Monday, February 23, 2009

Making Granola with Daddy

This weekend the girls helped out with several projects around the house. They made some cards we needed to send out, they helped put up new molding around the garage door (Clara carried nails beautifully!), they did painting touch-up on the walls, and they learned to help "sweep" the floor.

But the most document-able of all of their weekend projects was making granola with Steve. We went to the natural food store to get the ingredients, and then the crew got to work.

First, dump all of the oats and dried fruits together:

Then, take a break to eat some of the dried fruit from one's OWN bowl:

Go back to see what your sister's up to:

Then pick out the right sized bowl together:

Finally, mix everything together before popping it in the oven:

Cooking is so much fun!

Not documented here: The girls also helped Christina roast a butternut squash. Once it had cooled, Christina put the girls up on chairs to watch her scoop the squash out into a bowl. She gave the girls spoons to "help" but instead they "helped themselves" to the squash, straight out of the squash skin! They really love their squash, but we didn't know they loved it that much!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Open Gym

A few times a week a gymnastics center in town has "open gym" for preschoolers, where there are trainers to help but parents mostly supervise their own kids as they explore some of the mats, trampolines, and balance beams in the center. Christina took the girls once and felt frenzied trying to keep them together in an area full of unfamiliar equipment that was pretty much warehouse-sized.

The three (Christina, Clara, and Elena) went back again this week and had a GREAT time, mostly because Christina was able to lighten up a bit; recognizing that really only a few areas posed any real hazard and that it was okay if the girls went in different directions.

We walked in the door ten minutes early, and the girls couldn't wait to get out on the mats. Here is Elena when I finally let them out in the gym (two minutes early -we just couldn't wait!):
Clara headed straight for the cones, exploring what sounds she could make with them:
Then, both girls go for the trampoline. They love walking up and down this, bouncing, but they can't jump yet so things stay relatively tame with just the two of them:
But where are the other kids?

Watch what you wish for - as soon as the other kids get on the trampoline, it turns out that kids who can actually JUMP really get this bouncing, and the girls mostly end up like this:

But they still love it:
Next up, the ball pit. This terrified Christina the first time (yes, yes, nervous mother - but it's a foot or so drop down into it at the lowest point!) but she realized this time that even if the girls dive in (which Elena did) they love it and don't get hurt:
They mostly stay by the edge - agog at the kids in the middle doing the exciting things:

Elena takes a try at rearranging some cones:
But over near the ball pit Elena discovers something she can't wait to try out. Can you see what she's pointing at? A trapeze above the ball pit. See this pointing? That went on for SOME time.
So we tried it. She did great! Elena held herself there (with Christina spotting) and drew the attention of several people who couldn't believe how brave and strong she was (no pictures of this - Christina had to be holding on!!).

We worked our way to a different section of the gym, where Clara practiced getting over the balance beam:

And then Clara got her moment to "hang" - not on the trapeze, but on a regular beam. One of the trainers helped her, but she really could support all of her weight - it was amazing! Future gymnasts?

Just another day at the gym!

Our Airplane Ride (as seen by Elena)

Whenever we're on a plane, people say: "So, it's their first trip?" assuming that the girls haven't been on a plane before. We have to explain that they have routinely been on planes since they were three months old, and are old hands at it.

That being said, just because they are EXPERIENCED doesn't mean they are HAPPY. They are not thrilled to have to sit still for any length of time, and are always looking for more fun on the plane than we are able to provide. Still, we improved the plane ride a bit this time by buying the girls their own seats. They rode with the CARES straps, which worked pretty well. They didn't love them, but they handled them okay, as seen via Elena below:

Not happy, but not kicking, screaming, crying, or falling on the floor. Success!!

After takeoff, we took the girls out of the straps, and they had a better outlook:

While Clara looked at pictures on a fellow passenger's camera:

...Elena decided to take some pictures of her own. Here is the plane ride through her eyes:

Her pants, shoe, and the seat in front:

Mom's arm and watch (Oh, she got such a close up of the face, but I drew the line at posting that!):

The seatback before her:
The ceiling above her:

We are so glad to be home, and plan to just stay here for awhile! We love seeing family, but it's nice to stay in one place for a bit, too.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Arizona Amusements

The girls had so much fun with their Nana Rose and G-Daddy in Arizona last week. They spent a lot of time playing just the four of them, but we were happy when the bunch of us got to all hang out together. We went swimming, played at the park, and scooped up rocks in the backyard.

