Friday, July 31, 2009

Daytrippin, yeah

Today we took the girls about an hour south to Lake Como, named after a lake in Italy (apparently due to some resemblance or a fondness for things Italian on the part of Father Ravalli, a priest who relocated here from Italy and named the lake).

The girls have just completed their first course of swimming lessons, and were eager to go "simming!" again. Elena was really pretty careful on her feet - here she is on land, but we were surprised how agile she was in the water, too.

Clara was not much interested in the beach - a little poking around, and all she wanted was to get in the water. It made us laugh - last year when we took them to the Oregon coast most of what we did was just sit on the beach. Now you can't keep these girls still for long!

Our main reason for going to the lake today was so Steve could get some open-water swimming in. He's been working out mainly in the pool, and it's good practice to get out in the open water before his triathlon at the end of August.
Christina and the girls stuck to the water's edge, where there was much rock throwing, and pointing at "Daddy, simming!!" and clapping "Yeah, Daddy!"

After we were done at the water, we stopped in Hamilton for some ice cream.

They loved the water, but they LOVED the ice cream. Evidence:

The girls remain steadfastly anti-car-rides, and so the trip back home was no picnic. But, we're still hoping to work them towards longer car rides (especially since we're in for a nine hour drive to Oregon in just a month!!). Tips are very welcomed and appreciated.

Monday, July 27, 2009

And when they were good, they were very, very good....

...and absolutely, beautifully adorable. Our morning was all off course today, yet it was so very much fun.

We had an emergency plumbing situation, so Christina and the girls were waiting at home for the plumber. There is also construction going on for three months on the bridge at the end of the street, and this morning it was LOUD! Instead of being scared, the girls asked to go take a walk to see the construction. So, fully in view of the house in case the plumber arrived, we did. They were fascinated! They gathered rocks and talked about the "man in the truck" up on the bridge and various other sights we came across.

Then we went home and made macaroons - what girls wouldn't love munching some coconut while waiting for egg whites to get frothy? It was so much fun. Then, the plumber arrived and the girls, fascinated again, watched him fix under the sink:

And while Christina had grabbed the camera just to get a picture of them being interested in the plumber, the two most gorgeous girls in the world decided it must be time for a photo shoot, and proceeded to prance around while I did "Cheese" to them (as they call it).

Cutie cutie Elena with the long hair:

And darling, darling Clara of the many faces:

23 months and counting - and people tell us it really gets more fun than this? Unbelievable!

Saturday, July 25, 2009


We were invited to go raspberry picking today with our friends Joel, Karen, and Chkai. With the way Clara and Elena have been picking berries here at our house all summer long (red or not!) we knew they'd have a good time, so off we went.

Elena was very pensive about the whole thing - she definitely liked it, but I think seeing row upon row of berries had her doing some thinking, and she looks like it in these pictures. She started off with her Dad giving her a few pointers:

And then she got to the business of picking on her own:
And, of course, eating, too!
Even without a smile, doesn't she just look beautiful here?
Then Chkai picked her as his buddy, and they went off down another row to pick together:

They didn't come back with many berries, but their mini-adventure definitely filled their bellies.

Clara started out her picking with Karen and Chkai:
Chkai was showing her that she could use these containers for her berries, but she preferred her little bucket.

Okay, so she preferred EATING from her bucket:
She definitely got excited that all of these berries could be hers - here she is running down the row to tell Mom all about how many she has gotten so far:
She really was quite a good little berry-picker:
Alas, and predictably, not a single berry she picked made it home with us:

Because this was just too much fun!

Steve and Christina did manage to get a few pints to take home, and we'll certainly enjoy munching on them all back here, in the shade. Hooray for summer!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Camping Adventure

We took the girls camping to Oregon last year, where we slept in a yurt on the coast. But we wanted to try camping with them in a tent, without them sleeping in portable cribs, and so we ventured on a trip with our friends Kate, Kevin, and their daughter, Annie to Idaho last weekend.

