Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Holy cow, today was a doozy.  Right on the heels of one of our best days ever together as a family yesterday, today was filled with challenges and difficult behavior.  And that was BEFORE any kind of sugar rush!  We almost cancelled trick-or-treating altogether, because without a nap we didn't think the girls could make it.  But Steve thought we should give it a shot, and luckily it all turned out great.

Slightly sneering Care Bears started out the pre-party at Caryn and Steve's house.

But once we got outside to get ready for trick-or-treating they perked right up.

Grammy Ellen bought us this HUGE balloon!  We took him trick or treating with us, he was so fun. 

Watch out, Clara!
Princess/fairy Annie bestows her blessings upon the two little Care Bears.

Some of our big trick-or-treating group:
And the photographing entourage!
Last year, the girls had a hard time keeping up going from house to house - this year they just ran from door to door, so thrilled and exciting.  Clara really started hitting her stride a few houses in, and just didn't slow down until we told her it was time to go home. 
Elena started out great, but quickly tired and started to tell us she was so sleepy and needed to go to bed (it was appropriate that she was Bedtime Bear!).  Steve and Grammy Ellen took her back to the truck while Clara and Christina did a few more houses.
The girls did great at saying thank you and staying very polite.  And at the end of the night Elena turned to her friend Sylvie and told her "Bye!  See you next time!  I have to go home and go to bed, I'm so sleepy.  But you can have some of my candy!"  And she handed her some Swedish fish.  This turned out to be a good idea, since it turns out Sylvie's bag had a hole in it and it turned out she had NO candy!  (Unlike Clara, below, who completely filled hers).

Now the day is done and the girls are fast asleep - phew!  Happy Halloween, everyone!

Friday, October 29, 2010


Today was our last class in this session of gymnastics.  Christina hasn't been too good at documenting this section of our lives, so today she brought a camera.

We start out in circle time (just like at school!) and review some of the basics.

Clara helpfully turns around to Christina to demonstrate what the rest of the group is doing.  Straddle!

Elena staring in on her superkid arch.
Big bear!

Clara doing seal arch:

And Clara's (very growly!) big bear.
Listening to the directions about how to do their first station.
Balance beam!  Clara pretends she needs teacher-Cole's help to be a kitty on the beam.

But then shows that is clearly just for pretend.

Clara helping her kitty on the last part of the beam.  One thing we've loved about gym is the solidarity between the girls - they almost always help each other and cheer for each other.
Clara climbing up to ring the bell at the top.
Elena waiting her turn while Aksel heads up.
Clara the jumping bean!
Elmo/teacher-Jenny spots Elena as she swings on the bar.

Clara was alternatively enthused and dismayed by Jenny as Elmo - this was an up moment!
At the end of this class, the kids all put on a show for the parents.  Clara struck a coy pose at the beginning of her show, but soon jumped in to her routine.
Walking her feet up the wall - this is the beginning of the handstand.
Beginning her forward roll:

Getting ready for her straddle jumps!
And the balancing beauty finishes her routine.
Elena starts off with some donkey kicks (the beginnings of a cartwheel).
Midway through her forward roll!  Teacher David looks on with approval (he was their teacher last year).

Elena mid-jump.
And finishing off her routine pushing up on the bar with teacher Cole.
After their routines, each child got their completion certificate - congratulations, Elena!
Congratulations Clara!

Getting Ready!

Halloween is upon us!  This week the girls trick-or-treated at school in their Care Bear costumes, and they have practiced lighting (and blowing out!) their pumpkins a dozen times a night.
(Left to right - Clara's, Christina's, Steve's, Elena's)

Elena wanted "a super sad pumpkin."

Clara picked this design to be her scary pumpkin!

Today we made mummy lunches - hot dogs wrapped in biscuit dough, with a side of sweet potato fries.  The girls helped make up and roll out the dough.

Then, after nap, we made this "spooky" gingerbread house!  We used lots of the candy the girls have gotten this far, along with some select items sent to us in a fantastic care package from Uncle Dom, Aunt Kazumi, Sakura, and John.

Christina did the icing, and the girls did almost all of the actual decorating.

Clara swears she hasn't been tasting the icing.  (You might have to embiggen this picture to see the falsehood there).
Our masterpiece!
And, the silliness resulting from too much tasting during the candy phase of our day!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Singing and Dancing

Christina has sung "Baby Mine" to the girls since they were just born.  Recently, we watched some of the movie "Dumbo" where this song is sung, and now Clara sings the song to her little elephant.

We often like to rock out when we cook.  Here is Elena dancing to Mindy Gledhill and helping us cook a pheasant with apples and onions (and drinking the apple cider instead of putting it in the sauce!).

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Pumpkin Party

We had our annual pumpkin party today, and were thrilled to have so many friends over to carve pumpkins with us.  It was the first year Elena and Clara really carved!

Ckhai was able to stop by before and after his soccer game - he definitely had the biggest pumpkin!

 Smiling as the guests start arriving and they are allowed to eat their cookies (Christina made each child a cookie with their name stamped on it - this helped them each have a treat, without grabbing cookies all party long!)

 We tried for more healthy fare this year.  We carved out a white pumpkin and served grapes in it.  We baked whole wheat flax bread to go with our pumpkin and black bean chili.
 We had cut vegetables and veggie dip served out of a pumpkin...we're not sure the kids ate that much of the healthy food, but it was worth a try!

Annie girl, who let her mom carve the pumpkin.  Kate made a beautiful set of initials for Annie!

 Mizuki and Chris brought pumpkin seeds to share, and Clara took it upon herself to bring them around to everyone to aid in the sharing.

Playing in the leaves - raking them up and kicking them was great fun this afternoon!

Jessica, Annie, and Kate in their pumpkin-carving merriment.

After we turned off the lights and got a good look at the pumpkins (which Christina forgot to photograph!) we turned the lights back on and gave all the kids vampire teeth (or, as Elena termed them, super silly teeth).  It was hilarious seeing them on all the kids!

Now we're ready for Halloween!!