Thursday, April 23, 2009

Full of Beans

The title today is something Christina's mom likes to say - and she would definitely have said it about the girls together. The title of the post might more aptly be called "empty of beans," as you'll see in a minute.

Today was a cold and wet day (it snowed - we knew it would do that to us again!) so we found our fun inside most of the time. The girls did fingerpainting with Steve while Christina went for a run, and then Christina came home so Steve could go to his bike maintenance class.

We've had some dried beans for two years that we've never used, and Christina had seen some other kids have lots of fun with beans. So she got down two jars of dried beans, and two empty ice cube trays, and let the girls have at it.

Our little organizer, Clara, sorting the beans in her compartments by color (she is so funny like that!):
Elena doesn't have quite the same sorting tendency, but she filled each section of the tray with black beans:
And then she dumps it on the floor. Look at Clara's face! You can guess what comes next:

A dumping free-for-all!
With all the beans on the floor, the girls get the idea to start putting them back in the jars, one by one:

That's fun for a bit, but then Elena gets curious - what happens if you turn over the jar? Here is evidence of her having tipped it over, but wait a minute for an action shot...

And you'll see Clara in the glorious process of tipping out all the beans!

They raked their hands through the beans, scooped them, shoveled them, pushed them - they had way more fun with beans than anticipated, and it really is a low-mess activity. As much as they threw them around, a quick sweep cleaned it all right up.

Then, it was time for dinner. Not beans, but lentils and rice with apricots. But the menu is not what is exciting - look what is:

Oh yes, where are their high chairs, you ask? If all goes well, soon to be sold at a garage sale. Steve saw Elena sitting on a chair by herself a few times - she seems able to get up on her own. She wasn't as short as we thought she'd be. Today we had to sing the "Sunrise, Sunset" song about them growing older because for breakfast they sat in chairs like big girls and ate their oatmeal. Christina ran out today to get some chair cushions, and lo, they are the perfect height now for eating on their own.

Here is Clara, with her new favorite phrase, "Tee Da!" (Ta Da)

Wow - so big. In other news, Elena can now somersault on her own and jump from the ground with two feet. She is definitely a mover and a shaker. Clara is now able to walk up and down stairs by herself (holding a hand or the wall). Amazing, we say! Such strides for girls we can't help but keep thinking of as babies. Guess they really aren't anymore.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Birds of a feather

We're calling it - even though we're destined to get another Montana snowstorm before July, it's definitely spring here. We're starting to see warmer weather, the buds on the trees are trying to pop out, and the girls want to be outside all of the time.

Today we got to go to our friend's house for a Welcome Back Spring party. Christina sewed the girls some springtime dresses from fabric that she fell in love with, oddly, given that she hates birds overall. But the birds on these dresses are cute, and they don't fly, so that makes all the difference.

Here is a quietly beautiful Elena - and raggedy Soft Dog:

And here's Dad with the boldly beautiful Clara (here is a girl who can definitely pull off the color red!):

Here's one of Clara's newest tricks - risky! (as her cousins would say):

Elena sits calmly sipping her juice, as if to say she'd never do acrobatics on the furniture like her sister - but in truth, who started that trend? Yep, little Lena:

We were trying to get ready for the party, and at the same time Christina was trying to get some shots of the girls in their dresses - this was the best Elena wanted to do in posing:
Unless you want to do an extreme close-up - she loves those! She'll walk right in to the camera lens if you don't stop her.
Once at the party, the girls were wowed by cupcakes and mac & cheese and TONS of fun toys:

And, of course, good friends. Here is Charlie, whom the girls call Char-Char, who opened his house up to all of us tonight. Thanks, Charlie and fam!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

We're still figuring out how the Easter Bunny works his magic over here, and this is the first year we're really having to get on the ball. Likely, the girls will notice more of our gaffes as the years go by, so we're probably safe for a bit. Steve convinced Christina that the girls should have breakfast before baskets, so that's what we did. The Easter Bunny didn't leave any candy, but he did leave several gifts and some chocolate milk, which the girls loved.

Sleepy Clara tries to see what this basket is doing on her table:
And discovers the egg shakers! These were a hit.
Elena looks in her basket, accompanied, of course, by Soft Dog:
Then she decides to check out whether her sister got anything better over in her basket:

Chocolate milk? Really? Clara cannot believe it - she has only had it once before in her life, and was so happy to have it as a morning treat:
Elena, also loving the egg shakers:
We played for a while, then got ready for church. Here is Clara in the Easter bonnet her Nana Rose and G-Daddy sent her:
And here is Elena, being silly with hers:

Once we were all dressed, we headed outside for our egg hunt. Steve had "checked" to make sure the Easter bunny had left the eggs outside, and brought the girls out to show them how it was done:
Clara was VERY enthusiastic about this game - she was so happy whenever she found an egg, and couldn't seem to believe that there were so many out there (there were only 12, but she's only little, so that must account for it):
Elena participated, too, but she didn't have quite the same enthusiasm. You can see her here, steadfastly NOT looking at the egg just behind her on the chair that is still "hidden." Clara had to share some of her eggs in the end, because Elena just didn't quite dive in there to find them.

Eventually, Elena trudged along to join the searching:

More success for Clara!
Clara's loot, in the end.
Then came the snacking. This was a fun part - there was only 1 M&M and 1 jellybean in each egg, but they still thought it was fun:
Steve helps Elena open her eggs:

Then both girls swarm Steve for egg assistance:

Christina's favorite picture of the day. What a beautiful view:
Elena, sneaking a few more eggs from Clara's basket.
Well, HERE is a little enthusiasm from Elena, right at the end of the hunt:

Of course, if we're comparing enthusiasm to last year, there is no contest. Flashback Clara and Elena couldn't seem to even focus their eyes on their baskets last year, so we've come a long way.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Hot Cross Buns

So, today is Good Friday, a day traditionally meaning all sorts of things, but one of them is that it is the day to have hot cross buns! We had our friends Kate and Annie over and made up a yummy batch together.

It's hard to get three girls all looking at a camera at once, so the girls apparantly decided to take turns on the cuteness front:

The anticipation...
The choosing...

And then the sharing. According to the always-accurate Wikipedia, "sharing a hot cross bun with another is supposed to ensure friendship throughout the coming year, particularly if "Half for you and half for me, Between us two shall goodwill be" is said at the time." We didn't know about the saying, so instead we all said "Cheers!" and knocked our buns together.

Because really, who wouldn't want to ensure friendship with THESE two?

We wish we could share the hot cross buns with all of you reading this. A good Good Friday to all of you, and as the girls say, "Cheers!"