The week before the trip Elena came down with a fever, and the day before the trip Clara got one. Our doctor said we should still go camping, as it couldn't hurt and might help her be distracted and feel better. So we packed up the truck and off we went.

Arriving at our campsite, all three girls had a sit on the tailgate for some trail mix to revive them after the drive:
There was toasting to our arrival:
And general merriment (well, except thoughtful Elena here):
We set up camp - here's the tent that we got for our family camping adventures. You can see from the picture above that we didn't exactly camp "light" - this thing weighs a ton, and we have a carpet we lay down inside so we are all nice and comfy:

We just love it, and it takes only minutes to set up. After the tent set-up, we snacked some more (this is our favorite part of camping). Elena shows off a really funny move here - whenever she's being especially sweet to a little friend/sister (in this case getting Annie her sippy cup) she squats down like this, almost as if to say "here, you little thing, let me help you." Nevermind that she is just as tall as Annie!

Here is Kevin, laying out some snacks:

And Clara and Steve, partaking:

Christina with Elena, goofing off:

Clara shows off her fondness for camp chairs:

I know, riveting, right? Just as we were gaining our momentum for camping fun (in our second hour into the adventure) Annie came down with a fever. It was fast and it was high, and we were all a bit worried. Kate can be gracious and fun in the face of anything (look at her here!) and tried to make the best of it, but Annie clearly wasn't feeling well:
And so, Kate and Kevin and Annie drove back home. Yep. The rest of their campout was popsicles and sleeping bags on the living room floor, safely in cell phone range again and in close proximity to doctors (neither of which we had in Idaho). We were so sad to see them go.

We took Clara and Elena to the Lochsa river, which was just steps away from our camp site. They love water, and loved seeing this river at a nice, shallow spot:

Steve and Clara were wading in to get a better view:
While Elena preferred dipping her feet in and out with Christina at the edge:
Then, Steve helped them find rocks to throw, their favorite game:
We also watched all the small fish swimming around -can you spot the one right near this speckled rock?

We rallied as best as we could, but Clara was still not feeling 100%, and Steve and Christina radically misjudged how best to help the girls sleep, so there were a daunting few hours of discontent at the camp site as we figured out what everyone needed. We ended up with Clara sleeping in the tent, and Elena outside at the fire making her first toasted marshmallows with Christina and Steve. When we took her back in the tent when we went to bed, she sweetly grabbed each of our hands and fell straight asleep.

And then. Then there were the hours between 10:30pm and 6:30 am where roughly every hour a girl ended up moving in her sleep and finding herself cold out of her sleeping bag or in the corner of the tent and lost. Not a lot of sleep for our camping lot. We woke and had oatmeal and coffee over a campfire, then high-tailed it back home.

We're proud we did it, and we'll do it differently next time (hopefully back with our friends and with everyone healthy!). We can't help but think that this is the kind of advanture that will get easier as the girls age!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Baubles and Beauties

We've entered a new phase in this house, one that was pretty much solely initiated by the girls, but which Christina has been looking forward to - dress up!

Clara's most beloved form of dress up so far - put as many clips as possible in her hair!

On occasion, Elena finds this fun as well. But here she just watched her silly sister:

Elena's very favorite is this green shell necklace - she doesn't ever let Clara wear it. Clara doesn't seem to care too much, but she really competes for the play bracelets (you can see several on Elena here):

Elena also started putting these on her feet, and wanted us to take a picture. She said "cheese!" and pointed to her foot, which is how Christina got that message.

Not dressed up, but definitely a beauty - here is Elena in 3/4 profile. We all got out of the house early on Sunday to watch many of our friends complete the Missoula Marathon!

Clara was ringing her cowbell with all her might- beauty both inside and out in that sweet girl. But she couldn't quite tear her Dad's attention away from the runners as they crossed the finish. We can't wait until this is the guy we're ringing our bells for at his triathlon in August!