Sunday, September 26, 2010

Big Girl Beds!

At the end of July, we moved the girls into their big girl beds - we didn't post on it yet because Christina has been working away trying to finish quilts before the "reveal" on here.  Last night, the last stitch on the last quilt was done, so this morning the girls finally had their beds finished!

There are about a million and two steps to making a quilt, Christina has found.  The girls helped pick out their fabrics as we visited every fabric store in town.  They helped hand stitch on the binding.  And here is Clara's:
And here is Elena's:
And after a million and two steps, the million and third thing you see is THIS, and it all seems worth it.
Clara is a girl after Christina's own heart - this pattern was picked because Christina thought it would be fun to compare all the similarities and differences of the blocks that make up the quilt.  Clara almost can't get UNDER her quilt, because she is busy matching "this one and this one - the same!  This side and this side - the same!"

Steve picked these beds out for the girls.  He found a man in Oregon who does custom metalwork, and we worked with him to make these "river reed" beds that should last the girls until they leave our home (thank goodness that day still seems very far away!).  We'll raise them and add thicker mattresses as they age, but for right now they are the perfect height for them to climb in and out on their own.
As for the actual sleep?  It's not nearly as bad as we feared to have the girls out of the confines of a crib.  We have the occasional setback, but by and large the girls go to bed at around 7:30, with us reading books in bed with them, and then they stay in bed until 7:00, when they come upstairs to say "Good morning Mommy!  Good morning Daddy!"  It's so very sweet.
We are aided in our sleep efforts by the guidance of Marc Weisbluth (sleep guru of many books!) and his sleep rules, and the good old bunny clock (at night the bottom part is illuminated as a night light; at 7am the upper part is illuminated with a slightly brighter light so the girls know they can wake up and come get us).
 

And we will leave you with video of the first time the girls saw their beds - and you will immediately realize why we chose sturdy, steel beds!

video
 

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Homecoming 2010

Thank goodness this year was warmer than the huddle-in-a-doorway-freeze-your-bum-off 2009 Homecoming Weekend!  Although the girls wanted to wear their hats, they really didn't need them - and they ditched the coats mid-day, too.    These little imps have made the tiny infants we brought to Homcoming 2007 a distant memory, and were so very much fun to watch a parade with!
While walking to our parade-watching spot, we passed several of the floats/vehicles lined up for their entrance into the parade.  These firefighters were especially friendly, and they let the girls come up into the truck (Elena did so enthusiastically, Clara declined), gave them candy, gave them firefighter hats and badges, and flashed their lights at them - it was so exciting!
We met up with some friends who had a float for their running group.  They invited the girls to be IN the parade, riding in their boat float, but both girls declined.
This little firefighter needed to keep her eyes on all the action; she couldn't stick with just one float!
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And this charmer knew she was going to get way more candy and treats on the sidelines instead of riding up high.
I think even an un-patriotic heart swells a bit when they see a child waving the American flag at a parade - am I right?

One of these years we'll make it to the actual Homecoming game - but for now, the parade is just about right for us.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Charlie Time

Caryn, Steve, and Charlie are some of our very dearest friends, and we always thought we'd have lots of time when our kids would all play together.  So, it's surprising to all of us that this happens very rarely (with our three kids alone together - they see each other in groups quite a lot).  Yesterday was one of those lovely days where a kid playdate lingered and turned into our two families having a pizza party all together when "the dads" came home from work to join us.

We went over the pedestrian bridge to watch trains, we gathered leaves for an "art craft" (as the kids termed it), we colored and played Elefun, but most of the time we played down in the girls room, goofing off.

It was really fun!  Charlie directed a lot of the play, which the girls liked.  He would keep saying "I have an idea!  Let's all sit like this and you take a picture."  After Christina took many shots in the poses he suggested, he wanted us to put the timer on.  Christina was so surprised that Clara knew how to make the camera do this!  She got it set up on all the right settings, and then came to jump into the picture.
Clara and Elena taught Charlie this game, where they make their slide into a horse.  Oh, these girls are into horses!  Everyone and everything can be a horse, and has to have a specific name, and color.  Elena often talks about what she'll do when she gets her horse (not if, when).
 

It's now secret we're big fans of summer around here, so we were sorry yesterday turned the calendar over to the fall...but a day like yesterday showed us we could still have fun, and we'll try to make the most of this next season. 

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Playtime

We got a grant in our town to develop four new parks - we went to one of them today that was just finished, and we all had such a great time together.

First, we tested the swings. Clara insisted her tiger wanted to ride with her, and said "You hold on Tiger! Hold on careful to your mom!" (He did).
Elena tried helping her sister out with the swing, but per usual, Clara just wanted Mommy to push.

Steve and Elena tested out these twirly things we had never seen before - man, do they spin!
Elena just lay her head back, closed her eyes, and spun in the sunshine to her heart's content. Luckily, she does not seem to have her mom's motion sickness!
Clara preferred to sit on the seat of the swirly thing and gaze off at the other kids/trees/dogs instead of twirling much - but she definitely enjoyed herself, too.
There is this huge, Eiffel-tower-looking-thing in the middle of the park, and the girls had fun trying to get up - it was definitely designed for older kids (or parents, as we saw one dad head right to it and go to the top before any of his kids got near it) but their gymnastic skills definitely gave them a leg up on trying this out. They just seem so confident!

