Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Off to the race...

Steve biked in his first cyclocross race tonight, and we all went out to be a cheering section. It was in a beautiful setting, but we were having record lows so it felt more like winter than a calm fall day!

We bundled up in the "big coats" that luckily it turns out the girls love. Christina packed snacks, and we headed up to the top of a hill to get a good view.

The race took about an hour - during the times when we couldn't see Steve, we went to play around the area. There are railroad tracks there that are non-functioning. Clara expressed some early doubts about them:

But Elena loved them right away:

Our big-little girl, heading off down the tracks into the sunset. (Don't worry, that train is stationary!).

Clara following along after her rambunctious sister. Clara took her time and navigated these tracks so well!
Clara came to love the tracks, and got such a kick out of yelling out "NO!" when I asked her if she needed any help:

Such a lovely little one:

Spontaneously, the girls took off hand in hand as they got closer to the train:

And when that stopped being fun, Clara hung behind while Elena ran ahead, then shouted out "I geshu!!" (I get you) and took off after her - repeatedly.
Exploring a sculpture near the finish line:

Hanging on a fence right at the finish waiting to see Daddy:
There he is!!!

The girls were so easy to be around and so tolerant of the cold temperatures and relatively long race - we can't believe what amazing girls they are and how many things we can do together these days.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Wrapping up a great weekend

These end-of-summer-beginning-of-fall weekends are just the best - we are really appreciating our time together and having lots of fun with all of our Missoula friends. This weekend we participated in the Memory Walk to fund Alzheimer's research, we had brunch with great friends, we made oatmeal raisin cookies, we cleaned our house as a family, had a trip to the bookstore, and celebrated the birthday of a dear friend. Wonderful!

To top it all off, we had baths! Exciting, no? The girls think so -we usually have great bath times together, and often the girls will ask us to take pictures. We usually don't show them on here (for obvious reasons) but one here shows the girls in their "lean back." They love to say that term and then just recline in the tub - so funny!
And although the girls get baths every night, Sunday is hair-washing night. The girls are getting SO much better at the water-near-the-eyes thing. And the best part is that after Sunday baths Dad gets the "Zzzzz zzzzz thing" out for them. What's that you say? You don't know the "Zzzzz zzzz thing?"

Daddy-stylist. He is so tender and sweet with them in taking care of their hair, and they just love it.

So efficient, his comb is but a blur!

Bonus cuteness:

- Elena is having a love affair with the moon lately. It started on our trip back from Portland when she saw it for the first time as we drove home at night. Now that it gets darker a bit earlier, she has more and more chances to see the moon, and always greets it with (literally) open arms, exclaiming: "My moon!!"

-Clara has definitely embraced the beauty of good manners, and regularly now does a number where she tilts her head to the right, softens her voice, and says "PLEASE ______, I want ______." Like "PLEASE Elena, I want a turn." Or this morning, when Christina was leaving to go running: "PLEASE Mama, I want to go." Almost irresistible!

-Both girls have discovered the power of eye contact for real attention. Just like we do when we really need them to listen, the girls will regularly say to us: "Mama/Daddy - look at me!" when they want to tell us something especially important to them. It's different than when they say "watch me" to get us to SEE something they are doing. The "look at me" is purely to get eye contact to share important info - so savvy of them!
-And here are the little babies of almost one year ago. How TINY are they? And look at that hair! This "look-back-one-year" thing just never gets old to us. It's amazing to see how quickly these girls change.
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Sunday, September 20, 2009

More late summer

Summer is hanging on out here, and we're loving it. On Saturday we had fun just hanging out in the yard together. The girls got the idea to sit on the sides of these chairs and shout "Neigh!" Clearly, they were riding white steeds in their minds. Elena took Soft Dog along:

But Clara rode solo:
Until both sisters decided to share a single chair/set of horses. Here they are clapping at their antics:

Then they decided to be great helpers to Dad, who was washing his bike. They adore this bike stand, and love helping Steve do anything:

A helicopter!

On Sunday it cooled down a little bit. We were twisting bits of string into pretzels, and then Mom decided it would be fun to make REAL pretzels. So we did:

Our finished products, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar:
We've been cooking/baking up a storm here lately -the girls are so into it and ask to "cook, cook!" all the time. We made a spiced plum pie on Friday to share with friends, and although the bubbled-out juices might not look so pretty, the taste is PERFECT for end-of-summer beginning of fall:

The recipe is HERE if you want it (just double the cornstarch). Happy end of summer!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Squeezing out the last bits of summer

Even though back-to-school time has hit for Christina and Steve, we're trying to squeeze out the last bits of warmth and easy outdoor-time for the girls. This weekend we went to the 8th annual Buddy Walk in support of children with Downs Syndrome, and the girls walked/ran/were carried a mile around with loads of other people and kids, and made some new friends. We were all impressed by the mom and daughter who rode in on this double bike!
But the girls were also intent on the free apple slices:
Clara made friends with two girls who were doing somersaults, so she joined in on that fun:
And we've been spending a lot of time out in our driveway, exploring the leaves that have fallen, picking up rocks, and pretending to be cats (they love this game, not really sure why).

Here they are right before they tried eating leaves for the first time - not sure what inspired that move, but they realized quickly that they didn't like them!
Finally, the girls have been having lots of end-of-summer fun with their new friend, B. She comes to hang out with the girls if neither Christina or Steve can be home. When Christina came home from teaching class this week, she found them on the couch being bugs together - can you spot their pipe cleaner antennae?

Monday, September 7, 2009

A visit!

The girls' birth mom, Ashley, came to visit this weekend with her family. We were so excited to have them here and to get to hang out again. Last year, the girls were a little wary of any new people, but this year they warmed up really well.

First, Ashley won them over with technology - a never- miss with these girls!
Then, her son Gabe enchanted them with a game of "cheers!" over ice pops:

Even cousin Michael joined in!

There were trees to be climbed:
And then lots of pictures to be taken:

This is a close replica of one of the pictures that these three took in the hospital when the girls were born:
Got to get Grandma LeAnne in there!

What a fun family - we are so thankful to have them in our lives. Thanks for making the trek out to see us again this summer, guys!!!