Thursday, August 28, 2008

Oregon Vacation - Girls at the Ocean edition

Maybe we've built this up too much, but taking the girls to see the ocean was really one of the great highlights of our vacation this summer. We rented a yurt right off the beach, where you could still hear the waves and smell the salt air.

Almost as soon as we dropped our things off at the yurt, we headed to the beach. We thought that the girls might have a hard time with the tide splashing on them, but it turned out that they both loved it. They loved the sand, they loved the wind in their hair, and they loved having free reign and open space. It was so much fun to watch them.

Here's Clara's first beach experience. First, in the wave with Mom:

Walking down the beach with Dad:

Shooting a picture into the sun doesn't work out too well, but Clara was having such fun experimenting with sand and we just wanted to get this picture with the ocean in it:

The pictures come out a little better in this direction, though.

Sandy fingers:

And here's Elena's first time on the coast. First, making holes with Dad:

She did this pose over and over again - we think it is her sun salutation:

She might be looking pensive here:

But really she was just plotting...

...her great escape:

These moments made the trip entirely worth it.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Oregon Vacation - We Love Ice Cream edition

So we held out on you all a little bit. Not only are there more fun vacation pictures to share, but one of our favorite moments yet with the girls was not when they had their first cupcake, but the moment on the trip where we decided to share ice cream with them for the first time. We'd planned to wait until after they turned one, but in Hood River there is a classically wonderful ice cream stand:

And after a few days passing it, we couldn't turn the opportunity down any longer. We started with Clara first. She takes a lick/bite off of Steve's strawberry cone:

Wait, what is that?

This is apparently NOT what she thought ice cream would be:

Luckily, things got a bit more enjoyable for her (especially after we switched her to Christina's chocolate cone) and we had one delighted girl on our hands.

Next up, Elena took a crack at this ice-cream-eating thing:

Oh, again, not quite what she expected, even after having watched her sister:

And yet, wait - you need more?

Ah, now some of the ice cream love starts to show:

And show:


The ice cream shop is tiny, and people overheard us talking to the girls about their first ice cream. We had a little crowd gathered outside to witness the event, and everyone was delighted by the show. Really, how often do you get to see people experience such fun firsts? We felt lucky to be in on it ourselves.

There were some little adirondack chairs at the ice cream shop that were just the right size for nearly one year old girls - they had such fun soaking up some rays. Here are some parting shots of that time to hold you over until we put up pictures of one of the remaining exciting adventures we're holding out on - the first time at the ocean!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Today Clara and Elena turned one year old. It's tremendously unbelievable that last year these were the girls we knew:

and today these are the girls they have grown into:

Amazing. On our minds today were all the people who have made them who they are, like their birth parents and their families, like our families, our wonderful friends, and all who have been with them on the path of this first year. We are so grateful that they are happy and healthy and heading into toddlerhood in one piece. We all made it!

We started the day with songs, a pancake birthday breakfast, and gifts. So many people sent so many lovely gifts - thank you all. Christina stayed up the past few nights finishing Raggedy Ann dolls (picture to come later) that are exactly their height. Her mother made each of her daughters one, and Christina wanted to carry on the tradition - but those dolls are a lot of work! It was nice to have them done, and the girls seemed to really like them, especially touching their faces.

This afternoon we had a party for the girls at a local park with a sprayground (little water park). We had flowers all around - even the cupcakes were supposed to look like flowers:

Both girls skipped their afternoon nap, and that made the party a little touch and go at times. We've been waiting all year for the smushing of cupcakes in their little faces, but Elena cried as soon as we sat her down with one.

Here's Clara offering some of what she decided was delicious cupcake:

And here's a close up of the sugar rush. Can you spot our birthday surprise? Clara woke up with two top teeth! No crying, no notice - just two teeth overnight.

As we said, Elena was more tentative about the cupcakes, but she accepted one of the lollipops off the top:

And eventually she warmed up to some cupcake, although this is the best shot we got:

The girls stuck with the party long enough to open gifts and spend a little time in the water, but everyone was nice enough to understand that one year old girls without naps aren't always the best hosts, and we soon adjourned to have a birthday dinner and then baths and bed.

One year. Unbelievable. We wonder what the next year will bring.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Oregon Vacation (Fruit Loop edition)

We have a very lovely life , and we know just how lucky we are to be together. And yet - we know some of you have told us that after reading the blog you don't know how we're doing so much with twins, or how things are going so well. In the interest of full disclosure, of COURSE things aren't always as pretty as they are on the blog - while our lovely moments are all real moments, there are plenty of tough moments that don't make it on camera.

Case in point - our vacation to Oregon. We took this vacation a year ago, and on our drive back from a lovely week in Oregon we got the call that Ashley had picked us to parent the girls, and that they would soon be born. We could not WAIT to repeat the vacation this year, this time with our darling daughters. Many of you out there already laughing at this point - how did we think the vacation would be even remotely the same? Who knows - we naively booked four nights at a bed and breakfast, one night at a yurt on the coast, one night at a posh Portland hotel, and planned in lots of fun activities. And while there were many amazingly wonderful moments (which we'll post here in the coming days in installments, because there are just so many pictures!) what you don't see are all the times we were just trying to manage to keep going, keep relatively sane, and keep the girls in one piece. Our overall advice - don't expect a trip with infants to be a relaxing vacation.

And now - for the good stuff. We stayed for four nights and about two days in Hood River, Oregon. It is absolutely beautiful. We were especially excited to tour the Fruit Loop, a 25 mile loop through gorgeous farms and mountains to tour a variety of farms. Here's a little look at our scenery - Mt. Hood features prominently in lots of these pictures:

The girls slept off and on during this journey, so sometimes only one girl was up at a time when we arrived at the farms. The alpaca farm was one where only Clara was awake. We saw week-old baby alpacas, we saw the roving that their fur is made into, and then beautiful yarns that are made from each of the alpaca on the farm. It was great.

Here's Clara, happily bouncing in Christina's arms and taking in the scenery and the farm life.

But get her near the cute, loving, adorably sweet alpacas and yikes! We could not believe how much she disliked the alpacas (and this was an abrupt reaction - she was fine one second and then when Christina clicked the camera shutter we got this picture:)

Seriously, how cute are these guys? But, we took Clara back to the car, and tried to take note that she isn't always as into the animals as we think she might be. Only dogs and birds seem to really appeal to her.

Next we went to the Draper Sisters Farm, and had a nice time stretching our legs and swinging on their old-timey swing with Mt. Hood in the background:

The girls, who are huge fans of all fruits, really loved the peaches we got at this farm. They each got one, but while Clara's was getting washed she got a little impatient.

Luckily, they are learning to share and Elena let her have a little peach while she was waiting.

Clara was asleep when we first got to the farm, and Elena took a little ride in the wagon to pick out a special peach (not quite ripe) that she could carry in the car without getting messy.

We also went blueberry picking - Christina taught the girls how the blueberries go "kerplink, kerplank, kerplunk" like in the Blueberries for Sal book she loved as a child.

She didn't really need to try so hard to get them to like the blueberries - they couldn't go more than a few minutes without getting a little taste, or without having us show them the blueberries we were getting.
Eventually, we decided to give up on picking and just start eating.

Heads together over a bucket of blueberries on a summer day - THIS is one of those moments we lived for on this vacation.

We'll close this segment with a view of Clara and Elena at Steve's side, picnicking on blueberries in the sun. We had lots more adventures on this journey, and we'll post them in the days to come!