Then there is this contraption - we don't even know what to call it, and had never seen anything like it before this park. It sits at an incline, and although this one older girl was helpfully pushing, we suspect kids are supposed to sit/sprawl on it and push themselves around with their feet, achieving "liftoff" at the apex?
Our girls are are purists at heart, though. They left the fancy new playground to head over to the nearby turtle park across the street - which (when the fountains on top of them are not turned on) is simply four concrete turtles and a big, big concrete circle. They LOVED it, and we spent most of our time here. The girls pretended they were cats, and here Elena is running off to get her runaway kitty.
Having caught up with one another, they switch roles, and now Clara pats her little cat.
Oh, no! Cat on the run!

As usual, the real toy (kitty) brought along got stashed with Steve. We forever have our hands full carrying the girls' stuff!

At one point, we had turtle face-off, where we each claimed a concrete beast for our own.
And still later, the girls played on their own and Steve and Christina got to relax and chat at a picnic bench. Progress! Who are these children?

Then we took a little walk around the neighborhood. We went past a tree with some fallen fruit, and when Clara picked one up Christina said: "Oh, you found a crabapple!" And Clara promptly said "No! Not a crab. Just a little apple." Poor, confused mom.

On the walk, the girls took advantage of some lush yards and plopped themselves down for numerous naps along the way. They thought this was hilarious.

All in all, just a nice day to hang out together as a family.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Bounty

We've been harvesting things from the garden since mid-summer - a cherry tomato here, a few carrots there - but now we're getting to harvest some "crops" in earnest. Today we dug up all the potatoes.

Elena is armed with her shovel:
Clara is slyly hiding hers on the other side of the garden.
Christina turns the earth under the first plant - and just as they were supposed to be, there were the potatoes!
They got much bigger than we expected!
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This was Christina's favorite part of having a garden when she was little - it was fun to see the girls digging through the cool dirt for potatoes, just like she remembers doing it. In honesty, Elena was much more into it than Clara.
Showing off a potato!
Showing off a worm! This is why Clara wasn't as into digging potatoes - she was way more focused on holding all the worms.
Our potato take - not bad for six plants. We didn't really have room for more. Some of these are earmarked for making potato chips this Friday...and we shall see what the rest turn into!

While out in the garden, we harvested some more of the (ever present, ever growing!!) swiss chard, and a few more of our carrots. Along with some garlic and onion from our Farmer's Market this week, we made them into a dinner quiche.
We're still waiting to see if our corn will get big enough to harvest - right now the ears are about five inches long and pretty skinny looking. We also are holding our breath for a few pumpkins. We thought we had volunteer zucchini plants, but it turns out they were volunteer pumpkin plants instead! The bees do not see fit to pollinate back in that section of the garden, and so we have been busily doing their job for them whenever we see the two types of blossom open at the same time. We think we might have a pumpkin or two that will be ready to be tiny jack-o-lanterns in another month and a half!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

First day of Preschool!

We can't believe how fast this day got here, but today was the first day of preschool! Clara and Elena told us last spring that it was time to start going to school - so we found them this preschool that we absolutely love, and charged in to this bold new phase of our lives.


Let us not suppose this is a serious phase, though - this is what every other shot from this morning's "first day of school" photo session looked like!
In the car on the way to school today, Clara told Elena: "If ever you shy, I give you a hug." And Elena said: "Oh, thank you!" When prompted she said that she would give Clara a hug, too, but Clara said: "I not so shy! I say 'Pleased to meet you. What you name?' to my new friends. I get lots of handshakes." We told her that perhaps the other kids would not know how to shake hands, and that she could teach them.

We didn't take pictures of the girls in their room today, but we did when we took them to orientation last week. So here's a look at their day:


Cubby!

The preschool has one whole wall of one-way-mirror that Steve and Christina got to sit behind today. We couldn't take our eyes off the girls - they were incredible! They both went right to the art table and made Mommy some pictures. At one point Clara left to go to the bathroom, and their teacher tried to help another girl sit next to Elena. Elena adamantly saved the seat for her sister, so they got another chair for the other little girl.

We tore ourselves away after about half an hour so that we could go get some work done, but we were the first parents back to pick up their kids, and the girls were happy to see us, and happy to stay in their classroom. We had to really work on them to leave. The teacher put up a slide show of photos from the day we could watch, and it looks like the girls interacted with lots of other kids and had a really fun day.

When we were leaving preschool, Clara said: "I got a good idea! We go get..um..bagels? No mom, what I thinking?" Christina was pretty sure she was thinking about burritos, and sure enough, that turned out to be her plan. So we went and had a special celebratory burrito lunch with all four of us.
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The girls seemed to realize pretty quickly that stories about their day are like their new currency - we really want them, and they dole them out to us. They told us several times on the drive to get burritos that they were "too busy tell you story right now." We respect that they want to keep some of this for themselves, but we hope to hear more stories soon!





What very big, very wonderful girls they are. We are so very proud.