Tuesday, March 16, 2010


This is one of our favorite Montana places - Philipsburg is an old mining town that has a wonderful olde-timey downtown. This is near where Steve mined the sapphires for Christina's engagement ring, and on many a trip down here we've dreamed of having children to show around. And now we do!!

So today, with friends Brian and Katie in town, we took a trip down and went to the most exciting spot for kids (big and little) - the candy shop:

And, this trip put to rest any doubts we might have had about the whole "kid in a candy store" metaphor - we have never seen anything quite like actual, uninhibited kids in a candy store! They got their own bags and started loading them up.

Then they found the lollipop tree - whoa!!

Clara had to puzzle through which of the candies from this display she wanted to take home - she has taken to using this pose and gesture quite a lot lately - this girl is a deliberator.
Elena was much more apt to dive in and grab whatever she saw!

The fudge counter up at the front was a big hit - we each picked a type of fudge to sample, and everyone had different taste (Elena picked chocolate marshmallow, Clara picked that green buttermint).

Checking to be sure the yummy candy is still there (hmmm, yes - a few pieces seem to be missing from the bag. Christina wanted the girls to have fun, but didn't want to buy 20 pounds of candy, so she was restocking like mad each time the girls turned their backs.)
They didn't mind a bit - the candy was yummy, and it still seemed like a lot to them!

We went to the gem and mineral shop next. They had fun looking through the drawers, but it got to be a little much to do careful touching (especially hopped up on sugar) so we didn't stay long.
These drawers are great, though - each holds a wealth of treasures, and they are priced per drawer - so you can open one drawer for little ones and tell them they can pick any one thing out of the $1 drawer).
They spied this chess set and immediately exclaimed: "G-Daddy have this!" I think they were indicating he HAS one like this. It's possible they were indicating they wanted to gift it, but sorry, G-Daddy, it wasn't for sale!
We left Brian and Katie to explore, and went outside for another candy break.

Then (because we hadn't had quite enough sweets yet!) we went across the street to the Doe Brothers Soda Shoppe.

Patiently, the girls awaited their strawberry milkshakes:
Clara loved that her shoes matched these stools!
Yum...worth the wait.
But this was half a milkshake each - huge!

So long for now, Philipsburg. You know we'll be back!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Pretending it's springtime

We are stir-crazy over here, and have convinced ourselves it is springtime, temperatures (and a touch of snow today) occasionally to the contrary. Today we rented a tiller, bought compost, seeds, and onion starts, and got to work.
Steve taught Elena how to put her foot on the shovel to gain leverage:

Clara stomped through the earth we had already tilled:
And then she checked out the tiller, to be sure everything was in order.

When Steve started tilling, the girls kept their distance. I know this is three pictures of the same scene, but I just can't get over their faces here!

After the tilling was done, the girls started running around together. They were really chummy today. You can see here why people have started asking us how far apart in age the two are - there is quite a height difference!

We bought these daffodils at the store - it will be ages until we have our own, but we just had to see this vibrant harbinger of spring!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

On the homefront

While Christina and Steve were away, Nana Rose and Grammie Ellen stayed with the girls. We have no pictures of the time they were home alone together (what happens with your grandmas stays with your grandmas - code of silence!) but here are a few we managed to snap right before we left and right after we came back.

Here, Nana teaches the girls to play a card game she brought for them:

Elena branches off to show Grammie Ellen how she plays store:
Look at the face of that girl with that credit card - we are headed for trouble in another few years!!

Grammie and Nana came with Christina and the girls to the very first gymnastics class this year. Elena plays it up for the camera while we waited to get in:
Clara exhibits her utter lack of patience with waiting - she wanted to go IN:
Both girls, trying to make a break for the gym materials. We didn't get any shots of them in action, but they were PHENOMENAL at their class. They followed eight-part instructions, walked balance beams on their own, climbed up ladders, did somersaults, hung in the air on beams - it was incredible. We'll try to get video next time.
Elena tries to show Nana how to get Caillou to show up on the computer.

Grammie Ellen holds cooking class - she teaches the girls how to make Bavarian Jello, a specialty of her own mother (Grandma Clara, who Clara was named for).
First you get your crushed pineapple, and push all the juice out of that through a strainer.
Then you take out a bowl of strawberry jello, pre-made and chilled, and squirt in one whole can of whipped cream.
Okay, MOSTLY a whole can. You have to save some for this:

And this:
Then you add your crushed pineapple, and stir, stir, stir!