We also had some photo-documented fun. One thing the girls loved was playing Nana's piano. They actually sounded pretty good! Nana taught them to play with "just one finger" instead of pounding.

Even though the piano itself was fun, the girls loved to look at the pictures up above of all the family members. They could recognize most of the relatives, but the one they loved the best was Uncle Scott. "Sot!" they would both holler, and that is who Clara is gleefully pointing out here. Another fun diversion was shopping at Ikea for big girl beds. We found one that we really like for Nana Rose and G-Daddy's house, and then we found others we like to have up here. We're waiting a while to transition the girls, but thought it would be fun to look ahead and get ready. The bed here isn't one that we picked (although aren't the linens fun?) but look how the girls love a big bed:

Finally, we're not sure this will show up properly, but here is a short video in the car where Elena was talking like crazy, until I pulled out the camera. If you can stick it out until the end, there is another "Sot!" and a cute goodbye wave.

Clara wouldn't really speak, either, but is just as cute as can be. Never mind that dropped cracker midway through.

Snip Its!

So, when we were in Arizona over the holidays, Nana Rose and Christina took the girls to a kids' hair salon called Snip Its. We had so much fun, and took so many pictures, and then the pictures were mysteriously deleted from our camera. We got to go back to Arizona this last week for a work conference, and Nana Rose and Christina decided to try for hair cuts, part two.

We had a bit of a wait this time. Clara napped in the car with Nana Rose, and Elena and Christina played inside. Is Elena stylin' or what?

When it was her turn, Elena sat like a pro. She was great for her haircut, especially because they kept feeding her animal crackers and lollipops.
Let's get it even....Elena concentrates on staying still:
Last time, the girls got ponytails with ribbons. This time, the stylist decided on one ribbon a la Alice in Wonderland. Elena looked so beautiful! She hasn't let us replicate this since:

Clara woke right on cue after Elena was finished, so she breezed in without a wait. She was a little groggy, but she held her own in the chair.

They put a music video on while Clara was getting her hair cut, and she just loved it. The girl loves her music, and the fact that she doesn't usually see tv doesn't help, either.
Clara got the same hair style as Elena, and she really did like it, despite what she looks like here. Still groggy, probably. She has let us put the ribbon in her hair several times, and it just gets cuter and cuter.
Clara had her turn at stylin' in sunglasses after her haircut, and she and Clara looked so cute that Nana Rose and Christina decided that the girls NEEDED these sunglasses. They wore them around the rest of the week, and were just right for the Arizona sun.

When we got in the car, Clara kept her pretty ribbon in to show off when she got home. Elena, on the other hand, channeled her inner-teenage-flower-child, and we got this:

Fun times!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Superbowl with Friends

Tonight we went over to our friends' house for a Superbowl Party. We rooted for you, Cardinals, even if it didn't work out!

Clara and Elena made friends with Annie, who is only three weeks older than they are, and Christina and Steve were lucky enough to get to be friends with her parents, Kate and Kevin. Here is the hugely adorable Annie, who frequently gets confused as a triplet of our two girls:

The girls did not care a whit about the game, because they had their own games. In this particular game, the girls lined up on the sofa, threw themselves backwards yelling "Down!" and then would laugh and say "Up!" while wiggling themselves up. It's neat that they are all at the same stage of development and like same games (and know the same few words!):

Kate and Kevin were incredible hosts, making us feel so comfortable and at home. They cooked special food for the girls, and made them up fruit plates throughout the night. Right before we left, Kevin made the girls ice cream with blueberries in it, and Kate sat down to help them eat it. She was not quite prepared for the onslaught - three baby birds, all in.

Elena got left out of the couch picture, and doesn't show up well in the picture above, so here's a bonus shot of her cuteness as she swiped an orange segment from the fruit bowl (she was the only girl tall enough to reach!) and nibbled it:
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