Friday, May 29, 2009

Too much excitement to edit

You're going to really have to love us to want to get through this post - it's one of those times when you had such a great time that every picture looks good to you, but you realize that others will probably see it as you posting thirty pictures of the same thing. So feel free to skim here - but here is evidence of a fantastic few day with Grammy Ellen.

To celebrate Grammy Ellen's birthday, we made a lemon cake. We liked that so much, we ate it up and decided to make a pineapple coconut cake, too. The girls "helped" with both - they are really good at helping when they have something specific to do. In this case, it was moving flour from one ramekin to another!

Then, a double easel that we had ordered for the girls arrived, and so we had a painting party. The girls got to try out watercolors for the first time (adding that to their tempera paint, finger paint, puff paint, marker, and crayon repertoire!):

Painting puts Lena in a good mood!
We don't know what they say about "the family who paints together" but we hope it's something good, because that's one of the things we now are:

We wanted to show Grammy Ellen some more of the area, so we took a picnic out to one of Steve's favorite fishing creeks. It's nestled in a valley and has an interpretive trail that we really like. It's Elena and Steve's special place where he took her one day to show her how to throw rocks. Here, a little love between Steve and Lena:

Lucky for us, the girls are big kissers now, so there was many little kisses to be had over the course of a picnic. Here are Clara and Grammy Ellen:

Christina and Lena:

And Lena and Clara together:
Clara and Grammy Ellen do "cheers!" with their sandwiches:
Elena is THRILLED we brought some mochi for her:
Clara shows off her pretzel ring fingers that Grammy Ellen taught her to make:
Clara lines rocks up on the picnic bench:
And just generally looks unbelievably cute:
Elena had her share of cute looks as well, but for once she wasn't in the photographs as often!

Then, Steve introduced Clara to rock throwing and helped Elena refine her skills:
Grammy Ellen helped search for suitable rocks:
You can see a little more here what a gorgeous area this is. It wasn't quite as we've come to expect, because the creek was running high enough to have flooded its banks, the trail, and also many of the benches! But it did make for plenty of spots to throw in some rocks:

Christina isn't in any of these pictures because she was having just too much fun watching these guys together!

Yep - we told you we were not having a good day editing these down - but aren't these girls amazing? Christina especially loved this shot of little bitty Clara and the big wide world around her:
We try not to post TOO many messy face pictures here (although we really could post several a day!) but after the picnic and some naps, we took the girls to the yard to have popsicles. And THIS is what we ended up with!

All the ladies (Ellen and Christina managed to stay clean through this, somehow!):
Finally, here are the pictures we promised of the girls in Grammy Ellen's shoes:

And that closes out our mega-photo post. For those of you who reached the bottom, thanks for loving us and the girls enough to want to catch up on all these little moments of our lives. These little moments are accumulating into quite the life for all of us together.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Grammy Ellen is here!

Steve's aunt, known as Grammy Ellen to the girls, has come out for her first-ever visit to see us. The girls have loved seeing her in Arizona, but nothing is as good as having one of your favorite people in your very own home. They were thrilled right away, showing off like crazy.

Both girls are VERY fond of Grammy Ellen's shoes - they walk around in them, even though they are all quite high! Looking through our pictures we now realize we don't have a very good shot of them walking - this is the best one we have, of Clara. We'll have to do better:
Sometimes the showing off is over-the-top hysterics, but other times it's showing the new things they can do and what they love. The girls are lately head-over-heels for the PBS show Sid the Science Kid (yes, they watch tv now) and here they are pretending to be Sid (he often talks into a microphone - the girls adapted with flashlights, all on their own):
This was so cute, even cuter in person:
Steve got some video of this, we will try to load it on later. Truly, pictures do not do this justice:

But we'll keep showing them to you, nevertheless:

Today Christina decided the girls should try some new art (they don't seem to like getting their hands dirty, and we're a little bored with our crayons and markers) so we all made puff paint together. Here are the girls, mixing the flour, salt, and (soon to be) water:

Then we added tempera paint:

And voila, swirling colors! This was pretty fun:

Then, we put the paint in condiment bottles and took them outside to squirt them:
It took some trying, but the girls got the hang of squirting:
They seemed to like the colors they'd made:
They weren't quite sure all the time we were really encouraging them to squirt all over - we made sure these bottles look different from our regular ketchup bottles, just to avoid starting a bad trend:

Steve shows Elena that these COULD be fun fingerpaints (it felt grainy and neat) but she wasn't having any of it - she liked squirting:
Grammy Ellen demonstrates a Jackson Pollock move for the girls:

And here is one of the finished masterpieces:
Elena and Clara have been having fun almost every day with their makeshift water table. Sometimes they play in the water, but often they fill little containers with water and go water the plants for us. So helpful!

They just wow us all the time with their new talents and new preferences. Lately, Clara has been showing a preference for spicy food (jalapeno chips one day, spicy salsa another) and Elena has shown an adoration for all Japanese snacks (particularly nori and mochi the Grammie Ellen brought out). Today, both girls were able to swing on real, big-kid swings. It seems like they are really going through a growth spurt here, and it is amazing to watch. We'll keep you posted!