Elena holding a lamb from her Aunt Melissa and Uncle Jeff. How cute is it that the lamb and Elena are looking off peacefully in the same direction? The lamb lives in the corner of the crib, looking out over the girls while they sleep. Don't worry - as soon as they move around the crib we'll take it out, for safety.

Two girls with their two dolls - don't they each show a tiny resemblance to their doll?

Okay - now for one of the more hilarious toys that we organic cotton banana from our friends Chris and Karen. At first it just sat around on our coffee table and fooled Steve and I into thinking that we had a real banana to eat. Then, the girls got into it, and now they both have fun with Mr. Banana - check them out!
clara banana
elena banana
elena banana

A new first in our household - both girls can now grip toys and let them go, apparently at will. So, now they actually get to play with rattles and teething rings - let's just hope they don't hit one another with them too soon.

Christina bought the girls Jacque, the peacock, because she just couldn't resist him. It turns out that Clara can't, either. We were having some floor play time this week, and we put Clara down facing away from Jacque. She turns her little head, and at first isn't sure what to make of him:

But then she recognizes her friend, and flashes a friendly face at him:

Followed by an engaging smile - we love how they want to be friends with all of their toys! They do the same thing with their duck and their ladybug that hang from the gym.

At the very same time Christina was snapping those pictures of Clara, Elena was apparently having some fun of her own. When we turned back to her, here's what we saw!

That might not seem like too big a deal, but Christina had left her perpendicular to the position she is in this picture, so Elena had turned herself right around. And a second after this shot, Elena rolled from her back right on to her right side!! Things are sure going to get interesting soon, with all of this movement.

And, lest all the sweetness be too much for any of you, we will leave you with a tough Elena picture - put up your dukes!!

Many Faces of Elena and Clara

Clara and Elena are really starting to develop their facial expressions, which is showing us even more about each of their personalities. It's fun to watch them imitate us, or initiate an expression (especially a smile!). Although we couldn't possibly love them more, we are having more and more fun together the more variety we see in their activities and expressions.

So here are some fun new things from this week! First, we have the girls starting to have more control over their hands, which has meant that they sometimes "hug" us around our necks while we're holding them up near our shoulders. Here, Clara was going to sleep and got her hands around her Dad's shoulders to pat him a bit while she drifted off:

Both girls, but Clara especially, has gotten really interested in finding fingers lately. Clara has been kind of sucking her fingers for about a month, but it happened only when she randomly got her hands near her face. Lately, she's been working hard at purposefully getting her hands up to her face:

And this week, she's found success! She's sucked her thumb like this several times now (here she was doing it while cuddled up to Steve in the sling):

Elena has also been doing her own thing this week - one of those was perfecting her signature look. She kind of looks at us sideways (and she looks at her sister this way, too) with a sly smile - it is so adorable!

Elena also has a really wonderful look of surprise that she flashes us a lot:

Finally, this week the girls have been playing side by side some more this week, although this is the week they've begun outgrowing being in the gym together. To get these shots, we had to angle each of them diagonally, and they each kicked their legs right off the mat!